The University of Southampton

Ashley Morahan MPhys Physics, 2016

Adaptix Ltd

Ashley's placement at Adaptix Ltd entailed, testing and development of innovative techniques in field emission needle production. Researching methods of x ray production and electrochemical etching experiments

A placement is a great way to learn about a field and help make decisions in future employment. It’s also an opportunity to live in a new area and meet new friends.

How would you describe a typical day?
My day would start with a walk to work through a forest path, a nice change to the busy London commute I was used to. Upon arriving to the office I was greeted by my colleagues and would prepare for my day. Every morning the company had a ‘scrum’ in which everyone would outline what they achieved the day before and planned on doing on that day. This gave us all a chance to discuss our projects and give advice to one another. This also allowed my supervisors to keep on track of my work and offer guidance if necessary.

After the scrum and sorting out any emails or other admin work I would start the main body of my work. I mainly worked in the cleanroom, conducting experiments, or at the office building equipment and researching ways to improve on my experiment. The office would all break for lunch together. After lunch I would finish up any experiments or research. Towards the end of the day I would write up my results and finding and post any documentation so that the office can read and help me with the next step.

Outside of work Oxford offered a number of activities for me to engage in. As I mentioned the walking paths and canal walks were lovely and was a welcomed break to being indoors at work. The city centre was full of life and had plenty of museums, restaurants and bars to visit. I lived closer to work so had to get the bus into town but this was not an issue in Oxford as public transport was regularly available. Oxford was a great place to work as I was able to easily travel and enjoy my time in and out of work.

Why did you decide to do a placement?
I want to work in medical physics field and wanted to gain experience in the development of medical devices. The placement offered an opportunity to work with a number people in different fields and gain insight in the workings of a medical physics company. The opportunity to work and live in Oxford was also appealing.

Would you recommend doing a placement?
Yes. The work was fulfilling and gave me the opportunity to learn a lot. A great way to learn about a field and help make decisions in future employment. An opportunity to live in a new area and meet new friends. You will get out of a placement what you put in, it is best to go with the willingness to learn and receive guidance. It’s nice to be paid for the work and easy to just turn up and do the minimum but if you want to get the most out of you time I would recommend learning all that you can from a placement and taking the opportunity to network and study the environment. This will help you making the decisions towards your career.

How do you think doing a placement has benefited you for the future?  
The placement gives you an opportunity to determine whether or not you want to work in a specific field. I have decided I want to carry out a PhD before I go into full time work and decided the areas I want to research. I have been able to talk with professionals and get advice on how I can move towards my career plans.

Do you have any plans for the future?  If you do, what are your next steps?
I aim to carry out research in medical physics after I finish my degree. I am currently looking into PhD placements in cancer therapeutic methods.