Paula Smith

Paula Smith


We use a lot of practical science in our jobs. We have to know about different product standards and different chemicals so we can use them safely.

Paula is a site manager – she’s in charge of a talented group of cleaners that #TeamScience relies on to keep the laboratory, clean, safe and running smoothly.

What do you do in your job?

My team and I look after lots of different parts of the site – from the window cleaning to waste and feminine hygiene, making sure there are no pests and making sure everything is clean. This includes in any communal areas like the gym!

I bring it all together – we have to have rotas and routines to make sure that we can get everything done, and to plan for big events and functions in terms of my team’s availability and extra staff.

If you had to summarise the impact your job has on everyday life – what would you say in two sentences?

It’s like my second home here – I really keep it running. I worry when I have to go on holiday, and don’t like leaving for more than a week at a time. I like to make sure that everyone has everything they need and nothing is going to crop up.

What’s the best thing about your job?

Every day is different – it’s so versatile. I wouldn’t want to do the same thing every day. I like blitzing something and doing a really deep clean. If I get bored, I can just go for a walk.

And when I am done for the day I am done. I don’t have a phone, because I couldn’t switch off.

Check out the site where Paula works:

How does your job support the people and the science that happens on site?

If we weren’t here the site just wouldn’t work. If there is an event we need to look at the venues, check that it is clean, and see if we will need any support to make sure it is fit for purpose. Like the catering staff, people have to check with us as part of their event planning.

What is it like working in a facility like Daresbury?

I really love it. I’ve been very lucky, because I like all of it. I get to be hands on and help out, and I get to make my own schedule. A lot of that I have picked up over time.


What did you study at school?

I went back to college when I was 25 to study catering because I really loved cooking. Catering and cleaning really go hand-in-hand. I worked here for a while, and then I took a position at another job. Then, someone left, and I was head-hunted for this job.

How do you use science in your job?

We use a lot of practical science in our jobs. We have to know about different product standards and different chemicals so we can use them safely.

Like science in a lab, we have methods that we have to follow and standards that we have to keep to. This means that our work is all up to scratch, and complies with different regulations.

What five top tips would you have for people wanting a job like yours?

  • It’s good to be interested and invested in the place you work – it will make your job more satisfying
  • Start at the bottom and work your way up – it’s no good coming in and expect to start supervising. You have to know about the job
  • Have a good team around you – I know I can rely on everyone in my team to rally round and help out when they are needed
  • Everyone is in this job for different reasons – some people find it really satisfying, others like it because it fits in with their home life
  • Go with the flow – I have been here for 25 years, and I have never had two days the same. Some days are more hassle than others, but you just have to do your job. Working hard and learning to prioritise helps
  • Do things as quick as you can – this is a big site, and there is a lot to do. We work hard and then we go home

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