Working in the laboratories was a real eye-opening experience for me. Although, I knew what was involved in an applied science role, it wasn’t until my first day that I knew I’d be applying science to the Personal Care sector and specifically Hair Care. At first, t seemed strange to be performing scientific experiments and instrumental test on real hair, but it soon became interesting to find that all the claims that are made on TV, online and on the products themselves are all based on the data generated in labs like the one I was working in.
After graduating from the University of Hull in summer 2007, I was faced with the task of searching for jobs. Having done an industrial placement in my 3rd year with Lubrizol, I knew that I enjoyed working in industry and had discovered the world of applied sciences. I had heard of a company called Croda who were based in East Yorkshire, with a site in Hull, and had found that they were recruiting for a graduate training scheme. I liked the look of the opportunities that were available as part of the graduate scheme and decided to apply. After a day at an assessment centre, I got the phone call I was hoping for, with an offer of a position in the Applications Labs at Cowick site.
Traditionally the Graduate training scheme allows people to rotate around the company and perform a number of different roles over the 2 year training period, usually including technical, sales and marketing positions. However, I was given the opportunity to stay in the same technical role. I felt this would allow me to build my experience to higher levels and ultimately progress my career within the department. The two years I spent in this role meant I saw many changes, including the continued integration of the Uniqema business and the chance to work on multiple project areas within Personal Care, widening my expertise further. I also gained a professional qualification in Management with the Open University.
Having built up a detailed knowledge of my research area I was promoted to Lead Applications Scientist which not only gave me more responsibilities in terms of handling projects, but also the first taste of managing people in a small team. In my time so far I had also had the chance to experience technical seminars and giving technical presentations to some of our global customers, travelling to the US, South America and several European countries. Previously, I hadn’t considered global travel being a part of my ideal job role, but found it to be an exciting and interesting addition which I enjoy.
After a further 18 months under my belt, I was promoted to Applications Team Leader, having responsibility for leading all Hair Care projects which were carried out in the applications lab. I also had a small team to manage which brought a whole new set of challenges to my work – I now not only had to manage projects, but people too! Since joining Croda, I feel I have been helped with several areas to make sure I continue to push myself forward in my career. They have helped with my career planning and have provided visible prospects with relevant training and skills development. Croda also provide benefits of a large multi-national company with the ethics and feel of a family-run business.