We Are Randox | Amy McIlwaine’s Camp Wakonda Story

We Are Randox | Amy McIlwaine’s Camp Wakonda Story

Randox’s Public Relations Executive, Amy McIlwaine, tells us about her time in New York State, working in Camp Wakonda (Homes for the Homeless) 

We’re celebrating the bright and vibrant lives of Randox employees, and the way in which these inspiring individuals have helped to make Randox as great as it is today. Stay up to date with the #WeAreRandox hashtag on Twitter and Instagram to hear more stories.

We were discussing our most inspiring moments with Amy McIlwaine, Public Relations Executive of Randox Laboratories, this week. She told us a story of her time volunteering with children in New York State that we knew we had to share! We hope her story inspires you as much as it did us:
Here is Amy’s story:

“During my years at school and at University I worked as a part-time lifeguard in a local pool.  I’ve always been quite ambitious, so, when the time came to graduate and I decided to do some overseas work, I applied to be Waterfront Director at a camp in New York State, called Camp Wakonda.

When I say the words ‘Summer camp’ to people they usually picture expensive facilities with music suites, maybe some horse stables and jet-skis, with a love-able rogue Joe Jonas lookalike thrown in for good measure, but Camp Wakonda wasn’t quite like that!

Camp Wakonda is a Summer camp that is run by the Homes for the Homeless organisation, and accepts children between 6 and 10 years old who are homeless and living in New York shelters.

The camp has limited resources, cabins with no electricity, and various (sometimes) friendly camp companions such as bears, chipmunks and rattlesnakes (we were in the middle of the woods). Children came to camp with very few belongings – sometimes even without a decent pair of shoes.  But in spite of all that, it’s one of my favourite places on this earth.  Being free from the stresses of everyday life (mind you, working with 90 children at a time brings a different kind of stress!) is wonderfully liberating and living in the middle of nature brings a certain serenity.

Although we had such limited resources, we had the time of our lives!  You learn to be really creative – we had themed days throughout the summer like a Harry Potter banquet, a ‘Fairytales of Wakonda’ pantomime, and even Christmas on the 25th July! That one was probably my favourite – some of the children had never had a real Christmas before.  I’m happy to admit that I welled up when I saw how incredibly excited they were at receiving just one small gift.”

Smiling from ear-to-ear, Amy went on to highlight the importance of the camp she worked in, in offering homeless children from New York the opportunity to just enjoy being kids, and how this inspired her:

“The spirit of the children, and the counsellors, at Camp Wakonda is something that I had not come across before, and have not come across since.  For children who have had such a difficult upbringing, they came to camp with the biggest smiles on their faces, and the smallest things like three hot meals a day meant the world to them. It was great to see them free from the stresses of their unfortunate circumstances. For me, as their swimming teacher, nothing made me smile more than when a child came running up to me shouting ‘Miss Amy, I learned how to float today!’ or when a camper who had been so scared of the water finally got in and had a beaming smile from ear-to-ear when I handed them a swimming certificate. Many of the children had never left the city, and so had never experienced some of the things that we take for granted – like being able to see the stars in the sky at night.

I lived and worked in Wakonda for three months during 2014, and went back again in 2015, as Unit Leader of the older girl’s unit.  I was responsible for counselor training, and the welfare of both the girl campers and the female counselors. When you’re practically working 24/7 for three months, the children become your entire life – everything that you do is with their needs in mind. Because of this, the children are so grateful of the time and attention that the counselors give them.

The work that Homes for the Homeless does for those kids is amazing, it really makes a difference to their lives, and I’m so glad that I have been part of it.”

Find out more about Camp Wakonda in this NY 1 News coverage video, here.

Randox wouldn’t be the innovative and caring healthcare company it is today without the hard work of young people with fresh perspectives and world experience like Amy – so we’re delighted that she has brought her enthusiasm to our team! We hope her story inspired you to take part in your community through volunteering. For us, we never stop. We’re helping to improve healthcare and diagnostics through consistent hard work, because for us, this means saving lives.

If you’re looking for a career in Business, Science or Engineering, let Randox be the next step in your adventure!

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram or stay up-to-date with the hashtag #WeAreRandox. Visit our website to view our careers opportunities at Randox Laboratories.


We Are Randox | Omagh Speed Networking promotes careers in STEM

We’re sure you’ve heard of “Speed Dating”, but what about “Speed Networking”? Randox’s R&D Scientist, Dr. Dwaine Vance tried it out to spread the word about Randox Careers in STEM!

Dr Dwaine Vance visited Omagh High School to represent Randox Careers. He sat down with us, and we discussed the importance of the event. Dr. Vance told us:

On Wednesday the 15th June I represented Randox Careers at a ‘speed networking’ event at Omagh High School. This involved groups of students moving from one employer stand to the next for a 5 minute ‘mini network’. There was two sessions during the morning involving GCSE level pupils. The aim of the ‘speed networking’ event was to provide pupils with opportunities to meet local Northern Irish companies within the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) sectors, of which Randox Laboratories play a pivotal role.

We, at Randox, want to inspire students to think about their own career plans and to allow them to gather information about the local job market. By doing this, we’re also giving them the opportunity to be aware of the jobs that are available and the importance of STEM related subjects,  as well as letting them see how employers value their other curriculum subjects and their personal skills and attributes.   My objective as a employee of Randox was to showcase a range of careers for all abilities within the company with a focus on STEM careers e.g. science and engineering.

The importance of spreading awareness of the opportunities in science and engineering from a young age is imperative, as many students are unaware of the vast range of differentiation in different careerpaths, stemming from one subject or degree class. Dr. Dwaine Vance went on to discuss the events of the networking conference:

As part of each ‘mini network’ I provided students with a brief overview of Randox. Students were given the opportunity to watch videos depicting our expertise and to ask questions about how their interests could be incorporated within Randox. The training department at Randox provided me with pop-up stands, recruitment pathway brochures, merchandise e.g. pens, stopwatches, mug coasters and even Biochip Array Technology key rings!

Overall the students gained a good knowledge of Randox, they were particularly keen to learn about the local and global opportunities available at Randox. In addition, students were keen to know more about the veterinary aspect of Randox. It was comforting to discover that the majority of pupils had previous knowledge of the Randox brand from the press (as we have recently experienced a great boost in brand visibility through Grand national sponsorship), Randox health (television adverts) and Confidante (local radio stations).

The pupils at Omagh High School were keen to ask me about my role within the company and what my day to day roles and responsibilities are. I was happy to provide students with my research and development activities and they were interested to hear that I was involved in the development of a genetic test that aims to predict your future risk of heart disease by investigating your own DNA.

At Randox I am part of a small team of experienced research scientists that are developing a genetic risk prediction test for heart disease and myocardial infarction. This test aims to simultaneously genotype 20 genetics variants that have been previously associated with increased risk of heart disease. This Randox molecular test is in collaboration with leading University academics and will help reduce the burden of heart disease throughout the world by providing an accurate risk assessment of disease so personalised treatment can be provided to those who require it most. To quote Randox Health, “Prevention is better than cure”.

From everyone at the Randox Careers team and from Dr. Dwaine Vance, we’d like to thank Omagh High School for inviting us to attend this incredibly beneficial Speed Networking event, where we feel we have truly impacted the young minds of tomorrow. We look forward to the future of diagnostics, with you!

Dr Dwaine Vance at Omagh High School to promote Careers in STEM
Dr Dwaine Vance, pictured with Mrs. Paula Burns, teacher and Head of Careers at Omagh High School at STEM event

Careers Tips | Simple Tips to Prepare for That Dreaded Presentation!

Have you been asked to make a presentation as part of a job interview? No need to worry!

The word “presentation” can strike fear and panic into anyone, but you can overcome a mild case of Glossophobia in just 6 simple steps!

 

1. Find Your Technique!

Everybody’s different. Therefore, no one’s preparation or presentation techniques are the exact same. There are plenty of ways for preparing for presentations. To determine your perfect technique, you need to identify your problems. Get some feedback from peers if you’re not sure! After this, you can use your problem-solving skills to try and find a solution. For example, if you find you panic when you forget words and sentences, learn a much “looser” version of your presentation. Learn your slides back to front, but leave the verbal message up to improv! This may be a much better technique to convey passion, if you know your topic well.

2. Communicate a clear message

One of the main reasons you are making this presentation is to communicate a particular subject or field. Make sure that you know what you’re talking about and focus on the topic at hand. It will make you come across more focused in the eyes of the interviewer.

3. Practice! 

Practice, practice, practice. When you are conducting a presentation that hasn’t been practiced, it’s obvious. Take some time to prepare your presentation beforehand so you have more time to practice. Practice in front of others, they’ll be able to give you feedback to improve your presentation in a way you’ve never thought of before! The more you practice, the more familiar you come with you presentation which will help you eliminate your nerves!

4. Do your research

There’s nothing worse than a candidate making a presentation who hasn’t done their research on the company. Have a look at the company website, read up about the products they sell and the events they take part in. This will impress the interviewers as it looks like you care about the company you’re applying for and that you want to be a part of the organisation.

5. Watch your timing

The last thing you want to do in your presentation is have your interviewers fall asleep. If you feel like you have too much information to get across in a short space of time, don’t worry – it’s better to keep it shorter and more interesting than bombard them with information. Less is more, so a helpful rule to follow when making a presentation is one slide per minute.

6. Deep breaths

Nerves before a presentation are completely normal. Arrive early, drink some water and take deep breaths to calm yourself down. Just remember that pressure can help you perform well!

Randox Careers Presentation Tips Image

Thanks for reading, and good luck!
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Randox Teoranta ‘decks the halls’ as part of major recruitment drive

Global biotechnology firm Randox, is announcing that recruitment for the expansion of its facility in Dungloe is now underway.  In October the company laid out its vision for Randox Teoranta, its cutting-edge life science and engineering centre, which included a major investment of €25m in the site and a jobs boost of almost 500 posts to be filled by 2020.

The first wave of recruitment for #Dungloe2020 has just begun, with the initial focus on electrical, mechanical and software engineers as Dr Peter FitzGerald, Randox MD explains: 

“We are very pleased that the recruitment process is now open for the first of the #Dungloe2020 positions.  At the moment, we are keen to hear from those in life sciences, medical device engineering and software; with a particular focus on Software developers and testers, embedded software engineers, those with backgrounds in mechanical design as well as electronic & electrical engineers.  

Randox Teoranta is a next generation life-sciences and engineering research and manufacturing centre, the site of pioneering research into conditions impacting human health such as alzheimer’s and diseases of the kidneys and liver.  We hope to encourage scientists and engineers returning for Christmas, to consider returning for good to pursue world class careers at home.”

Stiofán Ó Cualáin, CEO, Údarás na Gaeltachta, says they are backing the campaign: 

“We are delighted to hear that Randox Teoranta is now commencing its recruitment campaign following the company’s recent announcement of its expansion plans at its facility in An Clochán Liath. Údarás na Gaeltachta, are pleased to be able support Randox Teo. in this recruitment drive. The people that will be employed in these new jobs will play an important role in the growth and continued development of Randox Teoranta. and we wish the company every success with their campaign.”

Randox Teoranta is holding a ‘drop-in’ morning, Wednesday 24th December during the hours of 0900-1200 for anyone interested in the career opportunities available.  Representatives from the company will be happy to discuss the #Dungloe2020 expansion and recruitment.

For more information on the #Dungloe2020 positions advertised please visit randox.com  or emailrecruitment@randoxteoranta.com


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