Keele intern opens door for more graduate talent

Posted on 09 June 2015

LabWare is the world’s leading supplier of laboratory information systems. These systems are used by the world’s largest companies to manage their analytical data. They have over 1000 clients, including Astra Zeneca, Glaxo Smith Kline, Heinz and Nestle, across a range of sectors such as the pharmaceutical, water, forensic and food industries.

Headquartered in Delaware, with several overseas locations, LabWare’s European HQ enjoys a beautiful site in the Cheshire countryside.  In 2013, Training Manager Isabelle Roberts contacted Keele University as they needed to take on some additional trainee consultants.  Up until this point the UK team had recruited people with prior experience from within the sector, but on hearing about Keele’s internship scheme, they decided to test the water with a fresh graduate.
In order to retain the best consultants, LabWare’s remuneration strategy is to ensure that their senior consultants’ earnings are in the top 10% in their country. However, it takes at least nine years training/experience to reach senior consultant level.  So, the challenge was to find a graduate who was suitably motivated, tenacious, ambitious and technically capable of learning how to configure the software products for their diverse client projects.

Isabelle Roberts, Training Manager says “using Keele’s established scheme definitely made the process easier - we don’t have dedicated recruitment resources in-house. The scheme enabled us to receive assistance from Keele’s internship team throughout the process, from creating a job description to identifying the right candidate”

Jennifer Smith, from Stafford, graduated from Keele in 2013 with a Chemistry and Forensic Science degree and started as an intern with LabWare in September 2013. She was made a permanent member of staff within six months.  Isabelle comments “Jennifer came with an open mind. We could see she was willing to learn and take on whatever challenges were thrown at her.”

Eighteen months on and Jennifer is now a valued member of the team - Steve Broad, LabWare Services Director comments “Jennifer is making an excellent contribution and has become a valuable part of the organisation. She’s had glowing commendations from her customers, which include the likes of AstraZeneca. They have all been keen to extend her involvement in their projects.”

Jennifer says: “If I am honest, I wasn’t entirely sure what I wanted to do after graduation, but the role sounded very interesting and during the interview I felt at ease.  I do have a problem solving kind of mind and I think that has meant I am quite suited to the types of projects that Labware have.  I had no prior experience of configuring software but my analytical approach has helped me to learn this skill.  My science degree has been really useful, as I now regularly interact with major players in the sector, so I am talking to people with the same kind of mindset.  It’s also very exciting to have the opportunity to travel overseas to deliver client projects as well.”

When asked what advice Jennifer would give to fresh graduates going for interviews, she said: “Make sure to research the opportunity before attending and use the interview to find out more – it is a two way process – and if you are not sure about going, just do it – there is nothing to lose.”

Steve Broad added: “Since the positive experience of taking on Jennifer through Keele’s internship scheme, we have since added four other graduates to the team and we are now working even more closely with Keele to find some new recruits for 2015.

To take part in Keele’s internship scheme either as a student/graduate or as an employer – head to