Placement Case Studies

The Value of Work Experience

SEPnet believes there’s no better way for students to gain new skills and valuable insight into the world of work than through a placement. We work with a wide range of employers offering placements in variety of physics-related areas and sectors including aerospace, nuclear energy, information technology, science communication, engineering and research. Students have the opportunity to carry out projects with small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), multinational companies or research institutions.

A number of our students who have had SEPnet placements have been offered graduate jobs with their placement employers and with other graduate employers. All have found the experience invaluable in discovering what they do (and don’t) want to specialise in after graduation.

Read about some of our students’ experiences below…


Student: Laura Benn, University of Southampton

Host: Magnetic Shields

Role: Development of magnetic testing for process control

What did your job entail?

Setting up lab equipment for quality control purposes, making improvements and developments to technical elements of shielding research and researching into the strengths and limitations of shielding for the purpose of ‘magnetic monopoles’.

Describe a typical day

I worked on making the website clearer for the customer through my research project and contacted suppliers and clients. I also helped in product quality and control in the laboratory.

Why did you decide to do a placement?

I wanted to get a feel for what a job in industry would entail and how it differed from academic research. As the year progressed I realised I didn’t want to follow an academic path so it’s great to have insight into different aspects of an industry and what opportunities are available.

Would you recommend doing a placement?

Yes. I am more confident in my own ability to apply what I know to a job and less worried about my career prospects.

What are your next steps?

Having started work at Magnetic Shields after graduation, my role is to aid with technically challenging customer enquiries and to undertake R&D projects for the company.

Read more about our students’ placement experiences:

Lennart Balkenhol – Touch Fantastic


Student: Lennart Balkenhol, University of Sussex

Placement: Touch Fantastic

Role: Software Developer

“I was interested in the application of skills I acquired during my degree in a modern work environment.”

Read more [PDF 593KB]

Sophie Bashforth – Culham Centre for Fusion Energy (CCFE)


Student: Sophie Bashforth, Royal Holloway University of London

Placement: Culham Centre for Fusion Energy (CCFE)

Role: Research into tritium plant analytical spectroscopy techniques

“I had no idea what to expect of my placement before I arrived, but it has been incredibly useful to me in so many ways.”

Read more [PDF 633KB]

Gary Benson – QinetiQ

Gary Benson
Student: Gary Benson, University of Hertfordshire

Placement: QinetiQ

Role: Maritime Software Development



“Apply to as many places as possible…Try and find a role that really interests you and that will be apparent to the employer.”

Read more [PDF 455KB]

Nick Bromfield – Amec Foster Wheeler


Student: Nick Bromfield, University of Sussex

Placement: Amec Foster Wheeler

Role: Modelling Fuel Assemblies in Boiling Water Reactors


“I have learnt about a new area of physics that I had not previously covered in much detail…”

Read more [PDF 551KB]

James Gale – Royal Holloway University


Student: James Gale, University of Sussex

Placement: Royal Holloway University

Role: Characterising BPMs for installing in Front End Test Stand at Rutherford Appleton Laboratories


“I now have specific hands-on experience, a place that showcased my skills and a valid talking point for any future interviews I may have.”

Read more [PDF 592KB]

Brennan Hackett – IPROS Cube

Student: Brennan Hackett, University of Surrey

Placement: IPROS Cube

Role: Business Analyst


“The opportunity to independently execute my own project has built my confidence.”

Read more [PDF 822KB]

Thomas Mann – QinetiQ


Student: Thomas Mann, University of Portsmouth

Placement: QinetiQ

Role: Training Scientist


“Being given a lead role and responsibility for the budget was excellent experience and has enabled me to put something on my CV that differentiates me from others.”

Read more [PDF 595KB]

Sam Rowley – Symetrica Security Ltd


Student: Sam Rowley, University of Southampton

Placement: Symetrica Security Ltd

Role: Algorithms Team Intern


“The internship inspired me to perform better… after having seen what I am working towards…”

Read more [PDF 503KB]

Jessica Schonhut – HCL/Xerox


Student: Jessica Schonhut, University of Hertfordshire

Placement: HCL/Xerox

Role: Statistician/Process Engineer


“I gained valuable engineering skills which I otherwise would not have.”

Read more [PDF 583KB]

Jake Simpson – Brighton & Sussex University Hospital


Student: Jake Simpson, University of Sussex

Placement: Brighton & Sussex University Hospital

Role: Radiotherapist


“I found myself strongly considering medical physics as a future career but realised I had no real idea of what it entailed.”

Read more [PDF 615KB]

Joy Talbot – Neur


Student: Joy Talbot, Queen Mary University

Placement: Neur

Role: Junior Data Scientist


“I wanted to do something worthwhile with my summer by gaining invaluable experience which would let me tailor my final year at university. I am now able to choose appropriate modules, go to exciting events related to tech start-ups and perhaps get further relevant experience in the industry.”

Read more [PDF 597KB]

Rhiannon Williams – Online Lubricants Ltd


Student: Rhiannon Williams, University of Kent

Placement: Online Lubricants Ltd

Role: Customer profiling through data management


“Even if you don’t get your ideal internship, you will still learn invaluable skills that you can take forward to your working life.”

Read more [PDF 974KB]

Eimantas Zilis – CGG


Student: Eimantas Zilis, University of Sussex

Placement: CGG

Role: Geophysicist


“I am interested in doing a PhD and I wanted to find out how my skills and knowledge can be applied in industry.”

Read more [PDF 604KB]