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Matthew Stebbings

Applied Chemistry

What appealed to you about Northumbria University / studying in Newcastle?

Since I am from the North East studying in Newcastle was an obvious choice as it is a fantastic city within easy reach of home. The facilities that are available at Northumbria are superb with excellent proximity to the city providing a very integrated feel to the campus. Also the nightlife is awesome.

What was it about the course that particularly appealed?

What made me interested in the course was its relation to ‘real world’ chemistry. Having the application to industrial practice gave this course an edge over others. Also with it being the MChem course, the extra motivation of being able to gain a masters degree at the end of study made the choice even simpler.

What qualifications did you have?

I came to Northumbria with three A-Levels in Chemistry, Biology and Mathematics. Through college I also have a Golden Crest Award in Chemistry.

What do you like most about the course?

I enjoy the large practical element involved within the course. With a good amount of time spent in the laboratory. I personally think this is important as it gives motivation to learn the theory to see it put in practice. Also with the orientation of the course being towards industry, you learn marketable skills throughout your time there making you a employable candidate once you finish.

How do you get on with your tutors?

I get on very well with my tutors, they are highly intellectual but very approachable. They are a good laugh and generally keep lectures interesting.

Did you have the opportunity for any work placements during your course? 

I am currently on placement with Procter and Gamble, six months through my internship. I obtained it through the placement open day at the university and through an online application form. After this there was an interview before being told the outcome.

What sort of work are you doing on your work placement?

I am currently doing research and development work for the brand Ariel, more specifically looking at the makeup of competition products in order to derive learnings and possible improvements by reapplying anything discovered.

Have you enjoyed your placement?

I am currently really enjoying the experience. It is hard work but very rewarding. The whole community feel of the job is very encouraging and I have found it easy to make friends and establish links within the firm quickly.

Has your placement benefited you? If so how?

I feel that the placement so far has been very beneficial. It helps you gain confidence in your own ability and builds your self-esteem by making you feel valued and appreciated for your talents. It has also given me a big insight into the working world and an understanding of how work done at university applies to real life. Moreover it has given me a rejuvenated motivation to work hard at university so that I can get a similar job to the one I am doing now. Also the opportunity of a possible job offer has been a great motivation throughout my time.

Would you recommend a placement to other students?

I would highly recommend applying for a placement if the opportunity arises, not just for the money or the insight to the industry but because you find a lot out about yourself, your preferences to working style and it helps you build a maturity and work ethic.

Do you have any advice for anyone applying for your course, or for university in general?

My advice would be to try and get a part time job as quick as you can and be sensible from the start with money. You need the forward planning because the loan may not always stretch as far as you think it will. Also when starting, expect a lot of hard work because although university has a reputation of the easy life, unless you’re willing to put the effort in, you will not get anything out of it.

Is there anything else you would like to add about Northumbria University?

The Student Union is awesome. It’s pretty good to work at too, if you get a chance, apply there as bar staff.


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