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 Post subject: Placement crisis - help!
PostPosted: Tue May 13, 2014 9:42 pm 
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Joined: Wed May 09, 2007 2:09 pm
Posts: 874
Location: Solihull, West Midlands
My Dd had an industrial placement year sorted starting in August with a small pharmaceutical company in Cheshire ( she is a second-year pharmacology student at Manchester and is keen to go into pharmaceutical research& development) The company have just written to her ( 2 days before her exams start) saying that due to "changed priorities" they are cancelling all their student placements. Apart from being VERY angry, and trying to help stop DD from completely cracking up during the exams, I am wondering if any of the lovely people on here work in an area where they may know of any relevant late opportunities coming up for 2014-15, as of course all the other big firms filled their places months ago. She was so thrilled to be offered the placement, it was exactly what she had been looking for, and it is heart-breaking to see her getting knocked back at this critical stage through no fault of her own at all, potentially ruining her chances of ultimately getting into the field of work she is hoping for. And at a time when industry is always saying our children should study STEM subjects and complains that they are not being trained properly...

Any suggestions? pM me if you have any contacts who may be able to help. I already have a contact at GSK but any other Pharma / medical research tips would be great


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PostPosted: Thu May 15, 2014 6:02 am 
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Joined: Tue Mar 04, 2008 2:28 pm
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Awful!
I assume she has been to see tutor and dept placement coordinator? They might have contacts they can pull strings with.
Given she is in exam mode, can you do a trawl of smaller firms on line and send out a covering letter, which also explains the situaton, with CV. If its possible to slightly adjust letter by company that would help as you need to avoid the ' I'm not that interested in you but anywhere will do' impression.

Does it need to be a paid placement ?

If she can't afford to live away and self fund it is worth trying commutable Universities as well as small firms. Approach specific heads of labs rather than departments. Many Unis also have research organisations/start up companies attached.

Do spread the net wide. The placement she had sounds great but getting any even mildly related lab experience will be a great advantage.


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PostPosted: Thu May 15, 2014 6:54 am 
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Joined: Wed May 09, 2007 2:09 pm
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Location: Solihull, West Midlands
Thanks KB. So far the Uni placement people have proved pretty hopeless, all they seem to be offering is to let her know if anything new comes up. It's tricky too with something that's supposed to be evaluated as part of a degree, so I'm not sure what the parameters are for suitability /approval,and whether a year spent doing something only tangentially relevant is better than going straight on to her final degree year and then looking for graduate work ( but of course even a short work placement makes a huge difference to later job offers ). As you say, we don't want to sound desperate! OH has connections in a lot of unis and industry but in chem eng rather than pharmacology/biochemistry.... I'll talk to her again after today's exam as it would probably be better for any covering letters to come from her rather than helicopter mother ....


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PostPosted: Thu May 15, 2014 8:15 am 
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Joined: Mon Mar 15, 2010 2:45 pm
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solimum wrote:
Thanks KB. So far the Uni placement people have proved pretty hopeless, all they seem to be offering is to let her know if anything new comes up. It's tricky too with something that's supposed to be evaluated as part of a degree, so I'm not sure what the parameters are for suitability /approval,and whether a year spent doing something only tangentially relevant is better than going straight on to her final degree year and then looking for graduate work ( but of course even a short work placement makes a huge difference to later job offers ). As you say, we don't want to sound desperate! OH has connections in a lot of unis and industry but in chem eng rather than pharmacology/biochemistry.... I'll talk to her again after today's exam as it would probably be better for any covering letters to come from her rather than helicopter mother ....


I think one of the problems will be that a lot of basic research has left the country - and likely to get worse if the current merger that is in the news goes ahead. I would suggest writing to university pharmacology or biochemistry departments as there are plenty of those. Lots of small biotech companies around the Cambridge area, I think you might need to letter bomb every company that has basic research. I will also pm you when I get a moment. This happened to a friend of ours when he was halfway through his engineering placement, and I really feel for you.


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PostPosted: Thu May 15, 2014 8:23 am 
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Joined: Mon May 16, 2011 1:05 pm
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Location: Reading
As an alternative, would she consider a placement at an engineering company that design pharma plants? You mentioned you know chem engers, so they may be able to help with this. My company used to but don't any more.

Similar happened to me btw. Worked out in the end.


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PostPosted: Thu May 15, 2014 6:18 pm 
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Location: Solihull, West Midlands
Thanks for the reassurance - we have a tendency to assume that one major setback like this is a complete disaster and will ruin her life for ever...It's the arbitrary unfairness that is so gutting, and me wanting to rush in and fix it for her while ultimately she's the one who's got to decide how to cope with it and move forward.


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PostPosted: Thu May 15, 2014 6:37 pm 
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Joined: Mon May 16, 2011 1:05 pm
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Location: Reading
Had a think with DH.

Engineering company in Reading that design pharma plants is Jacobs. They are an international company.

http://www.jacobs.com/workwithus/ourind ... harma.aspx

I can think of a much smaller one in Yorkshire but I'll PM you about that one.


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PostPosted: Thu May 15, 2014 8:29 pm 
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Joined: Tue Mar 04, 2008 2:28 pm
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Yeters/applications need yo be written by her but nothing wrong with helping with clerical leg work in this situation.

Other option is to try for a long summer placement then into final year with possibility of work experience after finals in order to strengthen future applications.

See if she can get written guidelines of what's required to send to anywhere that shows interest.

Hope her exams go well.


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PostPosted: Fri May 16, 2014 9:29 am 
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Joined: Wed May 09, 2007 2:09 pm
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Location: Solihull, West Midlands
Thanks all for your help and advice. Spoke to her last night (2 exams out of the way ) and she seems quite upbeat - we have managed between us (including her own network of friends/friends parents etc) to put together quite a few promising personal contacts directly in the field: she's already emailed a covering letter and CV to several of them, and we also discussed moving to a different Uni for a year's project which would at least give the necessary separation from her regular student life - she's seeing her tutor this morning to discuss. I've also thought that a lab-based summer placement of any sort (even unpaid) would be preferable to nothing at all.

Will let you know on here what transpires, and resist the ("not very professional, Mum") temptation to "name and shame" the company responsible!


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PostPosted: Fri May 16, 2014 5:58 pm 
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Hopefully the uni dept can spread the word so other students don't get taken in by them.

Looking forward to hearing how it works out :)


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