We Are Randox | Biosciences Placement Student Kathryn Wilson
For our 2018/19 placement students, their year with Randox is almost at an end.
To mark their time with us and wish them the best of luck with their future studies, we took the opportunity to speak with one of our placement students in the sales team, to give us an insight of her experience during a Randox placement year.
Meet Kathryn Wilson, Business Placement Sales Executive for Randox Biosciences.
Hi Kathryn, can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I am a 21-year-old student studying Bsc Equine and Veterinary Bioscience at Aberystwyth University in Wales. In September 2018 I began working in the Biosciences division of Randox Laboratories, specifically working on the release of new molecular technologies for clinical diagnostics. As part of a newly formed sales team, my focus is on the diagnostics market in Ireland.
Why did you want to forge a career in sales?
Whilst studying my bio-veterinary degree my only focus had been on science, so I was keen to broaden my horizons and explore opportunities in a business role for a company involved in the life-sciences industry. Initially, I was tentative of a role in sales, but I knew it would be a good way to develop a broad knowledge of business and the industry, and develop new skills.
Why did you decide to take your placement year with Randox?
Randox was a perfect fit for me, as a global scientific company based in Northern Ireland. I was looking for a placement that would allow me to spend time at home before returning to Wales for university.
I was intrigued by their range of products and diverse market presence in industries such as pharmaceuticals, biotech, research and healthcare. It seemed like a good company to gain an insight into new research in a variety of career sectors.
Describe a typical day as a Business Placement Sales Executive.
My role has evolved as we have moved through the different stages of product development throughout the year. Initially, when I first joined the team, we were in the planning stage. This involved mapping potential contacts and key sites in Ireland, and developing a sales strategy.
As this is a new venture for Randox the role also involved educating the market on our technology and creating awareness in all potential points of sale. This educational aspect of my job involved regular trips and meetings across Ireland, and frequent UK team meetings to discuss market feedback and problem solve. It’s important that we have been able to adapt our sales strategy for the specific healthcare areas -from public to private and point-of-care to large laboratories. Coming into the final month of my placement we are now prepared for product release with confirmed validation studies and initial placements, and significant interest across Ireland.
What are some examples of the tasks and responsibilities of your role?
There has been a range of ongoing tasks throughout the year to facilitate a busy and growing division. I was given the responsibility of forecasting, logging orders and organising meetings, and have been involved in internal decision-making processes alongside management. I have also helped to manage the university contracts in Ireland for our lab equipment, reagents and outsourcing some testing for specific studies.
Before I finish my placement I’m researching the market for upcoming arrays for launch next year, and planning a final trip in Ireland.
What was the most exciting part of your placement with Randox Biosciences?
The opportunity to travel around Ireland and London has been excellent. To date I have participated in over 10 conferences on behalf of Randox. Highlights for me have been corporate hospitality with potential customers at the Randox Health Grand National, and presenting at the first Infectious Disease Forum for Randox, in front of representatives from microbiology sites across Ireland.
I was also trusted to conduct a trip on my own around Donegal and Sligo, coupled with a visit to our Donegal R&D site, Randox Teoranta in Dungloe, to learn about future veterinary arrays in development.
It has been a privilege to be able to work with such a diverse range of people – from the scientists developing the products, to the sales team specialising in markets across the globe. There are so many different career paths here at Randox.
What has been the most challenging aspect of your time at Randox Biosciences?
I have been challenged to quickly adapt to the business environment and gain an in-depth understanding of the wide range of products. I have been pushed outside my comfort zone to discuss with customers, present to the team and take responsibility of the day-to-day tasks.
Knowing the new molecular diagnostics range, infectious disease panels, and competitors in the market well enough to be confident in front of potential customers on my own, has also been a challenge. Hard work at Randox is acknowledged however, and I was awarded runner-up Business Student of the Year.
What is the best thing about Randox and would you recommend this placement to other students?
The best thing about a placement with Randox is that you will be given as many opportunities as you are willing to take. They are very supportive and will push you as much as any other member of the team.
As a non-business student this year has given me a wealth of insight into the workings of a global company, as well as furthering my scientific knowledge and interests in many aspects of the industry.
I would recommend a Randox placement for students who are keen to gain as much experience as possible in a global company focused on new and exciting health research.
What are your goals for the future?
My experience at Randox has given me an excellent insight into the world of business in the biosciences industry, and has prepared me well to build a career in this exciting industry. I think that the experience gained through Randox will be applicable to many life sciences sectors which I would like to explore further.
Although I am not sure what the future may hold, in the shorter term I am looking forward to returning to finish my final year at Aberystwyth.
For more information about Randox Biosciences and what career opportunities we offer please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
A Queen’s University Belfast student has won the top spot in global healthcare diagnostics company Randox Laboratories’ annual Student Placement Awards.
Pearce Allingham from Andersonstown, who is studying Medicinal Chemistry, was not only placed first in the Science category but was also crowned Best Overall Placement Student.
Since September 2018, Pearce had been working alongside the scientific team in the New Technology Evaluation department, taking part in the development of Randox’s newest and most classified innovations.
Speaking at the awards ceremony at Randox Laboratories HQ in Crumlin on Friday 14th June 2019, Pearce commented,
“I’m so pleased to have won this award. I couldn’t recommend a placement at Randox highly enough and it has allowed me to see what I’m capable of when I apply myself to a field I’m passionate about. From day one I was made to feel like a scientist within the team – not just a placement student – and it’s amazing that some of my contributions are helping to advance Randox’s diagnostic capabilities further. I look forward to applying my new knowledge and skills in final year and to forging a career in research – maybe even back here at Randox.”
Randox Laboratories welcomes over 60 placement students through its doors each year across Science, Engineering and Business-related disciplines, including Sales and Marketing. The company is keen to continue to maintain its reputation as a key placement provider in Northern Ireland, as explained by Linda Magee, Operations Director at Randox Laboratories.
“We host many high calibre placement students at Randox each year and the Randox Placement Awards is the pinnacle in highlighting the fantastic contribution that these students make. Pearce, in particular, impressed us with his work ethic and initiative in one of Randox’s most cutting-edge R&D teams. Gaining industry experience is vital for young people and that is why we pride ourselves on the range of placement opportunities we provide here, especially through the Randox APEX programme which offers students a paid summer placement between first and second year, a paid placement year in third year and, finally, a graduate position on completion of their degree with a 2:1 classification. It really is the complete career package for any aspiring student.”
David Boyd, a QUB Engineering student from Belfast, won in the Engineering category of the Randox Placement Awards while Andrew Wilson, an Ulster University student from Bangor, was placed first in the Business category.
David Boyd, Engineering Placement Award winner, commented,
“As part of the Engineering team, the opportunities I’ve been given here have been second-to-none and I look forward to completing my Master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering. I used to think I would go on to work in the energy sector with renewables and nuclear but my time in Randox has shown me a different industry which I would love to return to.”
Andrew Wilson, Business Placement Award winner, also said,
“Being given the same responsibilities as the rest of your colleagues is a great way to learn quickly as you get immersed in live projects and real business. One of the most interesting aspects for me was the opportunity to travel to Hamburg and Chicago for customer visits and conferences. Dealing with different departments such as manufacturing, finance and logistics, along with my own sales and marketing team, has given me an insight in to the workings of an international company which has been an invaluable experience.”
Randox Placement Awards 2019 results
1 Andrew Wilson (Marketing, Randox Food Diagnostics), an Ulster University student from Bangor
2 Kathryn Wilson (Sales, Randox Biosciences), an Aberystwyth University student from Larne
3 Adam Donnelly – (Marketing, Randox Corporate), an Ulster University student from Bellaghy
1 Pearce Allingham (Chemistry), a Queen’s University Belfast student from Andersonstown
2 Rachel McCloy (Biotechnology), a Liverpool John Moore’s University student from Ballymena
3 Thomas Smith-Zaitlik (Molecular), a Nottingham Trent University student from Henley-on-Thames.
1 David Boyd (Engineering Design, Mechanical), a Queen’s University Belfast student from Belfast
2 Reuben Cotton (Engineering Design, Mechanical), an Ulster University student from Lisburn
3 Niall Devlin (Engineering Design, Software)
Overall Randox Placement Awards winner: Pearce Allingham
For further information please contact the Randox PR team by emailing email@example.com or phoning 028 9442 2413
Randox is a placement-friendly business and we’re proud to be a top employer when it comes to students searching for their perfect placement opportunity before final year. Ulster University Business Studies student Lauren Todd joined the Randox sales team in September 2017 as a placement student, finishing with us in June 2018.
We were delighted to attend a ceremony at Ulster University’s Jordanstown campus last week where Lauren was shortlisted for a UU Placement Award. We caught up with her after the ceremony;
Lauren, congratulations on your award! Can you tell us about your university and career path to date?
During my first two years of university, I worked in retail as a cash office supervisor before leaving in the summer of 2017 to start into my placement year at Randox. I am now in my final year at UUJ and working as a private tutor to A-Level Business Studies students.
Why Randox and how did you find your placement year?
Randox is a globally recognised company with a very close links with Ulster University, and I wanted to complete my placement year with a company that would help me develop my skills outside of the classroom. I thoroughly enjoyed my placement year at Randox and it has allowed me to improve my ‘soft’ skills such as communication, teamwork and problem solving.
What was a typical day like for you at Randox?
A typical day at Randox consisted of daily communication with the global sales team, continual analysis of CRM data and the teams sales figures, compiling reports and providing feedback to the team.
How are you finding being back in university for final year?
Final year has been tough, but it’s scary that we only have six weeks left! My placement year at Randox has enabled me to become a more confident individual, and this has helped with final year projects such as group tasks and class presentations.
What was the award that you were presented with today and how are you feeling about it?
I was commended in the Excellence in Employability Awards from the Ulster University Business School. I am proud to have been shortlisted for this award as Randox have allowed me to develop my skills and helped me to work to my full potential. It feels amazing to gain this recognition from Ulster and that my contribution to the company has been beneficial.
What are your plans for after you leave university?
After graduation, I am looking forward to a few weeks off – and a much-needed two week holiday to Portugal – before starting into a full time graduate job.
To find out more about placement opportunities with Randox, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
A senior manager at global healthcare diagnostics company Randox Laboratories has been recognised by Queen’s University Management School with a prestigious award.
Presented with the accolade at the Management School Placement Awards Event 2018, Financial Controller Mary McAllister was nominated by QUB student Bronagh McCarron who had completed her placement year at Randox in the company’s finance office.
Mary McAllister, Senior Financial Controller at Randox Laboratories, and recipient of the QUB Management School Mentor Recognition Award, commented;
“As an incredibly hard-working, diligent and enthusiastic placement student, Bronagh was a valued member of the Randox Finance Team. I’m delighted therefore, that this Mentor Recognition Award represents that equally, Bronagh really valued her time with us at Randox. With extensive training, support, trust and encouragement, we’re proud to be playing a significant part in the development of the next generation of QUB graduates.”
The Mentor Recognition Award seeks to acknowledge individuals within QUB’s placement employer partners who establish an organised, supportive and beneficial placement environment, which engages, motivates and inspires students during their time in industry.
Bronagh McCarron, Randox Finance Placement and Student at QUB Management School said;
“Throughout my placement year Mary was always incredibly approachable for any problems or queries I had. Asking questions was always encouraged and I never felt like I couldn’t speak up to seek guidance on any of the tasks I had within the Randox Finance department. It’s thanks to Mary and all of my Randox colleagues that I enjoyed my placement year so much and now have more faith in my abilities as I return to university for my final year of studies.”
The Queen’s Management School Placement Programme has been running for more than 25 years, with the aim of empowering students to develop their employability skills. Students are encouraged to identify their career aspirations, reflect on their skills, and find areas of development in order to meet the needs of an ever competitive graduate labour market.
“During my time with the Accounts team at Randox, I worked on both the Accounts Receivable for our headquarters office, and on the Accounts Payable for our Randox Teoranta site in Dungloe, Donegal. This variety of work gave me plenty of exposure to the different aspects of Accounts Management. I was involved in communication with both customers and suppliers from a wide range of companies, from which no one query was the same. It has massively increased my confidence working in a business environment.”
Dr. Peter FitzGerald, Founder and Managing Director of Randox Laboratories, commented;
“At Randox we are great advocates of placement during a student’s time in education. It gives Randox the opportunity to work with ambitious and bright young people from across Northern Ireland and in turn we can help to nurture their potential and provide them with industry experience. I’m very proud therefore that Mary’s dedication and commitment to the placement students placed in her care has been formally recognised by Queen’s University Belfast and on behalf of everyone at Randox would like to pass on our congratulations for being awarded this impressive prize.”
For further information about the QUB Management School Placement Awards please contact Randox PR by emailing email@example.com
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
The name Christopher McNally may be one that you already recognise. In 2016 he earned 1st place in the Science category of the Randox Pinnacle Placement Awards, having caught the attention of Senior Management for his pioneering work developing a new diagnostic for pancreatic cancer.
Fast-forward two years and Christopher is now back at Randox as a PhD student, conducting research in prostate cancer as part of the recently-announced Randox-Ulster University PhD Academy.
We sat down with Chris to hear all about his revolutionary prostate cancer project, what motivated him to sign up to our PhD Academy and what it’s like to be back in the place where his scientific career began.
Here’s Chris’ story.
I came into Randox when I was just 19 years old for my third year at university as part of the company’s year-long placement programme. It was a great way to truly experience a working laboratory outside of the classroom and really cemented my desire to work in biomedical science.
I was lucky enough to be placed in the company’s Donegal branch, Randox Teoranta, which is close to where I grew up in Gartan, and offered me the opportunity to carry out ground-breaking medical research surrounded by my home of Donegal.
I would highly recommend the opportunity to perform an industrial placement to anyone. It helps you to prepare for what comes after university, develops your skills in the area in which you are interested, and refines your laboratory techniques. I was delighted to hear I won in the Science Category of the Randox Pinnacle Placement Awards during my time there as well, and this really inspired a confidence in me that I had become a talented scientist even before I graduated.
When I completed my fourth year of studies at Ulster University, I graduated with a degree in Biomedical Science and Professional Practice, and returned to work for Randox. The traits and qualities I learned during my placement had subsequently brought me to post-graduate employment, and I was thrilled. I was lucky enough to be able to walk straight back into the lab knowing exactly what to do and how to do it.
Despite becoming employed within Randox straight out of university however, I had this feeling that I was not finished with regards to academic study. I knew I wanted to do more, to perform more research. So, when I heard about the Randox-Ulster University PhD Academy I really was intrigued. It was the perfect platform to further my studies and be able to give more to the scientific community.
When choosing the area of research for my PhD I was keen to hear more about a collaborative prostate cancer project led by two of Northern Ireland’s leading cancer researchers Dr Mark Ruddock (Randox) and Dr Declan McKenna (Ulster University). From my time at university and my time spent at Randox, I thought I could bring my experience and knowledge in cancer research into this project, so I thought, let’s go for it.
Ultimately, the project involves looking at prostate cancer patients as well as patients who have other non-serious prostate conditions, and recognising any potential differences in the two. We can then develop a clinical diagnostic test that can identify the men at the highest risk of prostate cancer and stratify the patients accordingly.
The earlier we can do this, the quicker a patient can be treated, or not treated as the case may be. Overdiagnosis is a significant problem in prostate cancer care and many men, who do not have prostate cancer, but present with prostate cancer-like symptoms, unfortunately go through invasive, uncomfortable and most importantly, unnecessary procedures.
This work therefore has real potential to improve the management of prostate cancer, which is currently the most common cancer in males within the UK. It’s a very rewarding field to be working in and I thoroughly enjoy the work I’m doing knowing that it will have a real-life impact on many men. I’m very proud to be able to say that my PhD research will really make a difference and I now know for certain that I will continue working in cancer research after my project is complete.
Knowing that I’m helping to improve the quality of patient’s lives brings a great deal of satisfaction that few jobs can replicate and I’m excited to see what the next three years will bring.
We’re very proud of Christopher and the amazing work he is doing in prostate cancer research, and are delighted that he has made the decision to join the Randox-Ulster University PhD Academy.
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.
For current vacancies in our team, visit careers.randox.com
To find out more about the Randox-Ulster University PhD Academy, please email email@example.com
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
Here at Randox, we’re proud of the talented and innovative teams we have at all our sites. One of our talented engineers at Randox Teoranta recently won a prize for his final year university project in collaboration with Randox. John Fitzgerald, an Electronic Design Engineer, was presented with two awards from Ulster University on Thursday 7th December 2017 – the Civica Prize for excellence in his final project and the Institute of Engineering Technology Prize for achieving the highest grades in his class.
We caught up with John to hear all about it;
A very well done on your awards, John! Tell us about your final project for which you won the Civica Prize.
Firstly it is important to note that my final year project was conducted in conjunction with Randox Teoranta. Without the support, resources and encouragement from the exceptional Research & Development Engineering team here in Dungloe, my project would not have been such a success.
My final year project centred on the design of an industry-standard compact dry bath incubator, designed for the heating and cooling of small volume samples. With a simple and compact design, broad and precise temperature range, the intended use of the product was for bench-top laboratory incubations. The design also incorporated innovative, yet modest, capacitive touch pad controls and a digital display to provide confident temperature selection and accuracy.
This design project required design capabilities in three core engineering disciplines, electronic, embedded and mechanical engineering.
Were you surprised to learn you’d won an award for the project?
Yes, definitely! I was surprised when I received an email at the end of November, informing me that I was to receive the award. I can recall the quality of projects that were on show so this was a complete surprise to me.
I invested a great effort in this project and I’m proud of the personal and academic goals I’ve attained, however, the works achieved would not have been possible without the generous investment of advice from various different sources. I wish to take this opportunity to express my genuine appreciation and thanks to them all.
Thank you to Randox – the industrial knowledge and resources they provided for this wrk added significantly to the quality and relevance of my project to the real world. A special word of thanks, too, should also be afforded to my final year supervisor in Ulster University for the consistent academic support he delivered throughout the course of this MEng final year project.
Did you always want to be an engineer?
To be perfectly honest, the answer to this question is no. I was very uncertain for a long time what career I wanted to pursue as a secondary school student. I was never really exposed to the engineering profession and the wide variety of career paths it can lead to so engineering wasn’t something I immediately thought of when I was thinking of careers I would enjoy.
My father has a lot to answer for though – he was a tool-maker by trade and he instilled a significant interest in engineering and basic electronics in me, and is probably one of the primary reasons I felt a career in electronic engineering was the correct path for me. I decided to apply for my university placement year at Randox Teoranta in the Electronic Engineering team.
After just a few months in to my placement at Randox Teoranta, I knew I had made the correct career choice. I was Randox Teoranta R&D Engineering’s first university placement student, and that I could live at home in Donegal for the year and still receive a first class industrial experience.
How did you find your placement year at Randox?
My placement experience at Randox Teoranta was first class. I was afforded every opportunity to develop and grow my engineering skills. As my competency grew, so did my responsibilities and the complexity of jobs afforded to me.
The team of engineers in Randox Teoranta are exceptional professionals and provided excellent guidance to me as a young student engineer. The work I was tasked with was challenging and relevant and a considerable amount of the work I contributed to, remains in some form in the final Misano analyser that is manufactured today in Dungloe.
I cannot stress enough how important my placement year at Randox Teoranta was for me upon returning for my final two years of university. It provided me with a clear career path and I discovered a passion for Printed Circuit Board Design that I would not have been exposed to, if it were not for this placement.
I was extremely grateful to be offered a graduate position during my placement year on completion of my degree. This security made my final two years at university much more comfortable and also allowed me to discuss with the company the potential to complete my final year project in conjunction with Randox Teoranta. The opportunity to continue my learning and professional development as part of such a progressive and diverse engineering environment was an easy decision to make. As an added bonus, I am able to live at home, in the most beautiful part of the country and engage in an extremely rewarding and challenging profession in my field of study all at the same time. I consider myself very fortunate.
Tell us what a typical day is like in your role as Electronic Engineer.
One of the reasons I enjoy being an Electronic Engineer with Randox Teoranta to such a high degree, is the same reason that makes this question quite difficult to answer.
It is hard to categorise a typical day in my role as an Electronic Engineer in Randox Teoranta. I spend my time on a wide variety of duties or tasks depending on the design needs of the engineering team. I could be spending my time designing circuit schematics for new PCB designs, I could be producing the printed circuit board layout of designed circuit schematics, I could be testing new sensors, electronic parts or manufactured PCB’s to verify their performance, I could be engaging in verification and validation work for a new analyser, I could be engaging in the formation of critical design reports, the list can go on and on.
As the cliché goes, “every day is different”, something which is definitely applicable in this scenario.
What advice would you give to young people considering visiting the Randox Teoranta open day on Fri 22nd December?
I would encourage any young person with a remote interest in a career in Science or Engineering to attend the open day on Fri 22nd December. I believe they will be surprised as to the wide variety of professions and opportunities available at their doorstep.
A conversation with an experienced professional could ignite a spark which could provide clarity as to what they would like to pursue in further education, and in turn professionally. This is an opportunity I wish I was afforded as a young person growing up in rural Donegal, and I consider it an opportunity not to be missed for young people with a genuine interest in these exciting professional fields.
From all the staff at Randox, congratulations to John on this fantastic achievement. We look forward to seeing the pioneering engineering work you will continue to be part of in the future.
The Randox Teoranta Open Morning is on Friday 22nd December 2017 from 10am – 2pm at Randox Teoranta, Meenmore, Dungloe, Co. Donegal.
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Pictured with John Fitzgerald (centre) is Dr. Robert McMurray, course director for MEng Engineering at Ulster University (left), and Angela Canavan, Managing Director of Civica who was present to award the Civica prize (right).
On Wednesday 15th November, Randox hosted a site visit at its state-of-the-art Randox Science Park in Antrim for Open University (OU) students who are studying a range of subjects including Business, Science, Engineering and Software Development.
Randox is a global leader in healthcare diagnostics, pioneering innovative technologies with major focus in research and development. Their products and services are used in hospitals, clinical, research and molecular laboratories, food testing, forensic toxicology, life sciences, and veterinary laboratories worldwide.
The visit allowed the students the opportunity to experience real life lab experiments in the Research and Development department and the Design Engineering department. They also had the opportunity to tour the different IT departments and see how the operations of a large company work.
Sarah Nicol who is studying for a BSc (Honours) in Computing and IT said:
“It was interesting to hear about the full scope of work taking place within the Randox Science Park and the level of investment confirms that there is a bright future here as an employee. The training and opportunities available were much wider than I had realised.”
Joanne King who is studying for a BSc (Honours) in Health Sciences said:
“I found the visit interesting and informative. I enjoyed meeting and hearing from the current Open University students and what they were getting involved with during their placements at Randox. I certainly found the experience motivating to complete my course as opportunities may be possible with Randox.”
The students were then able to hear from two OU students who are currently on a placement with Randox: Jenny Hope who is studying BSc (Hons) in Health Sciences and Aurelija Gainaite who is studying BSc (Hons) in Natural Sciences. They are both on a one-year placement with Randox and shared with the students the importance of gaining relevant work experience in a chosen field and the potential opportunities it can lead to.
Jolene Carey, Human Resource Officer from Randox said:
“We were delighted to host The Open University students at Randox – this was a great opportunity for students to gain a valuable insight into the range of different departments within the company and to experience how they work together. We were delighted that OU students Jenny and Aurelija were able to talk directly to their fellow students and explain the benefits of gaining a placement opportunity. We look forward to continuing to develop our relationship with The Open University.”
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This week marks the end of the 2016/17 academic year for our Randox Placement Students. As we say goodbye and wish them luck for the future, we reflect on the year they have spent with us.
Jenna Ireland, a Business Management student from Ulster University, finishes her year-long placement tomorrow, Friday 11th August, before embarking on her final year of studies.
We sat down for a chat with Jenna to find out how she has found the placement experience, and what she wants to let students know about what it’s like to do a placement year with Randox.
This is what Jenna had to say:
I found out about the Randox Placement programme through our University Career Centre, as Randox has very close links with Ulster University.
I liked the sound of a company with such vast experience and a truly global presence. The company has a fantastic reputation across Northern Ireland as a leading business and employer so I thought, where better to spend my placement year?
The international network at Randox was truly apparent as soon as I began to work here. My colleagues in the team in which I was placed, which is the Sales Team for a number of specific regions including India, were so welcoming and supportive in spite of the extremely high-level careers they are in. They made time for me and went out of their way to help me to settle into my role and life at Randox even though they are so busy managing the sales for so many countries!
I began my time at Randox with a full two weeks of training to ease me into what has been my first full-time job. This gave me an overview of the company, the products and services I would be selling, the Randox ethos, the responsibilities of my job role, and the format of the placement programme.
I have also received training throughout the year on newly launched products to ensure total understanding of the technologies with which we are working. I wanted to gain a really in-depth knowledge of our Randox products so I also took it upon myself to complete online training modules.
The role itself that I have had during my time here at Randox is Sales Support Executive. This has involved assisting our team with research tasks as well as introducing new mechanisms to be used by our team after I leave. I have had the opportunity to really make my mark on the sales systems in place, by working on important projects including our organisational charts and our sales report, which is presented to Senior Management. I’ve also been involved in distributor relationship management, to make sure we always have the best partners in place for Randox.
I really feel like I’ve learnt a lot during my time here. I know that for some students in other organisations, during their placements they are unfortunately encumbered with the boring administrative tasks that more senior members of the team try to avoid, but it hasn’t been like that for me at all. The responsibilities with which my manager Rebekah has entrusted me have given me a real insight into the role of a salesperson in a very dynamic and fast-paced environment. I’ve loved meeting and interacting with members of our global team, as well as our distributors and customers.
My favourite moments during my time here have definitely been attending our Global Sales and Distributor Conferences. Spending time with a wealth of Randox salespeople from around the world meant that I could lean on their advice and experience to learn what it means to be a good sales person. I was able to talk to them about how to manage staff, about their tactics for increasing sales, and generally just get an overview of their roles and responsibilities. It’s great to hear from our global sales staff about their country, their culture, their language. There are such fantastic opportunities to travel at Randox which makes a sales job here so exciting.
Throughout my year at Randox I have had to submit two four-month reports to university, the first in October and the second in March, to assess and evaluate my placement. My tutor also came out to Randox to have a face-to-face meeting with my manager and me to discuss how I have been getting on, and my Randox mentor met with me regularly throughout the year to make sure I had all the support I required.
At the end of my placement I then submitted a placement portfolio including a 5000-word report on my time at Randox. I had to explain everything that I had learnt here and how I put into practice the skills and knowledge I had gained from university.
University is a fantastic stepping-stone into the working world, but you truly start to learn what it means to have a career when you experience the industry you want to work in for yourself. My final report for university was really useful because it enabled me to look back on my time here and reflect on what a fantastic experience it has been.
Not only have I grown in confidence, in my abilities and in my vocational development (simple things like writing professional emails and answering the phone in a polite and engaging way!) but I have also made some great friends.
Randox is such a friendly place and the team I have working beside me has been part of the reason I have enjoyed my time here so immensely. We get on really well together and quite often we go out together for lunch on a Friday as an end-of-week treat.
As I finish up my time here (I can’t believe it’s been a year already!) I really want to take the opportunity to thank everyone at Randox for all their support over the year, and of course to thank my sales team for teaching me so much.
To my Line Manager Rebekah Tougher and to my Global Manager Paul Turnbull in particular I want to say a massive thank you for being such fantastic role models and for truly taking me under your wing and helping me flourish.
The first step in my Business Management career has been amazing and it’s thanks to the amazing team at Randox.
Now time to get my head back into the books for my final year of uni! Wish me luck!
We wish Jenna and her fellow placement students all the best as they head back to university. We might even see them return in the future as Randox graduates!
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For current vacancies in our team, visit careers.randox.com