Inspiring a New Generation with Work Placements

Posted on May 14, 2019

We were delighted to welcome on board Year 11 Eva Trickett for her two-day work experience at our Customer Solutions Centre at Trafford Park. Eva’s aunt, Dominique Kelly, is our European Microbiologist, and as such keen to show Eva our work and a little of our processes.

After an initial safety induction, we were pleased to partner Eva with her aunt Dominique, to give her an insight into the importance of her work.

Dominique taught her a little about the health and environment risks involved in the use of industrial fluids and how we manage those while ensuring cost-efficient operations. As part of this Eva was given the opportunity to observe bacteria under a microscope and learn how to identify them.

In the process of controlling bacteria populations within metalworking fluids we use biocides, which Eva also got the opportunity to gain an insight into.

Moving on from the Microbiology Lab, Eva was taken into our Technical Services Department. Here two of our budding apprentices, Chloe Ridley and Leanne Smith, took the time to show Eva some of the tests that they perform on soluble cutting fluids used at customer sites.

As a demonstration of the use of a CNC machine our Chemist, Daniel Broadie, programmed the equipment to cut the word ‘Houghton’ into a block of aluminium. Not only was this an opportunity for her to see how the machine operates but also the programming involved.

Keen to pursue a career in engineering, Eva had a chat with our Offshore Technical Co-Ordinator, Kamal Hamdan, about his time studying engineering whilst introducing Eva to some of the equipment he uses as part of his work in fluid mechanics, giving her an insight into what her ambition to study Civil Engineering might entail.

Eva’s time was rounded off with a comprehensive tour of the lab from Gareth Jones, our Laboratory Technical Manager. Gareth was happy to give Eva a taste of some of the chromatography equipment we use to separate components from a mixture in HPLC GC processes.

As Eva was keen to learn more Gareth demonstrated the use of an XRF machine to analyse ring that Eva was wearing at the time, allowing her to know precisely what metals it was composed of.

As a finishing flair, almost literally, Gareth then allowed Eva to see the ICP machine in action, explaining to her that the plasma used inside is the same temperature as our sun.


“Thanks to the Houghton team at our Customer Solutions Centre we have passed the torch, as it were, to a keen engineer. I am intensely proud of all those involved as this kind of education is of such importance to the industry that we love.” Gareth explained.

“Furthermore, I am impressed with Eva’s drive to learn and her fondness for new experiences – I hope to one day to see her training with Houghton staff.”