Derby University student wins top work placement at company making products used by half the world

A Derby University student has won a prestigious work placement at a company making products used by half the world’s consumers.


 Lydia Turner, a business management student at the University of Derby, will be spending the third year of her degree working at the UK headquarters of chemistry company Lubrizol in Hazelwood near Belper. The company, which has a workforce of nearly 9,000 people worldwide, makes chemical additives that are used in a huge range of products from shampoo to mobile phone screens to fuel. In fact, it makes so many products it is estimated around half of the world’s consumers use them.


Lydia, 20, beat off stiff competition to win the coveted work placement, which will see her working in the company’s corporate communications team.


She said: “With my degree I had the option to do a placement over a four-year course rather than completing my studies over three years. This opening was one of around 30 work placements I applied for. I had two interviews and was delighted when I heard I had got it.


“It’s exciting because this is the first corporate setting I’ve ever been in. I’m looking forward to getting started. This experience will be above and beyond what I could have had at university. You can study for a degree but you can’t learn about the world of work first hand until you are in it.”


Lydia is taking over the role at the company’s creative services team from previous work placement student Laura Barrie, who will now be going back to the University of Reading to complete her studies in International Business and Management having spent a year at Lubrizol.


Laura said: “I’ve had a great year at Lubrizol. I had applied for between 30 and 40 placements as they are so sought-after, and I feel very lucky to have been given this one.


“It’s such a great team to work for. Everyone is so welcoming and always willing to give you as much time as you need to answer your questions.


“When I started my role at Lubrizol, it was completely different to what it has become. I have been given a lot more responsibility than I thought I would be when I started. I feel very privileged to have been trusted as a full-time employee.”


Laura’s role at Lubrizol has involved a wide range of responsibilities including compiling reports and writing social media updates.


She said: “One of the highlights of my year was getting an email from the CEO of Lubrizol, thanking me for doing a good job, which you definitely don’t expect as a student on a work placement.


“Another highlight has been speaking to so many people in different regions. It’s so valuable to get the chance to speak to so many different people.”


Lydia said: “I’ve got big boots to fill in following Laura’s footsteps. I’m really looking forward to the next year and seeing how the role develops.”


The company’s UK headquarters at Hazelwood is a Centre of Excellence for the Lubrizol Corporation. It is where nearly 400 skilled staff make chemical formulations for use in a wide range of industries. Around 22 per cent of the company’s Derbyshire branch are either students currently, or are now in full-time employment after completing a student placement or apprenticeship.


Lubrizol also gives thousands of pounds to local organisations and charities through its Charities and Communities Committee, of which Laura has been a member over the last year, and Lydia will now join. Over the last year, Laura has fully embraced Lubrizol’s strong emphasis on the importance of employees giving back to the community, and has volunteered for a number of things including offering a listening ear to a carer once a week as part of the Derbyshire Carers Association.


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