A female scientist who has been working on the development of a test that diagnoses sepsis is one of the award-winning students in this year’s university placement scheme with Randox Laboratories.
The breakthrough sepsis test is being created by the Randox Molecular Diagnostics team, which Sarah-Louise Morrow from Belfast joined in September. Her innovative work saw her win third place in the Science category at the company’s annual Pinnacle Placement Awards.
Sarah-Louise, a Biochemistry student from Queen’s University Belfast (QUB), said:
“Sepsis is known as the ‘silent killer’, and the faster you can diagnose it the better for the patient. It was so inspiring working with a team here at Randox who are making such valuable contributions to global health and I couldn’t be happier that something I’ve worked on could save lives in the future.”
Now in its 26th year, the Randox placement programme is recognised internationally for providing world-class opportunities for students and graduates – one of the core reasons that the global diagnostics company was established in 1982. Thirty years on, its founder Dr Peter FitzGerald remains as committed as ever to championing new talent and driving innovation.
Between them, this year’s Randox placement students have spearheaded a number of new designs and projects which are being implemented across the company.
Catherine McCooke, a QUB Electrical and Electronic Engineering student designed a new UV radiation exposure detection mechanism; Shannon McKee, a Business Studies student at Ulster University, conducted highly advantageous market research into emerging markets such as Jamaica and Puerto Rico; and Katie Lawther, a QUB Microbiology student introduced a new cellular tissue storage and tracking system.
The title of Randox Placement Student of the Year 2017 went to Robin Walsh, a QUB student from Lisburn who developed a new chemiluminescence signal reagent which is currently being validated and will be shortly released for production.
The 22 year old’s new product delivers significantly positive effects on the chemistry testing carried out by the Randox New Technology team. It increases test output by a factor of three, saving costs and time which ultimately enables the faster delivery of results for patients.
On receiving his award Robin, who studies Chemical Engineering, said;
“The Randox Placement Programme has far exceeded my expectations. My manager and everyone else in my team have been so supportive and encouraging. I worked on high-level projects I wouldn’t have dreamed possible for a placement student to be involved with. I have gained so much experience during my time as I have been able to translate what I’ve learnt in university into a true working environment. I’ve no doubt this experience will set me apart from the competition in the future.”
Congratulating Robin and his fellow placement students, Jolene Jamison, Randox Placement Co-Ordinator said;
“Taking part in a meaningful placement scheme is one of the most important things a student can do. The young people who are selected to join our programme are given the opportunity to carry out ground-breaking research and development, often working with pioneering technologies that are exported globally.
“The scheme is highly valued by the company so it’s important to take time at its end to celebrate our students. We’re very proud of them all – their contributions are going to make a real difference to global health.”
For the first time two of the Randox Placement award winners were selected from the APEX scheme that Randox runs with UU and QUB. This innovative scheme, which enables applicants to submit “video CVS” on social media to showcase their own personalities, includes paid, full-time summer work experience after a student’s first year of studies, a year-long placement, and a full-time job offer upon graduating, should they obtain a 2:1 or above.
Catherine McCooke who won the overall prize in Engineering said:
“After winning a place through the APEX scheme, being awarded the top prize in Engineering at Randox is unbelievable. It’s particularly important to me because I feel very passionately that women should see that there are no barriers to succeeding as an engineer. I’ve worked incredibly hard with some inspiring people, and have felt respected and valued every step of the way.”
The incoming 2017 summer work experience marks the highest intake of APEX students in Randox so far. Anyone interested in applying for the 2018-19 scheme should email email@example.com.
The top students in the Randox Pinnacle Placement Awards 2017 were:
Robin Walsh, Queen’s University Chemical Engineering – New Technology Evaluation Chemistry Team at Randox
Katie Lawther, Queen’s University Microbiology – Monoclonal Development Team at Randox
Sarah-Louise Morrow, Queen’s University Biochemistry – Molecular Diagnostics Team at Randox
Catherine McCooke, Queen’s University Electrical and Electronic Engineering – R&D Engineering Team at Randox
Ruairi Laverty, Queen’s University Mechanical Engineering – R&D Engineering Team at Randox
Adam Fawcett, The Ulster University Electronic Engineering – Engineering Team at Randox
Shannon McKee, The Ulster University Business – Regional Sales Team at Randox
Martin Conway, The Ulster University Marketing – Marketing Team at Randox
Alastair McIlveen, Queen’s University Computer Science – IT Team at Randox
Make sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram to stay up-to-date with the hashtag #WeAreRandox for more Randox staff stories.
For more information about the #WeAreRandox initiative please contact Randox PR by email: firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 028 9442 2413
This Christmas we are issuing a challenge to life scientists, engineers, software developers and software testers.
As we celebrate the achievements of our team at Randox Teoranta in Dungloe, Donegal during 2016, we are asking potential employees, “What will you do in 2017?”
Our team of scientists, engineers, software developers and software testers at Randox Teoranta work in state-of-the-art facilities on pioneering research, developing innovative and revolutionary technologies that save lives, through earlier and more accurate diagnosis.
- Tara’s scientific team developed a revolutionary test for Alzheimer’s disease.
- Darren engineered new technologies with the ability to detect disease and save lives.
- Maryrose’s team designed drugs testing software to be used by police officers in criminal investigations.
And in 2017 our team will continue to work on cutting-edge research for key health issues including kidney disease, thyroid disease and gastro intestinal disorders.
What will you do in 2017?
If you want to truly make a difference to global healthcare in a team of the best and brightest scientists, engineers, software developers and testers then join us at the Randox Teoranta Open Morning on Friday 23rd December.
Our world-class research, development and manufacturing site in Dungloe offers unrivalled opportunities for graduates and those with industrial experience within:
- Life Sciences
- Mechanical, Embedded and Medical Device Engineering
- Software Development and Software Testing
Ciaran Richardson, Head of R&D at Randox Teoranta, commented;
“Our investment in this facility provides highly-skilled job opportunities for life scientists, engineers and software developers, and with such fantastic career opportunities available there’s real room to establish a world-class career in the thriving biotechnology industry.
“The transformative work we’re doing here in our next-generation science and engineering facility is truly ground-breaking so for those who want an unrivalled, challenging and rewarding career, they need look no further than Randox Teoranta.”
On our Open Morning you will have the opportunity to meet with current Randox members of staff, take a tour of our ultra-modern facilities and ask all the questions you’ve ever wanted to know about Randox Teoranta.
We look forward to seeing you there.
Randox Teoranta Open Morning
Friday 23rd December
09:00 – 11:30
Address: Randox Teoranta, Meenmore, Dungloe, Co. Donegal.
Tel: +353 7495 22600
Every year Randox offers university students exciting placements with an innovative and rapidly growing company.
These placements are specifically designed to unlock the potential of high quality candidates and provide them with the opportunity to truly make a difference to our business and our customers, and with the opportunity to gain the needed experience to pursue a career in their chosen fields.
Ross Meikle took the time to tell us all about his placement year working within the I.T. department here at Randox.
If you’re interested in a placement year with us, read on!
Hi Ross, what are you currently studying at University?
I am currently studying Computer Games Development at University of Ulster Magee.
Why did you choose to go down this career path/what attracted you to engineering?
During the first and second year of my degree I decided that Game Development wasn’t for me, and I had a much more keen interest in the Software Development modules that I had been taking. I have always been interested in computing and technology. To be in a position where I am using new technologies to design and develop software solutions appealed to me most.
How did you first hear about Randox?
I found the Randox placement through the University’s Placement searching tool, which then led to my application. After applying I contacted Randox to enquire further about the position and obtained an interview.
Why did you choose to carry out your placement year with Randox?
The description of the role given to me at my initial interview really appealed to me and the fact that I already had a little experience using some of the tools that the development use was encouraging. I was familiar with Visual Studio, and had completed one module using the programming language C# – which is the main language that the team here use. During the interview the Project Manager asked me a few technical questions and asked me to do a little coding which I felt very comfortable doing. He also talked to me about the language they use here at Randox and gave me a broad overview of what my responsibilities would entail. After leaving my interview for the placement position, I felt very positive about the whole experience and felt like I wanted to be a part of the team.
How have you found the experience so far?
My placement experience at Randox has been excellent. I completed my initial year of placement and then I was extended for an additional three months afterwards so that I could work right up until I went back to University. I am very happy that the company were prepared to continue my employment and allow me to develop my skills further. Since then I have also been brought back to do my final year project alongside Randox. I have made many friends during my time here, and I have learned significantly more during my placement than I have in any University year.
Have you been working in a supportive environment?
I have been working with the IT Software Development team during my placement. When I started the department was named Acusera 247. There isn’t a single person in this department that hasn’t helped me in some way or another, including the operations team. My team leader has always been able to provide the answer to any issue or question I have had along the way and provided those answers in an informative way that helped me to learn. My Project Manager has also supported me by providing me with all the opportunities I have had throughout my time here, including the final year project I am currently undertaking.
What do your main duties include? Have you been given much responsibility?
After the initial training phase and once I had become more settled within the team, I was made to feel like an equal and capable full time member of staff. I was working alongside other full time developers of varied experience, developing projects that were important and under tight time constraints. I was also tasked with completing a Security Project for the company’s IT department. For this I had to create an Outlook Security Add in which the IT security officer Craig requested. The add in requires all company communication mediums to be given a security level which would ensure that only users with the required access level could read emails or access the files. I have been given a lot of responsibility throughout my placement and it has definitely made me a much more capable and confident person.
What do you enjoy doing the most?
I think the highlight for me during my placement was the Web Development that I did alongside the team in the last quarter of my placement. I was working on Acusera Verify alongside the other developers to a strict deadline. I was given a list of bugs which had been identified in the website and I had to identify the issue in the code and fix it. This process was very rewarding and it made me more confident knowing that my manager/team leader trusted me to be able to provide what was asked.
Have you been met with any challenges? How have you overcame them?
When I started my placement I felt that my coding ability was not what it should be, and I felt that I would struggle whenever the work became more complicated. What I found however was that being tasked with complicated work was the best way for me to learn. It encouraged me to learn fast and it encouraged me greatly to communicate with my team and improve my understanding. I was also challenged initially with the individual assignment I was given, the Security Application for IT. It was challenging, but through hard work and a supportive and extremely knowledgeable team behind me, it became more than achievable.
How has your placement experience with Randox compare to that of your friends who have also had a placement year in engineering?
The two friends that I lived with in my first and second years in University had very different paths than myself during their placement year. One of them was unable to achieve a placement and he ended up walking away from his degree. The other enrolled on the Erasmus program and did his placement in another University in Finland. Other people that I know have been placed with companies and have had both good and bad experiences. I feel very privileged to have had my placement with Randox and comparatively I seem to have gained a lot more from it than quite a number of others.
How has Randox worked with you to ensure that you are still able to work part time at Randox since finishing your placement?
My Project Manager has assisted me in contacting the right people within the company in order to propose the project and get it started. I wrote up a Project Initialization Document which detailed the design, drawbacks, benefits and costs of the project and it was reviewed by my superiors. I was recently sent a full offer pack and given all the information I required, along with a Staff identity/Clock Card to access the building. I have also been provided with a company computer and submitted a purchase order for the components I need for the project.
What you have learnt/skills you have developed from your placement?
What have you been working on recently?
Since I returned as a part time employee, I have been working on the project I am using as my final year project, but I can’t give away too much detail on that yet.
Have you seen the Science Park? What was your first impression?
When I returned as a part time employee I was in the Randox Science Park and that is where I am located now. It is a significant change from where I was previously and I am both impressed by it and very comfortable here. The working environment that we have now feels much more professional. We have ready access to facilities we didn’t have before including dedicated storage areas, a build room for the connects and access to meeting rooms with interactive technologies – it really is a first class facility. I am sure it has and will continue to improve the quality of the work produced here.
What was the highlight of your placement year with Randox? Do you have a favourite memory?
There have been a lot of great experiences throughout my placement year, but the memory that stands out most was my last day. The team set up a lunch for me and all said their goodbyes. My Project Manager then gave me a conditional Job offer which is what I had wanted most all along. It summarised the year for me and ended things on a very positive note.
We are delighted that Ross enjoyed his placement with Randox and we wish him the best of luck for his upcoming dissertation project!
For more information on our student placement or graduate programme please contact Randox HR team or check out our website Randox Careers.
“Opportunities for STEAM graduates in Northern Ireland are limitless” was the message from Randox at this year’s World Space Week. Students taking part in the UN event came together today in Armagh Planetarium to learn about the career pathways available to them in this industry.
Engineers, scientists and graphic designers in the world-leading diagnostics company have this year alone participated in creating a biochip that identifies risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease to designing the logo for this year’s Grand National as part of the company’s sponsorship of one of the world’s most popular steeplechases.
Randox has embarked on a significant recruitment drive following the announcement of a £161m investment in the Randox Science Park, at the site of the former Massereene barracks in Antrim and a €25m investment in Randox Teoranta, in Dungloe, County Donegal.
One of the people invited to address the students at the STEAM careers talk was 27 year old Sean Rafferty, a Software DevOps Team Leader. He joined Randox full-time two years ago after graduating with a first class honours in Computing Science from the University of Ulster.
“There has never been a better time to consider a career within the STEAM industry. Employer demand is growing, supported by top-level understanding that future economic success depends on increasing the number of highly-skilled STEAM workers. There is a rich variety of positions available and on a personal level, I love what I do in software design, particularly within problem solving.
“One of the key messages I can give to students is to avail of all opportunities to fully equip themselves for the work force, and participate in industry placements. A common concern reported in business surveys is that people lack that essential knowledge. Randox has always supported new talent through our competitive student and graduate programs which have been running for over 25 years. This year we had our highest intake and many of those people will secure full-time jobs with us once they finish.”
Randox is creating more than 1000 new jobs in software and mechanical engineering, life sciences and other fields over the next four years. To find the placement programme or job that suits you, please visit: http://careers.randox.com/
For further information, please contact Randox PR on 028 9445 1016 or email email@example.com
71 people including scientists, engineers and IT specialists, from across the UK and Europe are taking the first steps in their Randox careers this week, as the company celebrates a record intake to its student placements and graduate programmes.
Now in its 26th year of providing student placements and 6th year for graduate programmes, Randox is recognised internationally for providing world-class opportunities for students and graduates – one of the core reasons that the global diagnostics company was established in 1982. Thirty years on, its founder Dr Peter FitzGerald remains as committed as ever to championing new talent and driving innovation.
Nadine McKerrow, who graduated this summer with a 2.1 in Biomedical Science from Ulster University, said,
“It’s always been my ambition to work for Randox because of the value it puts into R&D which is my speciality. Not only does it invest 16% of turnover into it – which is something very few companies do, but it’s also building the Randox Science Park which will house pioneering R&D labs. The research we do is going to make an incredible difference to saving lives and improving health, and I’m very proud to be part of the team.”
One of a number of people who have moved to Northern Ireland to take up a placement post is Ross Moir, a Chemistry student from the University of Edinburgh. He said,
“When I go into the lab, I am working beside people who came up with the test that detects Alzheimer’s – it’s incredibly inspirational. I’m not standing on the side-lines either – I’m getting right into the nitty-gritty of the work here. On-the-job experience with a company that is right now developing more new tests than any other diagnostics company in the world is an amazing opportunity.”
Randox founder Dr Peter FitzGerald said,
“I am pleased to welcome these ambitious and bright young people from across the UK and Europe to join the Randox team; they are key to continuing our success. It is no exaggeration to say that during the course of their careers many of them, through their innovative work in diagnostics within the labs at Randox, will save lives. The importance of supporting STEM students has never been so important, a fact recognised by business and political leaders across the world, and here at Randox we are delighted to be playing a significant part in that.”
University students across a range of disciplines take part in a 50-week placement with Randox. They gain invaluable experience in fields ranging from Business and Marketing to Biological and Life Sciences, Graphic Design to Mathematics and Physics, and Engineering to Computer Technology. At the end of their placements, subject to attaining a 2.1 degree or above, students are offered a full-time position in their chosen field.
Graduates enter a two-year programme, which is divided into a series of six-month placements, designed to provide a valuable insight into a variety of roles and departments. Many of the successful graduates who join Randox in full-time positions after this have progressed to attain senior positions within the Company.
As a global healthcare diagnostics company, we know a thing or two about health. And we know that taking time out from our busy lives to relax and unwind is important to stay healthy. Whether that’s taking your dog for a walk, meeting up with friends, getting lost in a good book, or playing your favourite sport.
Playing a competitive sport brings a wealth of benefits – it’s the perfect way to socialise and look after your health at the same time! Not only is it good for your physical health, but can go a long way in maintaining your mental wellbeing too.
There is great value in exercise and fresh air. However, it’s an unfortunate fact of life that most 9-5ers just don’t have the opportunity to indulge in this pleasure very often.
Randox, being a company serious about health and wellbeing, like to know we’re giving our employees the best opportunities to be as healthy as they can, and live their lives as fulfilled as possible.
Amongst many sports in which Randox encourages employees to take part, we encourage our employees to regularly take the time to engage in some friendly competition of 5-a-side rugby against each other. The County Antrim countryside, in which our Randox headquarters are located, is the perfect setting for an informal game of rugby – our rugby players can let off some steam and take in the scenery at the same time!
The team was banded together by Randox Founder and Managing Director, Dr. Peter FitzGerald, who occasionally joins in on the games himself! Dr. FitzGerald is a strong advocate of teamwork and camaraderie in the workplace.
Jonathan Acheson, Randox Health Sales Executive, who plays for our Randox Rugby Team, commented;
“At Randox we work hard but we play hard too! Our work can often be very fast-paced and Randox is expanding phenomenally – for example we’re all working towards our 5 year sponsorship of the Randox Health Grand National, beginning in 2017, which is keeping us all very busy. So it’s important that we take time to unwind and recharge our batteries. We’re lucky that we’re able to take advantage of being in such a lovely area of Northern Ireland – right beside Lough Neagh – and so we can get outside after work and have a good run-about!”
Follow Randox Careers on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to stay up-to-date with the hashtag #WeAreRandox
Ever wonder how motivated and successful people stay so calm at work? Here at Randox, we know that even the most enjoyable careers can get stressful, even for the most motivated employees!
According to a CIPD Absence Management Survey the number one cause for long term sickness is stress. When the paperwork begins to pile up and to-do lists become longer it can be difficult not to let the mounting pressure get to you. But, there’s good news! Exercise is not only for the body, but the mind too. Exercise at work can improve our mental wellbeing improving our ability to deal with the pressure/stress in our working lives. So, if you want to keep your cool like John from H.R., here’s some tips on how you can make some changes today towards improving your mood (even on Mondays!)
1. Get up a go. We all realise how important exercise is but making the time for it in our busy lives can be difficult. Why not make simple changes increasing the amount of physical activity you can squeeze into your day. Take the stairs whenever you can. Perhaps even park your car in a space further away meaning more time to stretch your legs.
2. Stretch at your desk. Research by the NHS says Adults in the UK are sitting for 7 hours a day! Find yourself staring at your computer screen all day? Alternate your tasks at works. Why not even try the CIPD suggested “chairobics”…stretches you can do without even leaving your chair such as rotating your shoulders. Chairobics is so widely praised there’s even sit-down aerobics classes based on teaching people how to get moving at their desk!
3. Clear your head. Don’t be afraid to take a screen-break every now and again. I know it can seem like you’re wasting your precious work time, but clearing your head of the stresses you accumulate at work will give you a clearer perspective on things ensuring you remain motivated and more productive. There is a long history of research into breaks and the correct amount of time for a computer-break. Employers first began offering the break because of its effects of revival on work quality. Not only does it revive your work, however, it revives you! Physical activity goes a long way contributing to improving your own mental well being. Any activity that makes you feel good does well. Feeling good boosts your productivity in work and as the saying goes “Nothing will work unless you do”.
4. Sit up straight. Good posture at your desk will improve your breathing making you feel calmer and therefore less like likely to get stressed no matter what work related task is thrown your way. Bad posture, on the other hand can cause many problems such as pains, and headaches. Try this. Roll your shoulders back and straighten your spine. Lift you chin up. How much better do you feel? More motivated and ready to take on the world of work? Don’t question the power of good posture on your mood!
In conclusion, we quote Ziggy Marley; “Doing something that is productive is a great way to alleviate emotional stress. Get your mind doing something that is productive.” We all want to be as cool as a cucumber in stressful situations at work so the next time you’re feeling under pressure try some of these tips and smile! It’s Friday, afterall!
Our Randox employees are multi-talented – not only in their roles as world-class scientists, software developers, engineers, marketeers and sales people, but also in their lives outside work. At Randox we have swimmers, cyclists, dancers, musicians, horse riders…the list goes on! And at Randox Teoranta, we have a group of Randox employees who work together as a team not only in the labs, but also on the pitch!
This weekend, our Randox Teoranta football team took part in a number of challenging football games at the Mary from Dungloe Annual Soccer Tournament. The tournament kicked off on Saturday 30th of July at 10.30am and continued on throughout the day, with six teams from across the County taking part; Gweedore Celtic, Glenea Utd, St. Catherine’s, Strand Rovers, Randox, and the Keadue Rovers.
The Randox Teoranta team comprises of a number of experienced football players, some of whom already play for prestigious clubs in the area;
- Ciaran Ferry, Lead Manufacturing Operator – currently plays for Gweedore Celtic in the Donegal Soccer League
- Shaun Boyle, Manufacturing Operator – currently plays for Keadue Rovers in the Donegal Soccer League
- Kevin Boyle, Manufacturing Operator – former Keadue Rovers player
- Daniel Melly, Mechanical Design Engineer – currently plays for Keadue Rovers in the Donegal Soccer League
- Darren McGeever, Mechanical Design Engineer – currently plays for Glenea Utd in the Donegal Soccer League
- Ryan Kettle, Biochip Formulation Operative – currently plays for Drumkeen Utd in the Donegal Soccer League
- Daryl Devenney, Scientist – currently plays for Keadue Rovers
- Mal Mc Fadden, Stores Operative – former Keadue Rovers player
- Aidan O’Donnell, Stores Operative – currently plays for Strand Utd in the Donegal Soccer League
- Robert Farrell, Stores Operative – former Home Farm player
Team Manager and current Chairman of Keadue Rovers Football Club, Ben Boyle, commented;
“The Mary from Dungloe soccer tournament was the first competition for our newly formulated Randox team, and we were all excited to represent our company. As you can see, a lot of our players were playing against their own respective clubs such as Keadue Rovers, Gweedore Celtic, Glenea Utd and Strand Utd, who all took part, so there was certainly some friendly rivalry on the day!”
The Teo team successfully won one of their four matches during the tournament which saw Glenea Utd of the Donegal Senior League take home the coveted Perpetual Cup. Randox lost to the eventual winners of the tournament in their first game by a narrow 1 goal margin. In their second game they lost 2-0 to Strand Rovers but hit form in their third encounter against Gweedore Celtic. Teo emerged as winners when the whistle blew at 3-0, with goals from Darren McGeever, Mal McFadden and Daryl Devenney. The Teo team unfortunately lost their fourth match 1-0 after a very close encounter with Keadue Rovers.
A victory against Keadue would have seen Teo reach a play off to make the final but it just wasn’t to be on this occasion. The final then saw Glenea Utd and Keadue rovers go head-to-head, leaving Glenea victorious on penalties and emerging the victors of the tournament.
The tournament on the Shorefront pitch followed a week jam-packed full of activities during the Mary from Dungloe Festival, including a visit from the Marys to Randox Teoranta for a guided tour of the facilities.
On Sunday, Eva Ni Dhoibhlinn was then officially announced as Mary from Dungloe at a Crowning Cabaret which was televised on Irish TV.
Shaun Boyle, Randox Teoranta Football Team Captain, enjoyed taking part in the tournament, which he described as a much-loved and eagerly anticipated event during the Mary from Dungloe festival;
“All of us in the Randox team gave it our all. During such a popular event as the annual Mary from Dungloe Soccer Tournament, we were of course up against top quality opposition, but played our absolute best. We may need a few diagnostic kits to analyse our injuries from the tournament – especially for the older players in the squad!”
Ciaran Richardson, Head of R&D at Randox Teoranta, congratulated the team on their efforts and is looking forward to seeing the team play in their next big game;
“From everyone at Randox I’d like to say a big well done to all the players in the Randox Teo football team. They played exceptionally well and it was great to see their teamwork in the workplace transfer on to the pitch.”
Randox’s Public Relations Executive, Amy McIlwaine, tells us about her time in New York State, working in Camp Wakonda (Homes for the Homeless)
We’re celebrating the bright and vibrant lives of Randox employees, and the way in which these inspiring individuals have helped to make Randox as great as it is today. Stay up to date with the #WeAreRandox hashtag on Twitter and Instagram to hear more stories.
We were discussing our most inspiring moments with Amy McIlwaine, Public Relations Executive of Randox Laboratories, this week. She told us a story of her time volunteering with children in New York State that we knew we had to share! We hope her story inspires you as much as it did us:
Here is Amy’s story:
“During my years at school and at University I worked as a part-time lifeguard in a local pool. I’ve always been quite ambitious, so, when the time came to graduate and I decided to do some overseas work, I applied to be Waterfront Director at a camp in New York State, called Camp Wakonda.
When I say the words ‘Summer camp’ to people they usually picture expensive facilities with music suites, maybe some horse stables and jet-skis, with a love-able rogue Joe Jonas lookalike thrown in for good measure, but Camp Wakonda wasn’t quite like that!
Camp Wakonda is a Summer camp that is run by the Homes for the Homeless organisation, and accepts children between 6 and 10 years old who are homeless and living in New York shelters.
The camp has limited resources, cabins with no electricity, and various (sometimes) friendly camp companions such as bears, chipmunks and rattlesnakes (we were in the middle of the woods). Children came to camp with very few belongings – sometimes even without a decent pair of shoes. But in spite of all that, it’s one of my favourite places on this earth. Being free from the stresses of everyday life (mind you, working with 90 children at a time brings a different kind of stress!) is wonderfully liberating and living in the middle of nature brings a certain serenity.
Although we had such limited resources, we had the time of our lives! You learn to be really creative – we had themed days throughout the summer like a Harry Potter banquet, a ‘Fairytales of Wakonda’ pantomime, and even Christmas on the 25th July! That one was probably my favourite – some of the children had never had a real Christmas before. I’m happy to admit that I welled up when I saw how incredibly excited they were at receiving just one small gift.”
Smiling from ear-to-ear, Amy went on to highlight the importance of the camp she worked in, in offering homeless children from New York the opportunity to just enjoy being kids, and how this inspired her:
“The spirit of the children, and the counsellors, at Camp Wakonda is something that I had not come across before, and have not come across since. For children who have had such a difficult upbringing, they came to camp with the biggest smiles on their faces, and the smallest things like three hot meals a day meant the world to them. It was great to see them free from the stresses of their unfortunate circumstances. For me, as their swimming teacher, nothing made me smile more than when a child came running up to me shouting ‘Miss Amy, I learned how to float today!’ or when a camper who had been so scared of the water finally got in and had a beaming smile from ear-to-ear when I handed them a swimming certificate. Many of the children had never left the city, and so had never experienced some of the things that we take for granted – like being able to see the stars in the sky at night.
I lived and worked in Wakonda for three months during 2014, and went back again in 2015, as Unit Leader of the older girl’s unit. I was responsible for counselor training, and the welfare of both the girl campers and the female counselors. When you’re practically working 24/7 for three months, the children become your entire life – everything that you do is with their needs in mind. Because of this, the children are so grateful of the time and attention that the counselors give them.
The work that Homes for the Homeless does for those kids is amazing, it really makes a difference to their lives, and I’m so glad that I have been part of it.”
Find out more about Camp Wakonda in this NY 1 News coverage video, here.
Randox wouldn’t be the innovative and caring healthcare company it is today without the hard work of young people with fresh perspectives and world experience like Amy – so we’re delighted that she has brought her enthusiasm to our team! We hope her story inspired you to take part in your community through volunteering. For us, we never stop. We’re helping to improve healthcare and diagnostics through consistent hard work, because for us, this means saving lives.
If you’re looking for a career in Business, Science or Engineering, let Randox be the next step in your adventure!
Follow us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram or stay up-to-date with the hashtag #WeAreRandox. Visit our website to view our careers opportunities at Randox Laboratories.
We’re sure you’ve heard of “Speed Dating”, but what about “Speed Networking”? Randox’s R&D Scientist, Dr. Dwaine Vance tried it out to spread the word about Randox Careers in STEM!
Dr Dwaine Vance visited Omagh High School to represent Randox Careers. He sat down with us, and we discussed the importance of the event. Dr. Vance told us:
On Wednesday the 15th June I represented Randox Careers at a ‘speed networking’ event at Omagh High School. This involved groups of students moving from one employer stand to the next for a 5 minute ‘mini network’. There was two sessions during the morning involving GCSE level pupils. The aim of the ‘speed networking’ event was to provide pupils with opportunities to meet local Northern Irish companies within the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) sectors, of which Randox Laboratories play a pivotal role.
We, at Randox, want to inspire students to think about their own career plans and to allow them to gather information about the local job market. By doing this, we’re also giving them the opportunity to be aware of the jobs that are available and the importance of STEM related subjects, as well as letting them see how employers value their other curriculum subjects and their personal skills and attributes. My objective as a employee of Randox was to showcase a range of careers for all abilities within the company with a focus on STEM careers e.g. science and engineering.
The importance of spreading awareness of the opportunities in science and engineering from a young age is imperative, as many students are unaware of the vast range of differentiation in different careerpaths, stemming from one subject or degree class. Dr. Dwaine Vance went on to discuss the events of the networking conference:
As part of each ‘mini network’ I provided students with a brief overview of Randox. Students were given the opportunity to watch videos depicting our expertise and to ask questions about how their interests could be incorporated within Randox. The training department at Randox provided me with pop-up stands, recruitment pathway brochures, merchandise e.g. pens, stopwatches, mug coasters and even Biochip Array Technology key rings!
Overall the students gained a good knowledge of Randox, they were particularly keen to learn about the local and global opportunities available at Randox. In addition, students were keen to know more about the veterinary aspect of Randox. It was comforting to discover that the majority of pupils had previous knowledge of the Randox brand from the press (as we have recently experienced a great boost in brand visibility through Grand national sponsorship), Randox health (television adverts) and Confidante (local radio stations).
The pupils at Omagh High School were keen to ask me about my role within the company and what my day to day roles and responsibilities are. I was happy to provide students with my research and development activities and they were interested to hear that I was involved in the development of a genetic test that aims to predict your future risk of heart disease by investigating your own DNA.
At Randox I am part of a small team of experienced research scientists that are developing a genetic risk prediction test for heart disease and myocardial infarction. This test aims to simultaneously genotype 20 genetics variants that have been previously associated with increased risk of heart disease. This Randox molecular test is in collaboration with leading University academics and will help reduce the burden of heart disease throughout the world by providing an accurate risk assessment of disease so personalised treatment can be provided to those who require it most. To quote Randox Health, “Prevention is better than cure”.
From everyone at the Randox Careers team and from Dr. Dwaine Vance, we’d like to thank Omagh High School for inviting us to attend this incredibly beneficial Speed Networking event, where we feel we have truly impacted the young minds of tomorrow. We look forward to the future of diagnostics, with you!