My Placement Year Round-Up: Shannon Breslin

Shannon is a BSc Hons Environmental Health student at Ulster University, currently on a yearlong industrial placement as an Environmental Health & Safety intern within E+I Engineering. Read Shannon’s take on life as an E+I Engineering placement student below.

I am currently a 3rd year student of Ulster University studying BSc Hons Environmental Health, which is a CIEH and IOSH accredited course. When I first started my degree, I was given the option of completing my course in 3 years or 4 years. I opted for 4 years which allowed me to participate in a placement year, where I could gain practical experience and a better understanding of my career options prior to graduation.

Before applying for my current role, I already had an awareness of E&I Engineering as an industry leader with an excellent reputation for providing university students with placement opportunities. Upon researching the company and learning more on their products/services, I was intrigued by the scope of the business and knew it would be a perfect fit for my placement experience.

In my role as Environmental Health & Safety Intern, no two days are ever the same. I could be conducting environmental health & safety inductions, disposing of hazardous waste, organising training, advising team leaders on health and safety issues, completing audits, investigations or anything else in between. My responsibilities have progressed enormously over the past year, having taken on new tasks delegated by the Health & Safety Manager and Environmental Officer. These include creating toolbox talks regarding health & safety issues and standard operating procedures to maintain environmental health and safety within the factory.

One thing I love about my role is the opportunity to add value to the business by working with colleagues from different business functions to advise on and resolve EHS related issues. At the beginning of my placement year, the idea of conducting health & Safety inductions for new employees was quite daunting as I struggled with public speaking. However, as a result of the excellent support received from my team, I now conduct inductions on a regular basis with greater confidence and more effective communication skills.

The hands-on experience I have gained within both an office and factory setting has been invaluable, improving my organisational and problem-solving skills massively, which will benefit me in future roles. I feel less apprehensive about life after university now than I did before placement, as the solid foundation of experience I have built will hopefully present more job opportunities, helping me to build a career in Environmental and health & Safety

I am extremely grateful to E+I Engineering and the EHS Department for giving me the opportunity to become part of their team, for sharing their knowledge and encouraging me throughout every task. The team has been extremely generous and helpful to me during my time as an intern. The next stop for me is final year.