Intern Spotlight | James Nightingale

By Protolan

Engineering Project Management Intern, James Nightingale

At Protolan, we are proud to offer graduates the opportunity of practical, hands-on project management and engineering experience within the food manufacturing industry. James is currently 5-months into his Industrial Year Placement from the University of Nottingham, studying MEng Mechanical Engineering. We caught up with him to find out his experiences so far on the Protolan team.

So, James why Protolan?

I discovered Protolan at a University Event where one of my colleagues (a student at the time) was presenting what he had done on his placement year at Protolan. The way he talked about the company culture really caught my attention and made me research a bit more. I love food, so the food/beverage industry just made sense, and I have a lot of experience leading people, and enjoy working in teams, so everything fell into place with Protolan!

And what do you enjoy most about this role?

I get very excited about working in food manufacturing as I love food, and find it so interesting to see how its made. I am currently working on a pet food manufacturing project, which means I get to visit the factory to help manage the project, and there are usually a few dogs at the office (which is great). Being involved in real-world projects, as opposed to university work, is so rewarding and as a placement student in an SME, I get a lot of responsibility to really make an impact.

Describe the Food Manufacturing Industry in one word…


What is one piece of advice you would give to someone just entering the industry?

I have only been in the industry for 5 months, but I would just say that no two projects are the same, and so be prepared to learn something new each day.

Tell us about a project that stands out to you…

As I mentioned, I am working on a pet food project. However, this food is not ordinary dog food, instead its so healthy and good quality that humans taste it every day in the factory canteen! To see raw ingredients be brought in and then the entire process to be carried out in-house is quite something. In 2 minutes, you can literally walk from one end of the line where raw meat and produce are being weighed out, to the other where the final product is loaded into a crate to then be packed ready for the customer.

What strengths have you built on since joining the team?

I have always considered myself a good communicator and team player, however since working on projects I have had to learn how to understand who I am communicating to and what they need to know. I deal with loads of different people, from contractors to high-level clients. Each person needs a different kind of motivation, so I have learnt how to adapt to this.

What interests do you have outside of work?

I love sports. Hockey is my main game that I play, but I also love to watch American football.

To find out more about our Protolan Team click here.

We are passionate about developing new talent and are constantly looking for the next generation of talent to keep Protolan at its best. Click here if you would like to discuss a career in Food and Drink manufacturing.