Placement Review: Ilona Ganczarek
My placement took place for almost 3 months from March 30th to June 10th at Heriot Watt University in Edinburgh. Dr Ian Pattison was my supervisor during my whole trainee placement, while the person I worked with in the laboratory was Emily Howes (Research Assistant).
For the first few weeks of my placement, I worked remotely. My main task was to study, expand my knowledge and read papers in order to be better prepared for work in the laboratory. During this time, I also participated in online training courses, agricultural conferences and I had one assignment about water cycle. Additionally, I was able to learn hydrological theory through dynamic, supportive group meeting and discussions which took place every two weeks. One of the most interesting parts during my placement was training on Percussion drilling with liner sample, H&S and RAMS.
I spent most of my trainee placement in the lab with Emily. When I arrived to the lab I was introduced to the appropriate information, instructions and training on the hazards and risk assessment. My job was mainly laboratory analysis of the soil samples collected from agricultural fields treated with mown and grazed grass-clover and herbal leys. I measured physical properties of soil include saturated hydraulic conductivity, particle size distribution, mean weight diameter and water stability of soil aggregates. After proper equipment training, I was able to work with KSAT- saturated hydraulic conductivity measuring device and sieving machine – for particle size and aggregate stability.
I am interested in Soil Science and Hydrogeology. Therefore, this placement gave me the opportunity to learn and improve new skills in these areas. I gained a proper practice, experience in laboratory work and I was able to see different from the academic work environment. Overall, I think completing this short trainee placement after graduation was a good opportunity to gain experience before starting further work and successful career. I also feel very lucky to meet Ian and Emily who guided me through the entire placement demonstrating professionalism and knowledge as well as a friendly attitude.
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