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PML Work Experience Week a great success

12 August 2023

Last month we ran our first work experience week, inviting 12 students from schools across Devon to the lab to sample life as a marine scientist first-hand.
The week of activities, that received funding support from the European Space Agency’s HYPERBOOST project, aimed to give the students an unforgettable experience as well as contribute the training of potential budding marine scientists.

Students worked in teams to learn what the daily work of marine scientist looks like in real life. The teams then worked on projects relating to satellite remote sensing, microplastics and mathematical modelling, which were presented to their peers at the end of the week.

Activities included: an interactive tour of the laboratory; a visit to PML's research vessel, Plymouth Quest; talks on marine science topics and career paths, and hands-on tasks, such as measuring changes in water colour for use in optical analysis.
Dr Victor Martinez Vicente giving a talk to students
Dr Victor Martinez-Vicente, co-ordinator of the experience and Bio-optical Oceanographer at PML, commented:

“Sharing my passion about ocean science and being surprised by the insights from the students have made the work experience week one of the most enjoyable activities this year. I wanted to organise the work experience to give local young people the opportunity to know first-hand what it really means to be a marine scientist so that they can have a good picture before they make those important choices on their degrees the following year. I also wanted to give the opportunity to people working at PML to do something different in their day-to-day work and interact with students.”

“My reward was to hear that I might have helped inspired some of the participants to consider marine science as a career. It was great to see students passionately engaging to solve practical issues and working in teams to find creative solutions to unexpected problems. It took me by surprise how they quickly covered the equipment with their own lab coats when a sudden spell of rain risked on damaging the equipment, and also their resilience when the rain persisted and they did not give up. But then, I come from the south of Spain and I’m still not used to the British rain, even after 20 years!”

Keep a look out for news about the next work experience opportunity in Autumn 2023.

Feedback from the students included:

“Thank you so much for your guidance and kindness throughout this week. I have thoroughly enjoyed working with you and it’s people like you, in your line of work that really inspire me to pursue this.”

“Thanks for putting together an interesting and enjoyable week!”

“Thank you for the work experience, it was an incredible week and we loved it.”

“Thanks you for all your help and effort in arranging this experience for us. I’m very honoured to have been a part of this pilot and I hope future attendees will enjoy it as much as I have”

Dr Frances Hopkins talking about her career path
Equipment demonstration
Puzzling over NEXUS Island
Outside demonstrations
Rain stops play