March 7, 2019, by Postgraduate Placements Nottingham
Managing my time my way
My postgraduate placement was based with The Derbyshire Winery and was focused on helping the owner improve his revenue stream through the utilisation of waste products. The waste product of specific interest was wine pomace (solid bits left over from the pressing process) which the owner was using as fertiliser for his garden, however he wanted to know if there were any further ways he could make use of it.
The placement started with a visit to his establishment in Buxton to discuss the type of waste and quantity he was producing. Following this, we discussed his business set up. This was useful because his small scale meant that ambitious or expensive options were not going to fit well with his business model. With all this information in mind, I began to comb the relevant literature to determine what options were available.
Through this placement I gained a deep understanding of wine making and the various wastes it produces. One of the surprising things was that the wine industry is much large that I ever imagined. Roughly, 47 million tons of wine are produced every year around the world and of the grapes being grown, only 80% of the grape’s mass ends up as wine – with the rest left as waste. This means there is a huge amount of wine pomace left to be disposed of or utilised! As a chemist, by training, this subject area was completely unknown to me and I was able to identify a number of possible opportunities for a small business to make additional funds from this waste product.
This placement allowed me the opportunity to develop my literature reviewing skills within a business framework – which is a very useful, demonstrable skill to have. Additionally, the placement was challenging as it required me to learn a large amount about an area of science which I was not familiar. However, the part of the placement which I enjoyed the most was that I was able to manage my time in my own way. This allowed me to undertake the placement alongside my studies meaning that I didn’t need to take time away from the lab.
I would, and have, recommend doing a placement with the PPN whilst undertaking studies because it can give you many skills which are highly prized by industry and will help you stand out from the crowd at job interviews – increasing your chances of gaining employment after your studies. Also, the extra money was quite helpful as well!
If you’re a student interested in doing a postgraduate placement visit our webpage for more information, or check out current opportunities at the Placements Portal.