We Are Randox | Northern Ireland Apprenticeship Week with Monique Uprichard
Did you know that it’s Northern Ireland Apprenticeship Week 2020?
The new initiative from the Department for the Economy offers an opportunity through a dedicated week of events and promotional activity to demonstrate how apprenticeships work for individuals, businesses, communities and the wider economy.
To mark the week we spoke to one of our Randox apprentices, Monique Uprichard, to find out more about her role, what she enjoys about the apprenticeship, and her advice for young people considering a career in science.
Name: Monique Uprichard
Job Title: Science Apprentice
Department: Quality Control Serum Production
Monique, can you describe a typical working day?
“The apprentice roles at Randox are really hands-on, so each day I have the opportunity to work on a wide range of projects and manage important laboratory processes. I get to use the Randox analysers that conduct our health tests – for example for diabetes and cholesterol – and run maintenance on them every day. This involves checking they have the right amount of testing chemicals, filling in logbooks which detail what tests have been run, and then processing and analysing the results.”
What has been your educational career path to this post?
“I have always had an interest in science, studying both Chemistry and Biology at GCSE and A-level at Bloomfield Collegiate School. I enjoyed the practical aspect of these subjects, which was the main reason I applied for the Higher-Level Apprenticeship with Southern Regional College and Randox. I also get paid and have no student debts to worry about, which was a massive selling point!”
What are the most valuable skills for your job?
“Time management is vital for apprentices because you must make time to study and complete coursework when you’re not at work. Attention to detail is also key, as is being able to work independently. Being part of a real working laboratory is great because I’m not only developing my core scientific knowledge, but also learning some crucial professional skills like effective communication with my colleagues, and the ability to work to a deadline. Then at college I get to focus on academic skills like essay writing and how to create a good presentation.”
What is the most rewarding part of the job?
“Working at Randox is really rewarding because I know what we do makes a real difference to global healthcare. By ensuring that hospital tests are accurate and reliable, I’m making sure that patients get the correct diagnosis, so they can get appropriate and effective treatment as soon as possible.”
What are the future job prospects in your industry?
“The STEM industry is booming and new roles are emerging every day. In the field of science, nothing ever stays still and there is always a new discovery or challenge. My colleagues for example are working on a test for the latest strain of coronavirus, which is having a huge impact globally. The variety of jobs is matched also by the variety of career pathways you can take. At the end of my apprenticeship, when I gain my foundation degree in Applied and Industrial Sciences, I have the option of either progressing into my second year of Biomedical Science at university, or taking up a permanent job within Randox.”
What is your advice to a young person starting off in your industry?
“Never be afraid to ask questions! This will help you stay up-to-date with current research and trends, and demonstrate your enthusiasm. If you’re interested in science I would definitely recommend the Higher-Level Apprenticeship as it is a great learning experience and equips you with all the necessary skills to pursue a career in this fast-paced industry.”
We are delighted to have Monique with us at Randox as part of the Higher-Level Apprenticeship Scheme.
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 further information about Apprenticeships at Randox please email RandoxPR@randox.com or phone 028 9442 2413.
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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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
It’s that time of year again at Randox when we must say a fond farewell to our placement students as they leave to embark on their final year of study at university. We’re proud to be a key employer of placement students in Northern Ireland, having welcomed a huge 50 students through our doors last year, and are always enthusiastic to see students grow and develop during their time with us.
One such placement student who has this month come to the end of his 50-week placement with us is Thomas Adams, a marketing student at Ulster University.
Thomas joined the Randox Food Diagnostics team in September 2017 as a Placement Marketing Executive. We caught up with him to hear all about his placement year with Randox.
Thomas, why did you want to forge a career in marketing?
I’ve always been a creative person. I remember taking note of advertisements on billboards and on the TV and thinking that creating something like that would be my dream job. Marketing specifically appealed to me because you can incorporate the creativity of advertising while also interacting with the public and assisting sales teams. Variety is the spice of life after all!
How would you describe yourself in three words?
Creative, confident and chatty.
I’ve always known Randox as an NI-based global leader in diagnostics, particularly because I studied science at A-level and Randox would have been mentioned from time to time. Marketing at Randox, in particular, really appealed to me because of the scale of the company and all its divisions. I was enthusiastic to gain marketing experience in this high-calibre global company right on my doorstep.
Describe a typical day as a placement marketing executive.
When I come to work in the morning the first thing I do is check all emails and enquiries that have come in overnight to our Customer Relationship Management system and send out new enquiries to sales people stationed across the world. The Randox Food Diagnostics division has customers throughout the globe and there are many international queries that will come in throughout the night because of the different time zones.
The rest of my day is focussed on wine – and no, it’s not what you think!
I manage the marketing activities of the wine testing division of Randox Food Diagnostics. We’re working behind the scenes when you are enjoying a glass of wine with your meal, as have developed a range of high quality analysers and wine testing reagents which aid the wine industry. Quality is at the heart of what we do and we want to ensure the quality of your wine.
I spend much of my time creating fresh and exciting content for our website and social media channels. This could range from information on our wine testing kits, to current news stories in the wine industry.
I also manage the translation of this material into the languages of the various countries around the world in which Randox Food Diagnostics operate. I also take enquiries from our sales team for any new promotional material or market research they require to increase their sales.
How did you come to manage the marketing for the wine division of Randox Food Diagnostics?
When I first started, I was mentored by my team leader who gave me certain tasks specifically in the wine sector, and trained me up on everything I needed to know – helping to ease me in to what was for me, my first full-time job.
After three months, the wine division was then given to me to manage. This meant that I was in control of all marketing campaigns, materials and events for the wine sector. It was so exciting to be given this opportunity and I was delighted to hear that I was doing well, that my team leader was pleased with my progress and that he felt I could be entrusted with the division.
New wine tests need new advertising campaigns and market research and I was delighted to oversee this, as I was able to unleash my creative side in presenting my ideas to the rest of the team. I had to come up with the campaign strapline, the artwork, and the social media strategy, and make decisions about what advertising vehicles were best suited to our target audience – whether it be television, magazines, online or outdoor.
I also had the responsibility of staying up-to-date with the industry’s current market trends while organising our presence at wine events and conferences, such as ‘Unified’ in the U.S. I have found the experience of managing all the different activities of an entire marketing division incredibly insightful and rewarding.
How have you found your placement year at Randox?
I have found my placement year very enjoyable. I never felt like just a placement student – I was made to feel like an integrated part of the team from day one. Everyone is so helpful as well. It doesn’t matter if you’ve been here for twenty years or two weeks, anyone you ask will be willing to help you with whatever you need.
I have also really enjoyed the opportunity to travel while at Randox. I particularly enjoyed going to Lancaster in Pennsylvania, to see American marketing first-hand at the Eastern Winery Expo. I was involved in all aspects of the event’s management – booking the event, designing the booth, creating the promotional material and shipping it all across to America. It was fantastic to see all my hard work pay off at the event and to be able to chat to our U.S. customers face-to-face.
What is the best thing about Randox?
Definitely my colleagues. Everyone is so friendly and it didn’t take long to settle in at all. I’ve really enjoyed playing Randox football after work on a Monday night in Crumlin too as it gives you the opportunity to get to know people from the other Randox sites while having a friendly kickaround.
What has been the most challenging aspect of your time at Randox?
When I first arrived, I had a general overview of what Randox does and of some of its products, but I didn’t know anything about the company’s patented Biochip Array Technology. I had to quickly get my head around it and learn all about Randox biochips because it’s this innovative technology that Randox Food Diagnostics uses to stay ahead of competitors in the market.
Although initially challenging, I have enjoyed throwing myself in to this learning experience and turning what was once a negative in to a massive positive – I’m now as up-to-date on the newest technology as I possibly could be and that makes for the best marketing campaigns and promotional material. It’s been great for my own personal development to get stuck in to an entirely new area of science and to see my progress from the beginning of the year until now.
I’m a big believer of the importance of always learning and trying something new.
What do you do when not in the office?
I like playing sports, such as football. I’m also a keen cycler. My parents have always been in to cycling so I guess you could say its in the blood. In July I went to Fort William in Scotland for a week of mountain-biking. I love the thrill and the adrenalin rush!
What are your goals for the future?
I would like to secure a marketing role in a globally successful company like Randox, although I wouldn’t say for sure that I’ll always be in marketing as I wouldn’t mind branching out in to forecasting or sales. Fortunately, at Randox you have the flexibility to try a new role if you feel you’d like to expand your skillset. The careers team are really open to people moving about until they find their niche. That’s why the Graduate Programme is so great – you are able to rotate throughout different departments until you find the perfect role for you – one which you are passionate about.
Personally, one of my aims for the future is to travel more. I’d like to venture off the beaten track and see some of the more unexplored areas of the world such as Asia, the Arctic or areas of South America.
But for now, it’s time to get my head back into the books for my final year of studies at university. Wish me luck!
We wish Thomas, like all our placement students, all the best for the future as they head back to university. We look forward to following your budding career in marketing.
For more information on placements at Randox, please contact email@example.com for more information.
For more We Are Randox stories about our amazing colleagues, make sure to follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and follow the hashtag #WeAreRandox.
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
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: email@example.com
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).
Rory McCloskey (21) from Antrim was a gold medal winner at the UK National finals in Birmingham. He was competing with over 500 apprentices, exponents of 55 disciplines – as diverse as Aircraft Maintenance to 3D Game Design, Cabinet Making, Plumbing to Beauty Therapy and Cyber Security.
Rory was recognised for his expertise in Computer Numerical Control (CNC) Milling which involves programming, setting and running a modern CNC milling machine to accurately produce a component in a given timeframe.
His journey to the national finals started earlier this year with local College competitions. From here, he progressed through the regional heats and national semi-finals where he finished in the top six in the UK to qualify for the National Worldskills UK 2017 finals which were held in Birmingham from 16 – 18 November.
Rory is a Higher Level Apprentice and works in the engineering department of Randox Laboratories. As a Foundation Degree student at the College’s Ballymena campus, he was trained on state-of-the-art CNC engineering machinery and taught how to program and operate machines such as Mazek, DMG Mori and Doonson, equipment used in modern manufacturing companies throughout Northern Ireland. The College provides education and training in this technology to a wide range of companies, including Ryobi Aluminium Cating, Linamar Montupet, Hutchinson Engineering, Randox Laboratories, McAuley Engineering.
Congratulating Rory on his success, Professor Terri Scott, Chief Executive of Northern Regional College said:
“The award is a great credit to Rory and all the engineering staff at the College and is just reward for all Rory’s hard work and dedication.
“The College has a proud and prestigious tradition of education and training in the field of engineering and I am delighted to see that our provision continues to deliver a consistently high standard.”
Dr Peter FitzGerald, Founder and Managing Director of Randox Laboratories, commented;
“We are incredibly proud of Rory and what he has achieved at the National Worldskills UK 2017 finals. Our apprentices from both the Northern and Southern Regional College are such talented individuals and so we are delighted to be able to offer them the opportunity to carry out ground-breaking research and development with us as they grow and develop in their careers.
“And the apprenticeship scheme is highly valued by the company – just as our students benefit from the time they spend with us, so too do we as a modern and innovative healthcare firm benefit from the fresh perspectives and forward-thinking ideas these students bring to Randox.
“Passionate and hard-working people like Rory make Randox what it is today. We’re extremely grateful for his contributions to the engineering team here and equally proud of his achievements. Congratulations Rory.”
Northern Regional College was well represented at the National Worldskills UK finals. Rory was one of seven students from the College’s Ballymena, Coleraine and Newtownabbey campuses to qualify for the final stage of the competition.
The other College finalists were: Dean Boyle, who was rewarded a bronze medal in CNC Milling; Matthew McLaughlin, who was highly commended in Graphic Design; Ryan Moon and Richard Woods (Mechatronics); James McCaughey (IT Software); Patrick McCloskey (Carpentry).
For further information about Rory’s award or to find our more about our apprenticeship programme please email firstname.lastname@example.org
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 email@example.com
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.