Name: Adil Zahman
Course: BEng Chemical Engineering
Placement Role: R&D Process Technician -Productivity
Placement Employer: PepsiCo International
How did you secure your placement?
Made sure I applied as soon I saw the vacancy (they tend to close before the initial date once they receive a high volume of applicants), dedicated an hour every evening to search for vacancies, dressed smart & prepped notes for my video interview. Ensured my skillset was on display on the assessment day & that I had technical/professional questions for the interviewers. Be confident.
What was your typical day like?
Majority of the work was project-based. Within my team, my main role was designing & executing plant-based factory trials. From booking resource/assigning workload, to constructing the trial documents/consulting stakeholders & overseeing the trial before delivering results/summaries to senior management along with recommendations.
What skills did you develop from your placement?
A wide range of Technical & Professional skills, Critical thinking, problem-solving, commercial awareness, business acumen, time management but most importantly, soft skills/communication & how to conduct yourself in a professional environment. I learnt how to approach people depending on their work style & how to ensure I got what I required out of every interaction.
What was your favourite placement moment?
Leading aspects of a capital commissioning project, where a new line was being installed in preparation for a brand-new innovative product which will hit shelves late this year, the likes of which does not exist yet in the current market.
What would you say to students considering a placement?
Apply early & put some time aside each week to apply for placements. Don’t restrict yourself to roles that will be degree specific, most placement roles allow you to support other teams & functions to ensure you’re getting a well-rounded placement experience, as I discovered. Dress smart in video interviews, come across confident and have questions ready to ask on assessment days, as it shows you’ve done your research about the company. To summarise, a placement will massively boost your employability coming straight out of university, you get the opportunity to develop skills/theory learnt in university, in the real world. Putting theory into practice. Graduate schemes & employers look kindly on placement year students when reviewing potential candidates, I would recommend it to anyone!
How has this affected your final year and future career plans?
It has affirmed my interest & intentions to pursue a future career in Food Technology. I plan to specialise by selecting Food relevant modules for final year as well joining the Food & Drink Special Interest Group as part of the Institute of Chemical Engineers, to further display my desire & passion for this specific industry.