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Summer work placement pays dividends for Tees Valley student

Summer work placement pays dividends for Tees Valley student


Civil engineering student Lauren Skidmore is to be employed two days a week by the Materials Processing Institute following a successful summer work placement, part of her Millman Scholarship.

The 28-year-old, who returned to education following an eight year break, can structure the part-time work around her Teesside University studies.

Lauren, who was recently accepted onto an integrated Master’s degree, said the additional income is extremely welcome while the experience she continues to gain at the Institute supports her academic studies.

Over the summer she has been part of the Sustainable Industry Group and was involved in the innovative Cement 2 Zero project which is seeking to scale up the world’s first zero emission cement from laboratory to pilot plant.

The Institute was so impressed by the contribution she made during her first summer work placement that mentor Project Manager Sam Bell offered her two days paid work per week.

Lauren, from Skelton, near Guisborough, said: “It’s a huge opportunity to continue to gain practical experience whilst being involved in cutting edge research. I’ve really enjoyed being part of the team while the Institute is supportive and flexible, allowing me to fit my hours around child care and studies.

“I’m interested in decarbonisation and sustainability and working here has allowed me to gain a much greater insight and understanding.”

Currently in her first year as a Millman scholar, she added: “It’s been really valuable to see practical applications of things we are learning about in text books or lectures.”

Established by the Materials Processing Institute, in conjunction with the Worshipful Company of Armourers and Brasiers, the annual scholarship is awarded to a deserving candidate from the Tees Valley who is either planning to, or has started, a materials, science, or engineering-related degree.

Participants benefit from the Institute’s world-leading facilities and expertise in the fields of advanced materials, industrial decarbonisation, the circular economy and digital technologies.

Scholars receive an annual £1,500 bursary for the duration of their degree, paid summer placement, mentoring support, and an invitation to attend an annual postgraduate research symposium. In addition, the student can call upon further support if they carry out a masters’ level project.

Fellow Millman scholar Billy Quartermain, 21, from Redcar, who is studying a physics degree at the University of York, was mentored by Richard Birley, Group Manager for Advanced Materials during his summer work placement. He has also been involved in the Cement 2 Zero project.

He said: “The scholarship and summer work placement has been invaluable in helping me develop skill sets that supports my academic studies as well as helping me decide the direction of my future career.”

Chris McDonald, CEO of the Materials Processing Institute, said: “The Millman Scholarship is testament to our commitment to nurture the brightest talents in materials, science and engineering within the Tees Valley. Beyond the financial support, it fosters the opportunity to excel academically, professionally, and personally."

“I am delighted that Lauren’s scholarship has resulted in her taking up part time work. As an organisation we are committed to extending the benefits of flexible working, particularly when it enables talented individuals like Lauren to gain greater access to work.”

Applications are open for the 2024 Millman Scholarship. For further details visit


Photo caption: Millman scholars Billy Quartermain and Lauren Skidmore pictured during their paid summer work placement at the Materials Processing Institute

In the News....

15 September 2023