We Are Randox | Christopher McNally climbs the career leader from Placement to PhD
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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: email@example.com 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.
To find out more tel: +353 7495 22600 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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.”
For further information, please contact our Randox PR team by emailing email@example.com or by phoning 028 9442 2413
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!
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
Follow football? Then you won’t want to miss our exclusive interview with Glentoran player Corey McMullan.
Mathematics placement student Corey recently signed a two year contract with the prestigious Belfast football team and took some time out during the off season to talk to us about his football journey to date.
Read Corey’s story below.
“I’ve always been into sports. When I was younger I played football, tennis, badminton…I had a go at everything really but football has always been my main passion. Some of my best memories are of the Milk Cup which is held up in the north coast. I was captain of the Derry/Londonderry team and we played against some of the biggest teams in the world including CSKA Moscow and the Corinthians from Brazil. The following year I represented Northern Ireland in the Under 18s Centenary Shield. I think getting to play for your nation is a great honour and what it made it even more sweet was the fact that we beat the Republic in Sligo on St Patrick’s Day by scoring a last minute winner.
The first team that I played for was Limivady United and then when I was nineteen I moved to Ballyclare Comrades. I’m originally from Coleraine but I knew that the Ballyclare team had a good reputation and were good at giving young players a chance on the field. I decided to go and play for them – even though it took me an hour to get to training every week.
I played with them for one year and won ‘Player of the Month’ for the NIFL championship in January before I moved to Glentoran. We had just finished playing the Institute FC in a play-off game in a home and away over two legs and I scored the winner. It was after that game that the manager from Glentoran, Gary Haveron, got in touch. He had been watching the play-off and invited me down to The Oval where I signed my two year contract.
My family were buzzing when I told them I had been signed; they take a big interest in my football and my dad has never missed a match. I feel like I’m ready for it now. I’ve been playing since I was 16 and playing for Glentoran is a great opportunity for me.
We haven’t been told who the first fixture is against but I have already played my debut in Detroit. It was for the fiftieth anniversary of the Detroit Cougars, when Glentoran, representing NI, went to America to raise the profile of football there. The Glentoran squad exceeded everyone’s expectations as they were the only semi-professional football team that were brought over at that time and they did really well. Going as part of this team in 2017 was a great experience and it was the first time that I met all the boys on the squad. I started the game which drew in a crowd of 5 thousand people. It was such a big crowd which I didn’t expect. It was a bit surreal.
While we were in the US we went to Third Man Records, a famous records store in Detroit. Usually part of the initiation process when joining a new club involves an embarrassing sing along. So while we were in the record store I sang a rendition of ‘Angels’ by Robbie Williams for all the lads. Personally I’m more of a shower singer but it was a bit of craic and a few other guys got up after me. We also got to meet Scott Benson, a Detroit city councilman, and we went on a tour of the city.
Although I’ve always been a keen football player I’m also lucky to be decent at maths and I have tutored for friends and family. You never know where football can take you so in the meantime I’m currently doing my placement year at Randox, working in the Pricing and Tenders department.
I found the opportunity through the university careers portal and at the time I didn’t know that maths could take you into these areas but I’m finding out that a good maths degree can open a lot of doors. I had heard of Randox before as my uncle had previously worked for them and was involved in the early developments of the Randox Science Park. I wasn’t 100% sure what I was going to pursue at university, I had been interested in languages and science but maths was probably my best subject. It sounds simple but that’s honestly the way it was!
It’s been a great experience – I get along with my team very well and I am enjoying the work. I’ve had real hands-on experience during my placement year and I have found that the further I get into my degree the more options are becoming available. I was thinking of doing a masters in maths and also considering doing a PGCE in maths, but I haven’t quite made my mind up about that one yet.
It can be tough trying to balance work and football but I do manage it fit it all in. This past year I’ve been up from 6.30am to get to work and I usually stay on late because I have training after work in Belfast or Crumlin until 8.30pm. After training, I do my own training and practice my shooting to improve my game.
I support Man United as a team but the players whose careers I’d like to emulate would be Pogba and Steven Gerrard. They both play centre mid field and have a similar game to me. Gerrard is a good athlete – there are a lot of guys who can attack and defend but Gerrard is an all-rounded mid fielder. Currently it’s the off season but the pre-season is fast approaching and I’m looking forward to getting stuck in and seeing where my football career will take me.”
For more We Are Randox stories make sure to follow #WeAreRandox on our social media channels.
If you are interested in joining our global team make sure that you check out the Randox careers website to see what new opportunities we have for you.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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: email@example.com or phone 028 9442 2413
The cream of students employers were last night celebrated at a prestigious awards ceremony at the Belfast Harbour Commissioners Office, to pay recognition to the companies across Northern Ireland that go above and beyond to provide high calibre placement and job opportunities for University students.
With over 155 companies nominated, including PWC and BBC, the competition for the top Placement Employer in Northern Ireland was fierce. We are extremely pleased to announce that Randox came in as one of the top 3 finalists for Ulster University’s Top Placement Employer of the Year, in the ‘nominated by an Ulster University Student’ category.
We caught up with Human Resources Officer, Jolene Jamison, who manages the Placement and Graduate Programme, about what it is that makes the placement experience at Randox so unique.
The Randox Placement Programme, by Human Resources Officer, Jolene Jamison
An in-depth induction
For students the Randox placement journey, from beginning to end, is the perfect transition from university life to the workplace.
When they arrive, the induction process is an important first step in easing students into what is for many, their first professional job. It gives students an overview of the company, the company’s products and services, the ethos of the organisation, the responsibilities of their job role, the placement support on offer and the processes in place for feedback and evaluation. The induction process also gives students an insight into the valuable contribution they can make to Randox and subsequently global health, by showcasing examples of previous placement students’ work.
Students also have the opportunity to meet with other employees and students across the company to develop an understanding of the wider Randox organisation. Each induction is tailored dependent on the role to be fulfilled, in order to help the student to gain an understanding of where they personally fit within the organisation, and so they experience a mix of presentations, seminars, interactive sessions and shadowing a supervisor, to gain insight into the responsibilities of their department.
We also make a preliminary assessment of each student’s capabilities in order to identify training and development needs throughout the duration of their placement.
A Supportive Environment
During placements with us our students are each supported by a dedicated placement co-ordinator and mentor, and meet with them every 3 months for review.
At an initial review students outline the skills gained from their degree, identify their career goals, and agree a plan of action with their mentor. This ensures their skills are utilised during their placement, provides focus and direction and helps them on their chosen career path.
For each upcoming review period, each student’s strengths and any challenges they have encountered are identified, with new objectives set as part of an on-going review. This helps highlight any training and development needs, enabling the placement co-ordinator to implement a training plan.
The placement co-ordinator at Randox is responsible for the pastoral support of each student, and additionally, students are often paired off with a colleague in their department who helps with day-to-day support.
All Randox student placements are financially supported; they receive an employment package similar to full-time employees including paid holidays and flexible working hours.
Helping students discover their goals and objectives
At Randox we are aware of the important contribution we can make in shaping a student’s professional career, which is why placement opportunities are offered to even those in their first year of university studies, through the Randox APEX Programme.
Students are encouraged to discuss their long term career goals with their placement mentor and manager, and are encouraged to pursue their own areas of interest.
Students are often involved in novel research projects, encouraging individual thinking, ideas generation and strong confidence in their ability. These novel research projects encourage placement students to get involved in the core company projects and voice their thoughts and ideas. Working in such an environment can give placement students the opportunity to develop professional expertise in specialist areas.
The opportunity to make a real contribution
This year we were awarded with our Placement Employer Award specifically for the placement we provided for Business Student Meghan Sample.
Meghan made real contributions to Randox during her time here, and was involved in presenting a digital content marketing strategy to Marketing Management. This included strict guidelines to ensure consistency through all graphics, language used and tone of voice. She then implemented this content marketing strategy via mail-campaigns, social platforms, web pages, insightful clinical market articles and whitepapers.
The results of Meghan’s digital content marketing strategy helped her and her team understand her value and the value of her work to the organisation. Online engagement increased by a staggering 1,200%, web traffic by 256.91% and by quarter 3 of 2016, 100% of Randox RX Series sales to distributors and end-users originated from Meghan’s digital marketing campaign.
This not only gave Meghan a focus for her studies upon her return to university but a real understanding of how academic learning is put in to practice in the working world. This project enabled her to find her passion and decide what area of work she wanted to pursue.
Letting students know that they’re doing well
We really value that students require support and encouragement and therefore we celebrate their achievements at a Student Placement Awards Ceremony, in which exceptional students who have worked hard, made outstanding contributions to the company, and excelled in general during their placement year are formally recognised. This furthermore instils pride and self-esteem in the students that will encourage the continuation of their hard work and determination.
Meghan Semple joined Team Randox in September 2015 as a Marketing Placement student from Ulster University Business School, and left Randox as our Business Placement Student of the Year 2015-2016, an accolade that recognised her achievements and contributions to the company.
An exceptional experience
The placement student experience is second to none. During their Randox placement, students are given the opportunity to be involved in ground breaking research and development, often working with pioneering technologies that are exported globally.
Being entrusted to work individually on personal projects of such high calibre means that students can set and achieve impressive goals, instilling a strong sense of professional pride early in each student’s career.
Being given their own tasks and responsibilities integrates students into the Randox workforce, performing duties of equal importance to graduate, part-time, full-time, new, and long-serving members of staff alike.
For the duration of their placements, placement students are as involved in the running of Randox as any other member of staff and their contributions make a real difference.
Students are offered exposure to staff at varying levels and are involved in presentations to Management. They are offered the same opportunities as any other member of their team, as the fresh ideas and perspectives of Ulster University students are hugely beneficial and valued by Randox. Many Randox students are offered full-time jobs upon completion of their degree, which shows the importance of Randox placements as a springboard into exciting and enjoyable careers.”
For more information about the Impact Excellence Awards, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
This week we were invited to chat with Glenny Crymble, who works in the purchasing and finance department here in Randox headquarters in Crumlin. Glenny, who came to us last year as a placement student, is now employed by Randox on a part time basis as she works towards her final year studying business studies at Ulster University.
“I first joined Randox in September 2015 when I was looking for a placement opportunity as part of my degree. I heard of Randox through my University and I was able to apply through our careers’ website. It was quite hard to find a placement that was related to what I was studying so I was thrilled when I got an interview for Randox. It’s rare to get such a great opportunity to work within an international company, especially within the diagnostics industry. I know that a lot of my friends were unable to secure a placement which is such a shame because it really gives you a great insight into the working world and is a wonderful opportunity to learn and develop.
“I was a little nervous when I started because it was all quite new to me but I settled in pretty soon. I was originally supposed to be working in the logistics department but I was moved to purchasing which I was really pleased with as this is really where my interests lie. Before I started I was given some training so I was comfortable with what was expected of me. On a day to day basis I was sourcing suppliers, placing orders, putting on invoices, paying invoices, doing stocktakes, forming quotations and responding to email queries and questions.
“I know within some placement opportunities you are mainly shadowing people, but at Randox it’s been really hands on which I have loved and you really get the experience. There is also the opportunity to travel if that interests you. I was offered the opportunity to do a little work in Manchester and other colleagues worked at times in Poland, Korea, India and the USA.
“Purchasing was quite a fast paced environment to be working in especially with the opening of the new state-of-the-art Randox Science Park in the former Massereene Barracks. There were floods of orders coming in from the labs which involved a lot of hard work and great teamwork but it was such a good experience and I really learnt a lot from the people around me. Everybody was really helpful and friendly from the moment I started.
“Now I’m working in the finance department. There is a great atmosphere – everyone gets along with one another and we all have a good sense of humour. It’s an open plan office with lots of windows the whole way around so when I first started they told me they call it the fish bowl office as everyone looks in at us which was quite funny. I am really enjoying it so far and now that I have had experience working in the two different departments I know I prefer the finance side of things. I think it get it from my dad as he’s an accountant and a lot of my family work in finance. My main tasks include working on financial statements, evaluating assets and grant work which involves putting in claims for R&D projects.
“Currently I’m deciding whether or not I want to undertake my accountancy exams to become a chartered accountant. The team have really encouraged me to do so as they have such high aspirations for me so I feel more confident in myself and my manager helped me a lot with my placement report.
“I was delighted when Randox asked me to stay on a part-time basis as an Account Executive after my placement year was up- it was a great surprise. I work two days a week now and Randox are really flexible if there is a day that I can’t work due to university commitments.
“I think my placement year helped confirm that I prefer working in finance and helped me pick my optional modules for final year. I picked accountancy modules including financial sector accountancy and total quality management because I knew from working at Randox that I would enjoy these the most. I think if I hadn’t have got a placement I would have been unsure which avenue of work to go down. My placement also really helped me with my dissertation in terms of financial terminology, balance sheets and financial statements. It was based on the Tesco accountancy scandal which was very interesting.
“I would definitely recommend Randox to other placement students, it’s a great place to work. They also have a graduate program for people who have only just graduated. It is rotational, so if like me, you are unsure which avenue you want to pursue, it allows you to work within the different departments to see which you enjoy the most.
“Each year they hold an awards ceremony for placement students, with the top three placement students from each discipline including science, engineering and business being rewarded for their outstanding contributions. I was lucky enough to be one of the nominees last year. It’s great that the company recognises the work that placement students do and you feel a sense of pride working for Randox.
“Once I graduate in June I am going to continue to work with Randox full time so I am excited to start my career. It’s been a great learning curve, I feel that I have become more confident and I hope that I can continue to learn and develop with Randox throughout my career.”
If you are interested in joining our global team make sure that you check out Randox careers website to see what new opportunities we have for you.
At Randox we take pride in the high calibre of placement students we have as part of our team.
Not only do our students develop their business knowledge and acumen while they work here, they also grow personally during their year with us.
The acquisition of skills including time management, problem-solving and professional conduct goes hand-in-hand with the development of confidence, self-esteem and assertiveness.
And just as our students benefit from their times spent with us, so too do we as a modern and innovative healthcare company benefit from the fresh perspectives and forward-thinking ideas our students bring to Randox.
These students make real and valued contributions to our global organisation, and no one seems to demonstrate this better than our Business Placement Student of the Year 2015-2016, Meghan Semple.
Meghan joined Team Randox in September 2015 as a Marketing Placement Student from Ulster University Business School.
Fast forward just over a year, and Meghan has received a Highly Commended Marketing Award from The Ulster University Business School, at the Excellence in Placement Awards, as recognition of the contributions she has made to Randox!
Speaking at the Excellence in Placement Awards, she explained why.
“When I joined Randox last year I was appointed a Marketing role in the RX Series, which are Randox’s range of clinical chemistry analysers.
“For the first few weeks in my new role I spent time getting to know the brand, and making sure to gain an in-depth understanding of its key communication channels and messages.
“The RX Series was already present online in the form of a website, social media platforms, and through various mail campaigns. However, I identified the company’s potential for higher engagement and better recognition as a leading technology brand, by conducting some competitor analysis and thoroughly researching our own perception amongst our target audience.
“This resulted in an opportunity to present a content marketing strategy to Marketing Management. This included strict guidelines to ensure consistency through all graphics, language used and tone of voice. I also managed the implementation of this content marketing strategy via mail-campaigns, social platforms, web pages, insightful clinical market articles and whitepapers.
“In November 2015 my strategy was implemented, increasing online engagement by a staggering 1,200%. We also increased our web traffic by 256.91%. By quarter 3 of 2016, 100% of RX sales to distributors and end-users came from my Digital Marketing campaign.
“My work within the RX Series holistically changed the face of the brand, and for my efforts I was awarded the Pinnacle Business Placement Student of the Year award from Randox.”
Eamon Lenehan, Global Marketing Manager from Randox, commented;
“The effect Meghan had on the RX Series business is extremely impressive given the short time she was with us. Her input in to our online presence cannot be underestimated and her dedication to increasing our band awareness has had a considerable impact on the Randox brand.
Our digital presence has never been stronger, and that is thanks to Meghan. Her creation of creative and original content as well as her collaboration across all channels has truly injected a new lease of life in to the RX Series and subsequently in to the Randox brand as a whole.”
We are extremely grateful to Meghan for all her hard work during her placement year at Randox and are equally proud of her achievements at the Ulster University Business School Excellence in Placement Awards.
The positive changes seen throughout the company are testament to the value of student placements and we are proud to be a key student employer within Northern Ireland. In fact, this year, we had our largest ever intake on our placement and graduate programmes, with 71 new team members having started work with us in September.
And it’s easy to see why so many students and graduates choose to come to Randox.
“There is only so much you can learn within the walls of your university classroom. What’s most important is putting that knowledge and learning in to practice in a work environment. When I started Randox I had 2 years of university studies under my belt, but I still hadn’t decided what area of marketing I wanted to go into.
“From working in Randox I have found my passion. The team there were so supportive – their trust and encouragement is what enabled me to get so involved in the company’s digital marketing activities.
“With their guidance I was truly able to make a huge impact within the RX Series brand and I felt as much a part of the team as the full-time members of staff.
“I would highly recommend taking a placement year with Randox. There is no better way to learn how a global organisation operates than to work in one, and I am confident that my time there will help me secure a full-time job when I graduate. If I could do my year with Randox all over again, then I would!”
Congratulations Meghan, we’re delighted to have been able to join you at your awards ceremony yesterday!
For more information about the Excellence in Placement Awards, or about placement opportunities at Randox, please contact email@example.com
Make sure to follow Randox on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to stay up-to-date with the hashtag #WeAreRandox for more stories about the amazing team we have here!
Pictured at the Ulster University Business School Excellence in Placement Awards are;
(L-R) Randox Global Marketing Manager Eamon Lenehan, Randox Business Placement Student of the Year Meghan Semple and Randox Human Resources Officer Jolene Jamison.