We Are Randox | John Fitzgerald wins Ulster University awards for Master’s degree project with Randox
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).
What is a workplace substance misuse policy?
Many organisations implement a policy that outlines the expectations they have concerning the misuse of drugs and/or alcohol and how this can affect performance and safety in the workplace. This can often be referred to as a substance misuse policy.
Employers hold the responsibility to ensure employees are fully aware of the company’s rules, regulations, testing and disciplinary procedures. Fundamentally, this is to guarantee complete workplace safety. The policy itself holds a vital importance providing employees with the knowledge of the standards expected of them in the workplace.
To ensure transparency of information, it is imperative that the policy is written in a clear, comprehensive manner. This should allow them to understand without confusion or misinterpretation the implications the organisation has in place for users who misuse substances.
Why is this policy so important for businesses to implement?
Alcohol and / or drug use increases the chances of problems occurring in the workplace. For example, studies have found that employees with alcohol problems are 2.7 times more likely to have an accident whilst at work.
Some of the main issues that associated with substance misuse in the workplace are:
- Absenteeism – It’s estimated that there are 17 million lost days of work per year due to substance misuse.
- Low productivity levels – Employees may lose focus in different tasks and become de-motivated.
- Inappropriate behaviour – Some cases of substance abuse may lead to inappropriate actions or in extreme cases crime
Evidence suggests that many people who suffer from alcohol and drug abuse are in employment. Studies show that 25% of registered drug addicts are in full-time employment and that 3.3% of all adults in England and Wales aged 16 – 59 classified as frequent users.
Significant issues such as these provide growing concerns for employers to put in place a workplace substance misuse policy to guarantee the welfare of all stakeholders. Under the Health & Safety Act 1974, employers have a duty to ensure the safety of their employees is met to all principles. Introducing an effective workplace policy is a key part in maintaining these standards.
The importance of a workplace policy for drugs and alcohol can benefit employers by:
- Building relationships with employees by showing them there is support available.
- Policies can raise awareness of issues in the business and can encourage staff members to take action if they feel they have a problem.
- Its importance can reduce the number of sick employees, it can also increase staff turnover & productivity levels.
- Employers who implement a workplace policy can also see a rise in efficiency, improved staff relationship, communication and improved corporate image and in some cases customer relations.
What we at Randox Testing Services can do:
Randox Testing Services is a market leader in the drug and alcohol testing industry. Our expertise is relied upon by safety-critical companies all over the world. We provide complete drug and alcohol testing solutions to a range of blue chip companies across multiple industries including aviation, transport, construction, maritime, retail and occupational health to name a few.
Our expert consultancy service allows employers to create an effective drug and alcohol misuse policy. We offer comprehensive advice, guidance and support in composing an effective policy and explaining best procedures and testing methods to use. We also provide assistance to employers with an existing substance misuse policy, helping to modify existing documents to ensure they are legally viable and can withstand challenge in court.
To ensure clear communication of any policy changes, our experts can come to your workplace and present the policy to your staff. By having a third party explain the policy employers can ensure all the benefits are communicated effectively. This way staff do not feel like they are being victimised or persecuted, but know their employer is looking after their workplace wellbeing.
Combining our consultancy service with our drug and alcohol testing service and / or point of care products, employers can find a complete testing solution from Randox Testing Services.
About Randox Testing Services
At Randox Testing Services we offer complete drug and alcohol testing solutions to a wide range of industries across the globe. We work with companies to help create and implement effective workplace testing policies that suit their needs and budget.
To support our customers our additional services include training and education courses as well as policy reviews and consultancy. Our experts are at hand to discuss any testing requirements you may have. To get in touch email email@example.com today.
Ever wonder how motivated and successful people stay so calm at work? Here at Randox, we know that even the most enjoyable careers can get stressful, even for the most motivated employees!
According to a CIPD Absence Management Survey the number one cause for long term sickness is stress. When the paperwork begins to pile up and to-do lists become longer it can be difficult not to let the mounting pressure get to you. But, there’s good news! Exercise is not only for the body, but the mind too. Exercise at work can improve our mental wellbeing improving our ability to deal with the pressure/stress in our working lives. So, if you want to keep your cool like John from H.R., here’s some tips on how you can make some changes today towards improving your mood (even on Mondays!)
1. Get up a go. We all realise how important exercise is but making the time for it in our busy lives can be difficult. Why not make simple changes increasing the amount of physical activity you can squeeze into your day. Take the stairs whenever you can. Perhaps even park your car in a space further away meaning more time to stretch your legs.
2. Stretch at your desk. Research by the NHS says Adults in the UK are sitting for 7 hours a day! Find yourself staring at your computer screen all day? Alternate your tasks at works. Why not even try the CIPD suggested “chairobics”…stretches you can do without even leaving your chair such as rotating your shoulders. Chairobics is so widely praised there’s even sit-down aerobics classes based on teaching people how to get moving at their desk!
3. Clear your head. Don’t be afraid to take a screen-break every now and again. I know it can seem like you’re wasting your precious work time, but clearing your head of the stresses you accumulate at work will give you a clearer perspective on things ensuring you remain motivated and more productive. There is a long history of research into breaks and the correct amount of time for a computer-break. Employers first began offering the break because of its effects of revival on work quality. Not only does it revive your work, however, it revives you! Physical activity goes a long way contributing to improving your own mental well being. Any activity that makes you feel good does well. Feeling good boosts your productivity in work and as the saying goes “Nothing will work unless you do”.
4. Sit up straight. Good posture at your desk will improve your breathing making you feel calmer and therefore less like likely to get stressed no matter what work related task is thrown your way. Bad posture, on the other hand can cause many problems such as pains, and headaches. Try this. Roll your shoulders back and straighten your spine. Lift you chin up. How much better do you feel? More motivated and ready to take on the world of work? Don’t question the power of good posture on your mood!
In conclusion, we quote Ziggy Marley; “Doing something that is productive is a great way to alleviate emotional stress. Get your mind doing something that is productive.” We all want to be as cool as a cucumber in stressful situations at work so the next time you’re feeling under pressure try some of these tips and smile! It’s Friday, afterall!
Are you thinking of working at Randox? Great! Whether you’re from a science background, business, or art, Randox embrace multiple disciplines and we, at Randox Careers, are here to give you 5 reasons why you’ll love working with us!
1. Company Culture
Randox have built a team of the most passionate, inspiring and motivated individuals in the industry. Employees of Randox aren’t just a team, but they’re family!
Randox Laboratories likes to celebrate talent, and encourages people to work to their strengths, as recently demonstrated in the largely successful Future in the Making event, which was held to gather and thank Randox employees worldwide for the success of the growth of the company. Randox encouraged employees to share their experiences through the hashtag #WeAreRandox. Check it out, here!
2. Learning Opportunities are Endless!
Due to the size of Randox, and the vast specialties in the health sector, Randox Laboratories has a lot to offer in teaching new, innovative techniques in business, science, design, technology, engineering, and many more!
Randox is a great place to be given the opportunity to get creative in your industry! Work is always fast-paced, forward-thinking and open to fresh, innovative ideas! Peter FitzGerald (Randox Founder & MD) stated “We never stand still here! Our mission is to transform healthcare by continuously improving diagnostic solutions, which, for us, ultimately means saving lives.”
Randox Laboratories is not only a great place to grow, develop and climb the career-ladder whilst in full-time work, but it encourages growth in students, too! Renowned for their highly active Placement programs for 1st and 2nd year students, Randox offers 50+ positions each year for every sector. We hold a special awards ceremony for our highest achieving students at the end of the year, commending them for their outstanding work at Randox! You can read about the Pinnacle Placement Awards and see this year’s winners here.
3. Randox is a Globally Respected Brand
Working for a company like Randox will prove your ambition to individuals in every industry globally. We understand your CV is very important to you, and having worked for a well-respected brand like Randox, you’re sure to stand out from the crowd!
4. Be a Jet-setter!
Randox has a large global presence. With offices in over 145 countries, we are frequently attending high profile events in such places as Dubai, Thailand, London, USA, and Paris! (You can check out some of our upcoming events, here.)
You can have the opportunity to experience these beautiful countries with Randox!
5. Let Your Work Change The World
Randox is an influential company and a global leader in the Healthcare and Diagnostics industry, responsible for diagnosing 5% of the population’s conditions. We are dedicated to improving the healthcare industry, and saving lives with our hard work. Randox’s success means better quality of life for the global population, as we discover how to diagnose as early as possible.
Do you want to change the world with us? Join the team, check out our opportunities!