We Are Randox | Marketing Placement Student Thomas Adams on his year at Randox
It’s that time of year again at Randox when we must say a fond farewell to our placement students as they leave to embark on their final year of study at university. We’re proud to be a key employer of placement students in Northern Ireland, having welcomed a huge 50 students through our doors last year, and are always enthusiastic to see students grow and develop during their time with us.
One such placement student who has this month come to the end of his 50-week placement with us is Thomas Adams, a marketing student at Ulster University.
Thomas joined the Randox Food Diagnostics team in September 2017 as a Placement Marketing Executive. We caught up with him to hear all about his placement year with Randox.
Thomas, why did you want to forge a career in marketing?
I’ve always been a creative person. I remember taking note of advertisements on billboards and on the TV and thinking that creating something like that would be my dream job. Marketing specifically appealed to me because you can incorporate the creativity of advertising while also interacting with the public and assisting sales teams. Variety is the spice of life after all!
How would you describe yourself in three words?
Creative, confident and chatty.
I’ve always known Randox as an NI-based global leader in diagnostics, particularly because I studied science at A-level and Randox would have been mentioned from time to time. Marketing at Randox, in particular, really appealed to me because of the scale of the company and all its divisions. I was enthusiastic to gain marketing experience in this high-calibre global company right on my doorstep.
Describe a typical day as a placement marketing executive.
When I come to work in the morning the first thing I do is check all emails and enquiries that have come in overnight to our Customer Relationship Management system and send out new enquiries to sales people stationed across the world. The Randox Food Diagnostics division has customers throughout the globe and there are many international queries that will come in throughout the night because of the different time zones.
The rest of my day is focussed on wine – and no, it’s not what you think!
I manage the marketing activities of the wine testing division of Randox Food Diagnostics. We’re working behind the scenes when you are enjoying a glass of wine with your meal, as have developed a range of high quality analysers and wine testing reagents which aid the wine industry. Quality is at the heart of what we do and we want to ensure the quality of your wine.
I spend much of my time creating fresh and exciting content for our website and social media channels. This could range from information on our wine testing kits, to current news stories in the wine industry.
I also manage the translation of this material into the languages of the various countries around the world in which Randox Food Diagnostics operate. I also take enquiries from our sales team for any new promotional material or market research they require to increase their sales.
How did you come to manage the marketing for the wine division of Randox Food Diagnostics?
When I first started, I was mentored by my team leader who gave me certain tasks specifically in the wine sector, and trained me up on everything I needed to know – helping to ease me in to what was for me, my first full-time job.
After three months, the wine division was then given to me to manage. This meant that I was in control of all marketing campaigns, materials and events for the wine sector. It was so exciting to be given this opportunity and I was delighted to hear that I was doing well, that my team leader was pleased with my progress and that he felt I could be entrusted with the division.
New wine tests need new advertising campaigns and market research and I was delighted to oversee this, as I was able to unleash my creative side in presenting my ideas to the rest of the team. I had to come up with the campaign strapline, the artwork, and the social media strategy, and make decisions about what advertising vehicles were best suited to our target audience – whether it be television, magazines, online or outdoor.
I also had the responsibility of staying up-to-date with the industry’s current market trends while organising our presence at wine events and conferences, such as ‘Unified’ in the U.S. I have found the experience of managing all the different activities of an entire marketing division incredibly insightful and rewarding.
How have you found your placement year at Randox?
I have found my placement year very enjoyable. I never felt like just a placement student – I was made to feel like an integrated part of the team from day one. Everyone is so helpful as well. It doesn’t matter if you’ve been here for twenty years or two weeks, anyone you ask will be willing to help you with whatever you need.
I have also really enjoyed the opportunity to travel while at Randox. I particularly enjoyed going to Lancaster in Pennsylvania, to see American marketing first-hand at the Eastern Winery Expo. I was involved in all aspects of the event’s management – booking the event, designing the booth, creating the promotional material and shipping it all across to America. It was fantastic to see all my hard work pay off at the event and to be able to chat to our U.S. customers face-to-face.
What is the best thing about Randox?
Definitely my colleagues. Everyone is so friendly and it didn’t take long to settle in at all. I’ve really enjoyed playing Randox football after work on a Monday night in Crumlin too as it gives you the opportunity to get to know people from the other Randox sites while having a friendly kickaround.
What has been the most challenging aspect of your time at Randox?
When I first arrived, I had a general overview of what Randox does and of some of its products, but I didn’t know anything about the company’s patented Biochip Array Technology. I had to quickly get my head around it and learn all about Randox biochips because it’s this innovative technology that Randox Food Diagnostics uses to stay ahead of competitors in the market.
Although initially challenging, I have enjoyed throwing myself in to this learning experience and turning what was once a negative in to a massive positive – I’m now as up-to-date on the newest technology as I possibly could be and that makes for the best marketing campaigns and promotional material. It’s been great for my own personal development to get stuck in to an entirely new area of science and to see my progress from the beginning of the year until now.
I’m a big believer of the importance of always learning and trying something new.
What do you do when not in the office?
I like playing sports, such as football. I’m also a keen cycler. My parents have always been in to cycling so I guess you could say its in the blood. In July I went to Fort William in Scotland for a week of mountain-biking. I love the thrill and the adrenalin rush!
What are your goals for the future?
I would like to secure a marketing role in a globally successful company like Randox, although I wouldn’t say for sure that I’ll always be in marketing as I wouldn’t mind branching out in to forecasting or sales. Fortunately, at Randox you have the flexibility to try a new role if you feel you’d like to expand your skillset. The careers team are really open to people moving about until they find their niche. That’s why the Graduate Programme is so great – you are able to rotate throughout different departments until you find the perfect role for you – one which you are passionate about.
Personally, one of my aims for the future is to travel more. I’d like to venture off the beaten track and see some of the more unexplored areas of the world such as Asia, the Arctic or areas of South America.
But for now, it’s time to get my head back into the books for my final year of studies at university. Wish me luck!
We wish Thomas, like all our placement students, all the best for the future as they head back to university. We look forward to following your budding career in marketing.
For more information on placements at Randox, please contact email@example.com for more information.
For more We Are Randox stories about our amazing colleagues, make sure to follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and follow the hashtag #WeAreRandox.
An Ulster University marketing student has won the top spot in global healthcare manufacturer Randox Laboratories’ annual Student Placement Awards.
Matthew Steele from Bushmills fought off stiff competition from fellow placement students in science and engineering programmes by attracting the judges’ attention for the work he carried out within two new and novel ventures taken on by the company.
In recent years, the founder of Randox Laboratories, Dr Peter FitzGerald, has extended his business portfolio to include the Bushmills-based Dundarave Estate and Cherryvalley Farm in Crumlin. Matthew’s focus has been to develop and promote tourism activities at the Estate, such as clay pigeon shooting, as well as Cherryvalley Farm produce. He worked with the company’s IT department and Finance team to complete various projects and created a digital communications strategy.
Additionally, when Matthew was faced with the familiar catch-all that employees may find themselves asked to carry out additional tasks, he won plaudits within the company for stepping in to dip sheep on one occasion!
Speaking after the awards ceremony Matthew commented;
“Placement has been amazing for me and I would encourage everyone to do it. The year has gone so quickly, because you get thrown in straightaway. You’re not seen as a placement student – you’re a member of staff right from the start. This experience has given me so much, widening my business knowledge and teaching me so many new skills. It’s been great.”
Department winners in the engineering and science placement programmes are respectively Ulster University student Dale Love from Ballymena and Jamie Boyd, a Queen’s University Belfast student from Cookstown.
Across the company, 39 university students took part in this year’s placement programme. Lasting 50 weeks, the initiative provides young people with the experience needed to pursue a career in their chosen field.
Linda Magee, Head of Randox Human Resources, commented;
“We are delighted for all our winners in this year’s placement awards. Matthew, in particular, impressed us with creative and successful strategies, and the wholehearted approach he brings to working with us. The Randox Placement Programme is one of our most important initiatives, because gaining industry-experience is now critical for young people. Randox is committed to developing meaningful ways of supporting them, and we are encouraged year after year by the calibre of students who apply to join us.”
For further information about the Randox Placement Awards please contact Randox PR by email: firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone: 028 9442 2413
Working in a global company like Randox opens many doors for our 1400-strong workforce, one of which being the opportunity to travel. For people who want to see the world, experience other cultures and meet new people, we have LOTS of opportunities to do so.
It’s no surprise therefore that we value ambitious and enthusiastic employees who enjoy the excitement of a new challenge, and a new adventure!
And that’s just what our Marketing Executive, Joel Woods, did this summer. After spending his placement year with us here at Randox, and then completing his final year of studies at Ulster University in Jordanstown, Joel was offered the opportunity to complete an internship in Beijing, the capital of China.
The experiences, new perspectives, and understanding of a different culture that he acquired during his time in China are just a few of the reasons why we love to hear from well-travelled individuals like Joel.
Here’s his story.
Given that I work in the Testing and Toxicology division here at Randox, it’s quite ironic that while I was at school I actually wanted a career in Forensic Science, rather than in Business. I even completed my lower sixth work experience with the PSNI.
I went to Ballyclare High School and studied Business Studies, ICT, Geography and Biology for A-Level. An encouraging and interesting school teacher during my GCSEs had made Business Studies more appealing, and so I decided to take it at A-Level. When studying it in my final year my mind had completely turned from forensics toward business, so I then went on to study Marketing at Ulster University.
During my time at university I completed a placement year with Randox within their marketing team. I worked primarily on Customer Relationship Management; providing support for sales reps and other marketing teams, running reports for top level managers, developing marketing campaigns and writing blogs. It was a fantastic experience getting to work on such a wide variety of marketing activities and was a great insight into the operations of a global company. It set me in really good stead for my final year of university because I had a point of reference in the real working world for everything that I was learning.
Come the end of my final year at Jordanstown I was presented with an opportunity to go to China on a two month internship based in Beijing. To have a funded internship by the British Council was an excellent opportunity to enhance my CV with international experience, and I had never been to Asia before so this was a chance I wasn’t going to let pass me by.
For the two months I was in China I worked in a small firm based in the western district of Beijing (Sanlitun). The firm was called PAPP’S TEA, a small tea manufacturer. My job title was Marketing Intern which involved updating their website, creating blogs, engaging audiences on social media, working closely with graphic designers about brand guidelines and supporting events for the launch of new products. Everything I had learnt during my placement year in Randox was put to good use!
The weather in China was permanently overcast and very rarely dropped below 30 degrees. Most of the food that I tried was incredible, but portions were always small. One of the interesting things about Chinese culture is that you never order a single meal for yourself, but rather a few dishes are ordered and everyone shares. I therefore had the unfortunate experience of sampling chicken feet…not tasty at all and they were more cartilage than meat! The language was also very difficult to understand but gradually as my time went on I began picking up words – a few greetings here and there, phrases used to order food from a menu, and how to pay for the bill at restaurants.
During my weekends I was usually free which gave a great opportunity to do all the touristy things. One of my favourite memories of China was camping on the Great Wall during my second weekend there. A group of us, mostly interns from the UK, got ourselves a tour guide and camping gear, hiked to the great wall and camped overnight. We had a barbeque, a campfire and watched the sun setting and rising. It was absolutely stunning.
My other main highlight from China was seeing Shanghai. We booked a hostel in the centre of Shanghai, from which almost everything we wanted to see was within walking distance. Walking around Shanghai felt like walking around London. The whole city was completely western, and so it didn’t feel like I was in China. Nevertheless, it was still an incredible experience visiting one of the most populated cities on the planet (26 million people).
The best moment during my time in Shanghai was using the public bicycles to see the city. Three of us chose to see the city by night and so we started our journey at midnight when the city was totally empty. It was so surreal. We got to see more of the city in one night than we ever did during the rest of the weekend!
I thoroughly enjoyed my time in China and would recommend an internship with the British Council to anyone who is thinking about gaining international experience. It can only ever be a good thing to see more of the ever-advancing technological world we live in, especially if you are working in a global company like Randox.
Upon returning to Randox as a permanent member of staff I now deal with clients all around the globe, and so the experience gained from my internship has been of such great benefit. My time there has helped me understand how business is dealt from another culture and I can’t wait for my next big adventure.
We’re so delighted Joel had a positive experience during his time in Beijing and has returned to Randox full of enthusiasm and exciting ideas! Welcome back to the team Joel.
For current vacancies in our team, visit careers.randox.com
A group of 30 delegates from global healthcare company Randox Laboratories has this week travelled to the USA, to take part in the world’s largest diagnostics conference – in San Diego, California.
The American Association of Clinical Chemistry (AACC) Annual Meeting and Clinical Lab Expo, known as the leading event for laboratory medicine worldwide, is attended by over 20,000 delegates from across the globe, and offers Randox the opportunity to showcase their capabilities and to network with leading healthcare professionals and key decision makers.
Launching at this year’s event are a number of innovative and exciting new products, including a test for Acute Kidney Injury, a revolutionary diagnostic for small, dense low density lipoprotein (sLDL), a subtype of LDL cholesterol which is a vital risk marker for cardiovascular disease, and the latest in laboratory quality assurance software.
Chief Scientist at Randox Laboratories, John Lamont, who is heading up the delegation to the US, commented;
“Our very significant investment in research and development means that we have more new tests in development than any other healthcare company in the world. Each year at AACC we are able to bring a wealth of exciting new technologies to the American market, for a range of the world’s pressing health issues in need of the most urgent address. We look forward to showcasing our latest innovations at this year’s AACC conference, and to identifying further potential projects.”
Dr. Peter FitzGerald, Founder and Managing Director of Randox Laboratories, commented;
“We appreciate that post-Brexit there will of course be particular business challenges with regards to international business, but at Randox we will remain committed to developing new health diagnostic technologies in the areas where they are needed most, and to expanding the business in our key markets, such as the US.
“The USA is one of our most important markets and we have been exporting our diagnostic products there since the early 1980s. We will continue to nurture our presence there, the expansion of which will be supported by our soon to be opened facility in Kearneysville, West Virginia, which will enable us to strengthen our position in that market.”
AACC runs from the 30th July – 3rd August at the San Diego Convention Centre. Randox can be found at booth #3839.
For further information about Randox at AACC please contact Randox PR on 028 9445 1016 or email RandoxPR@randox.com
Following the launch of its new Chinese market expansion programme in December 2016, global healthcare diagnostics company Randox Laboratories has made significant strides in its business with China, successfully increasing its exports and enabling new business opportunities within the country.
The firm has just returned from a business trip to China to meet new distributors and customers acquired over the last six months, and to train this recently acquired distributor network on Randox’s latest healthcare technologies, with a key focus on the company’s RIQAS programme, the world’s largest External Quality Assessment scheme for laboratories.
Ying Zhu, Sales Manager for Randox Laboratories in China, commented on the success Randox has seen in China over the last six months;
“China is one of our key markets and although our world-leading diagnostic products have been sold there for more than 20 years, we continue to increase our business presence there thanks to increased output from our innovative R&D programmes, and enhanced manufacturing capabilities, including new facilities at the Randox Science Park, our new headquarters in County Antrim. These infrastructural developments have resulted in an increasing range of products which we can now offer to growing and dynamic markets such as China. This increasing range of products coupled with a growing market presence has significantly increased our business penetration and subsequent support to customers.”
Since the launch of the market expansion programme last year Randox has successfully secured distributors across four of the largest provinces of China and has partnered with key hospitals in Guangzhou, Shanghai and Wuhan.
Margaret Fick, RIQAS Scientist added;
“At our most recent training conference in China, in addition to the educational seminars I conducted with my colleagues, we were also delighted to be able to host several of our newly acquired hospital partners, who presented to our audience of current and potential customers on how their laboratories have benefited from our Randox Quality Control products. The use of testimonials from high profile individuals who have experienced the quality, efficiency and reliability of our products is accelerating our growth across China and this is set to continue over the coming months and years.”
For further information about Randox in China please contact Randox PR on 028 9445 1016 or email RandoxPR@randox.com
Global healthcare firm Randox Laboratories has pledged its commitment to maintaining and developing its business relationships with Europe, as a group of 20 representatives from the diagnostics company have travelled to Greece this week, to take part in one of Europe’s largest diagnostics conference in Athens.
EuroMedLab, which is run by the European Congress of Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine, is attended by thousands of healthcare professionals from across the globe, and offers Randox the opportunity to showcase their capabilities and to network with key decision makers.
Managing Director of Randox, Dr. Peter FitzGerald, commented on what the company hopes to achieve by attending EuroMedLab;
“We highly value the business we do within the European market and have successfully made a name for ourselves in the diagnostics industry in these countries. We already have a number of key sales offices and distribution centres in the likes of France, Germany, Portugal, Italy, Spain and Poland, but there is so much more we can do. Attending key networking events such as EuroMedLab is vital because it allows us the opportunity to meet with our existing customers and partners, to nurture and develop these relationships, and of course establish new ones.”
At the EuroMedLab conference the delegation team of Randox scientists, business development executives and market researchers will be making a series of announcements and presentations for new products including an innovative stroke diagnostic, newly discovered biomarkers for coronary heart disease risk, and the latest in laboratory quality assurance software.
The team will also present for the first time the Evidence Evolution analyser, a biochip testing platform capable of delivering accurate results from more than 2600 tests an hour including, but not exclusive to, cancer surveillance, fertility, heart, nutritional, digestive and diabetes health.
Dr. FitzGerald continued;
“At Randox we invest up to 16% of our turnover in R&D and we therefore have more new tests in development than any other diagnostics company in the world. This puts us in a very unique position in the market because our new developments, which are focused in areas where they are needed the most, successfully address the most urgent health issues.
“In light of recent political developments, there will of course be particular business challenges in Europe, but at Randox we will maintain our commitment to nurturing our relationships with key business partners in Europe and to seeking new opportunities in international markets such as the US.”
EuroMedLab runs from the 11th – 15th June 2017 at the Megaron Athens International Conference Centre in Athens. Randox can be found at booth #13 in the Skalkotas Hall Foyer.
Creativity can take many forms. And there’s nobody who seems to embody this saying better than our Global Marketing Manager, Eamon Lenehan.
By day he’s a Marketing Guru coming up with creative and innovative campaigns for Randox products. But by night he’s a rockstar in a Northern Irish Indie Band – playing drums and writing new songs!
As we continue our #WeAreRandox series of staff stories, we’re delighted to have found out about Eamon’s musical alter-ego.
We love getting to know the hobbies and interests that make our colleagues who they are and hope that Eamon’s story encourages other musical members of our team to meet up, chat about their shared interests and find out just a little bit more about each other.
Here’s Eamon’s story.
My background in music is something I’m very proud of but just never get the chance to talk about at work because I’m always so busy! At Randox I head up the Marketing for the clinical side of our business – our RX Series clinical chemistry analysers, Randox Quality Control, and our Randox Reagents. I’m also heavily involved in the Marketing for the Randox Health Grand National so I’m never short of work to do!
Basically I’ve always been musical. I grew up in a musical household and learnt to play the piano from a very young age. As my interest in music grew I then took up the drums too. I still practice regularly and I’m often asked to play in bands or orchestras at musical performances by local production companies.
In my teens I was lucky that a good number of my friends were musical too and so quite early on we became involved in the Belfast music scene. I got to know the sound team at the Empire Music Hall and also Gary Lightbody from Snow Patrol who is very supportive of up and coming musicians. In 1996 I was lucky enough to be part of a band who supported Snow Patrol. That was long before they became so well-known, back when they were just part of the university scene in Belfast. I learnt so much from them.
As time went on I had the opportunity to become involved in an increasing number of musical projects to build up my experience. For example, I was involved in a project that Paul Cook from The Sex Pistols was producing, which was amazing, especially for a fellow drummer.
I guess my friends and I became inspired by all the musical talent that we had grown up around and had been lucky enough to work with. We took inspiration from bands we had been in previously – I myself had been in a band called The Scenes – and then in 2010 we pulled together and started up our own band in a studio in Northern Ireland called Mogul Studios.
The band was called Levity Breaks – made up of myself on drums, singer and bassist Marty McLaughlin, keyboardist Jonny McGuiness and guitarist Richie Lappin. You can do a quick google search and find some of our songs very easily.
I’m most proud of a song we wrote called ‘The Floor’, the video of which was produced for us by Maverick Renegade Productions. It was our début single and it did really well because it’s a big, anthem-style tune which evokes a lot of emotion. We got to perform in gigs across Belfast including The Limelight.
Once again we were lucky to receive support from Gary Lightbody’s artist development company, Third Bar. We were selected by the company to receive the Bushmills Live Legacy Fund in 2014, which meant we received some funding and also performed alongside headliners The 1975 and Tired Pony during Bushmills Live in the summer of that year.
It was such a fantastic time in my life and I’m proud to have been part of something so huge. I am now doing some session work for a band called The Irontown Diehards and am excited to bring my experiences and ideas to their new album.
I have two passions in life; marketing and music, and I’m hoping that my talents in the former will help promote my involvement in the latter. It all boils down to creativity and that’s what I love about both of my interests. Of course knowing Gary Lightbody doesn’t hurt either…
Randox wouldn’t be the innovative and forward-thinking healthcare company it is today without the creativity and hard work of people like Eamon. We’re delighted he’s part of our team and that he brings his enthusiasm, commitment and talent with him every day to Randox.
If you want to hear some of Eamon’s music you can check him out in action on the drums here:
We can’t stop listening!
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: email@example.com or phone 028 9442 2413
Following 18 months of extensive market research and infrastructural developments, global healthcare diagnostics company Randox Laboratories has this week launched a new market expansion programme in Shanghai in China, to help develop and strengthen business relationships and increase exports.
To mark the roll out of the initiative, Randox is hosting a conference in Shanghai for its most recently acquired distributor networks, who will benefit from training on Randox’s latest healthcare technologies, designed to facilitate early and accurate diagnosis to improve patient outcomes.
Susan Hammond, Global Product Manager at Randox Laboratories, commented on Randox’s Chinese expansion plans at the company’s Shanghai training conference;
“China is one of our most important markets and we have been exporting our world-class diagnostic products there for over 20 years. With increased output from our innovative R&D programmes, and enhanced manufacturing capabilities, including new facilities at Randox Science Park, we have an increasing range of high quality products, which are in demand in growing and dynamic markets such as China. We are now actively growing our market presence in order to improve our penetration and subsequent support to customers.”
As well as providing education on the latest diagnostic developments to conference attendees, Randox are also hosting over 300 guests at Camerata Ireland Concerts in Shanghai, Beijing and Wuhan over the coming week. Randox are Global Sponsors of Camerata Ireland and are delighted to showcase to Chinese audiences not only the science and innovation that come from our shores, but also the breadth of cultural talent.
“Our infrastructural changes within the Chinese market have been in planning and development for the last 18 months and we are delighted that our support of the talented Camerata Ireland orchestra on their Chinese tour this month gives us the opportunity to visit key business partners while simultaneously supporting our young musicians in their careers.”
The Camerata Ireland Orchestra, whose joint patrons are Michael D Higgins, President of Ireland and Queen Elizabeth II, begin their tour on the 9th December in Shanghai, when the all-Ireland orchestra will perform a diverse tapestry of classical music, led by Camerata Ireland founder and 1986 Tchaikovsky International Piano Competition Winner Barry Douglas.
Barry Douglas, Founder and Artistic Director of Camerata Ireland said;
“Following a successful tour in China last year we are delighted to be back, and it is particularly special for our Solo Flautist Eimear McGeown as this tour marks her Chinese debut. On behalf of everyone in Camerata Ireland I would like to take this opportunity to thank our global sponsor, Randox, without whom our international touring would not be possible. We are delighted to be able to work together across the world to showcase our musical and business talent to a global audience.”
The Camerata Ireland tour of China is as follows: Friday 9th December in The Shanghai Grand Theatre in Shanghai, in the Forbidden City Concert Hall in Bejing on the 10th and for the final installment of their China tour, Camerata Ireland will perform in the Wuhan Qintai Concert Hall in Wuhan.
For more information about the launch of our Chinese market growth initiative, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Here at Randox we are celebrating our creative and talented work force whose fresh perspectives and world experience help Randox operate on such a global scale.
Recently, Charlie Graham, a member of the Randox Food Diagnostics Marketing team told us about her time spent in Ethiopia, volunteering with Volunteer Service overseas (VSO) as part of the International Citizenship Service (ICS) Programme.
Charlie sat down with us to tell us her story.
“I first heard about the ICS program when I was studying at Glasgow Caledonian University. My friend who was also studying Business Management with Marketing alongside me, had pre-warned me about the intense application process, and although it seemed quite daunting at the time, I have always been interested in volunteer work and international travel so I felt up for the challenge.
To be considered for a place on the program I had to firstly complete an online application. Then if you passed this initial stage you were invited to attend a group interview that took place in London. Here I undertook both group and individual assessments throughout the day that tested my knowledge of international development, conflict resolution and team work skills. Surprisingly, I found the interview process extremely rewarding as there was a strong focus on personal development and feedback. It was also interesting to learn about the possible charities that we could be placed with based on our skill sets.
I was excited when I finally received the news eight weeks later that I been matched with VSO and would be placed in a livelihoods development programme in Addis Ababa. To finalise my place I had to raise £800 that would go towards the work that I would be doing when I arrived in Ethiopia. I decided to host a bake sale in the foyer of Caledonian University and also compete a 5KM run to help raise the money.
As a group, we underwent pre-departure training before our flight from London. Once I landed there was a week of in-country training where I met up with the Ethiopian volunteers that I would be working alongside for the next three months. We also met our new families that we would be staying with throughout the duration of the program.
One of the first projects that I worked on was with the Women’s Income Generating Activity Groups. This Government funded program provided both training and guidance for local women who had received a small loan which enabled them to start up their own business ideas. One memory that has stuck with me from working with this group was the power of knowledge. Almaz, the project leader, highlighted that for many of the women learning how to read and being able to sign their own names was truly empowering and allowed them to become financially independent for the first time in their lives. This really brought home to me how valuable the work of ISC is, and how much I as a volunteer was able to impact the lives of these women by teaching them this simple act.
I also organised community action days during my time in Ethiopia. I visited a rehabilitation centre called Mecadonia that housed 170 people aged between 10 – 94 who are bed ridden or elderly. As this centre runs solely on donations we provided meals and clothing for all the residents. I even got a local newspaper to come and write about the centre to help raise awareness and potentially generate new sponsorship for the future.
One of the residents of Mecadonia was called Addis, he was 26 and was in desperate need of a kidney transplant. He had been suffering from kidney problems for five years and his family could only afford to treat him with traditional remedies – nothing had worked. As his health deteriorated he was unable to live with his family as he needed to attend the hospital for weekly dialysis. The evening that I met him, he was trying to fundraise 1 million birr which is the equivalent of £25,000 to secure a kidney transplant. His story really opened my eyes and put into perspective how blessed we are in the UK to have the NHS. After meeting Addis I felt very fortunate for the health of my family and myself.
During the time I spent in Addis Ababa one of the other projects I worked on was capacity building for a charity called Redeem the Generation which focused on the potential of young people and women. I worked on developing and improving their facilities to ensure they were providing a good service for the local community. One of my biggest achievements during the project was organising ICT training programme for women which was attended by 15 women and several community elders.
The three months I spent in Addis Ababa were truly unforgettable: I learnt a new language, experienced a new culture and made life-long friends. What’s more I got the opportunity to make a tangible difference in the lives of others.
Since my trip I have become a real advocate for international development and female entrepreneurship. My experience has not only helped cement the importance of being a team player but also developed my leadership skills – which has really helped me here at Randox.”
We hope Charlie’s story has inspired you to grab new international opportunities that will help improve the wellbeing of others. Randox is committed to revolutionising healthcare through its diverse and multi-talented team.
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!