Jordan Taylor is one of the talented young STEM students returning to their universities after completing an immersive 12-month placement program of real-world experience at Fujifilm Ink Solutions Group’s R&D and engineering sites in the UK.
The placement program provides students with research skills and first-class practical experience in chemistry and sets a foundation for a career in the fast-developing industrial inks industry.
The 2021-2022 placement re-started the interrupted program and was another win-win for the students and Fujifilm. Jordan benefited from a meaningful experience in a niche chemistry area within a global corporation, while the team he joined learned from his “next generation” ideas, skills, and theories.
Jordan, taking an MChem in Forensic and Analytical Chemistry at the University of Strathclyde in Scotland, started work at the Broadstairs site in September 2021. He became a valued member of the Dispersions team within the ink R&D group and worked in the laboratory producing UV pigment dispersions in industrial printing inks.
What makes the Fujifilm placement program so unique is the opportunity to experience a mix of technology, resources, and ideas in and beyond the laboratory environment in a multinational company that values and invests in innovation.
The placement combines practical work in a high-tech lab alongside an experienced team of all ages with the chance to engage with colleagues across other sites. Students are also encouraged to liaise with different departments, such as sales and marketing, to give them fascinating insights into what goes on in a global company.
Jordan says: “One of the things I have most enjoyed about my time here was the opportunity it has given me to grow and learn in a professional environment that I hadn’t experienced before. I got to see what the future could look like working in the chemical industry.”
Students are given a mentor who listens to the objectives they are trying to achieve and provides a tailored work and learning experience that nurtures their confidence and builds their skills.
Jordan was trusted with a high-priority project developing equipment we had not used before while undertaking research and practical studies in the lab analyzing dispersions and colors. He also got the opportunity to learn expensive industrial techniques not available in many universities, including laser diffraction particle size analysis, dynamic light scattering, and rheology testing of materials.
He says: “After the initial training, I was pretty much left on my own devices because I got to do the job of an actual chemist in the team on developing dispersions. It’s been an excellent experience for that level of independence. I thought it would be solely about helping in the lab and a bit of lab experience, but any time I showed the capability to do more, they’d let me do it. There’s been lots of opportunity for growth and progression.”
Another aspect of the placement that students often highlight is the friendliness of Fujifilm’s collaborative teams, who always make themselves available, bringing their invaluable experience to help with any query.
Digital printing is a growth segment, and the industry is continually exploring new directions and markets for different types of inks, especially from renewable sources. Jordan adds: “I didn’t realize how much exciting chemistry takes place within inks. It’s been a very positive experience and made me think I can be involved in this part of the chemistry world.”
The chance for students to benefit from the program is coming around again. We have five new STEM students joining in September 2022.