Saylee Jangam, a third year Bioengineering student at the University of Sheffield, has just started her Year in Industry placement at RB (formerly Reckitt Benckiser) in Kingston upon Hull, UK. Originally from Pune, Saylee first started her course in September of 2014. Her placement at RB will count towards her Bioengineering degree, acting as a sandwich course, at the end of which she will receive a ‘BEng with a Year in Industry’. When asked why she chose to do a placement, she said “Work experience is an invaluable asset to have on your CV and this is something I have always had at the back of my mind. As Bioengineering is a research-oriented subject at the University of Sheffield, I was keen on finding a placement within R&D that also fit in well with my future career plans.”
Currently at RB, Saylee works in Health, Maintenance and Expansion for their personal care products. Being the only Bioengineering student there, she considers this to be an advantage because of the interdisciplinary nature of the degree. She gets to learn a broad range of subjects ranging from biomaterials science and tissue engineering to control systems and electronics.
Saylee first began applying for a placement in her second year and while managing her time between applications and University work was difficult, she managed to secure a placement earlier this year with the Healthcare and Hygiene Company, Reckitt Benckiser, now known as RB. “You probably use RB products without realizing it – Dettol, Vanish, Airwick and Strepsils are all RB products.”
For most placements, the initial application process is quite straight forward. You make an online application and are progressed onto a telephone or video interview, followed by an assessment day if you are successful in qualifying for this. Standing out in the applicant pool isn’t always easy and is something that students need to work on from the start of University by joining societies and committees, taking up part-time work, travelling and volunteering and taking part in academic projects. At University, Saylee is an International Office Ambassador for India and has been on the International Students’ Committee as the Events Officer. She is also taking part in iGEM this year, an international synthetic biology competition, representing the University at a global scale as part of a team of undergraduate students from Sheffield.
Year in Industry placements are a great way to put theory to practice and a lot of students apply for a limited number of places, making them competitive. Saylee’s advice on being successful in obtaining a placement is to keep applying and not get disheartened by initial rejections. “I would highly recommend doing a placement for engineering and non-engineering students alike,” she says, “I’m only two months through my placement and I already have a much clearer understanding of how the business works and of the healthcare industry”.
What she enjoys most about her placement at RB is the independence at work. You are allowed to plan your own timetable and work around training to finish tasks. This allows you to become more efficient and disciplined at work, improving your organization skills. Another aspect that is polished at work is your soft skill set which is improves by communicating with people working at different levels in the business.