The value of work placement

Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney TD visiting BEES during the Summer of 2011

My name is Shane Feeney and I am currently in final year of an  Environmental Plant Biotechnology (EPB) Honours Degree. Recently I have accepted an offer of a PhD position in Teagasc Moorepark Fermoy (dependent on final year exam results), where I will be carrying out research in the area of Glycoscience. The title of the project is a “Novel strategy for exploitation of milk glycoproteins in infant formula”.

This fantastic opportunity would not have been possible if it wasn’t for knowledge and research techniques acquired from doing my course. Research techniques that impressed the people in Moorepark were; completing literary reviews to a very high standard, laboratory techniques (tissue culture, microbiology) and compiling the data collected into a scientific report.

During the summer holidays of third year I did 8 weeks work experience (BL4003) in the Moorepark food research facility. I was told by my future supervisor that a key factor in why I was selected for the position was because I did my work placement there. During my time on the work placement I worked with different PhD students that were working with glycoproteins, probiotics and prebiotics that will one day be incorporated into cow’s milk.

I cannot stress how valuable the work placement module (BL4003) being coordinated by Prof. Gavin Burnell is. By carrying out this module you will not only gain invaluable work experience in your area of interest but you will also make important contacts which will have a major bearing on getting jobs once you graduate. If you are a third year student reading this, I guarantee this is one of the best and most important modules you will ever do in college.

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