work as part of a small team of dedicated scientists within drug product design
using spectroscopy to gain a better understanding of the interactions that take
place within a drug product between the active ingredient (the drug) and the
excipients. Ultimately my responsibility is to monitor the physical stability
of the active ingredient to ensure it does not change at all when in the drug
beginning my apprenticeship I had a level 3 extended forensic science diploma.
am doing a 5 year higher laboratory scientist apprenticeship; on completion I
will have a bachelor’s degree in chemistry.
A lot of my work involves removing samples from the
stability ovens at pre-determined time points and analysing them in the
laboratory. This means that every morning whilst I check my emails I check my
calendar to see what, if anything, is due for analysis that day. I also make
note of any meetings I am due to attend that day so I can make sure I arrange
my work plan around those. In tandem to my drug product work I also assist with
forensic investigations, providing support across the whole of the site. These
investigations are high priority and time critical. It is important I am on
alert with my emails to ensure that if a forensic request comes through I am
able to make that my top priority and get it done quickly and accurately.
the industry as an apprentice really was the time that my career began. I have
developed tremendously in the past 2 ½ years and the prospect of how much
further I can go in the next 2 ½ years is really exciting to me. I have had the
opportunity to network with some truly remarkable scientists and give
presentations of my work and my experiences to a whole host of audiences. My
confidence to speak publicly and manage my time effectively to plan my own work
is constantly growing.
am currently studying for a bachelor’s degree in chemistry at the university of
feel extremely lucky to have landed in the position I currently I am. When
studying my course at college, it soon became clear that I excelled in the
chemistry aspects of the course and I loved being in the laboratory. This
combined with the fact I didn’t want to go to university resulted in me
applying for an apprenticeship in the pharmaceutical industry – best thing I
I work independently when performing my analysis in the laboratory.
However all the work I carry out is as part of a project team. This project
team focuses on one particular drug and working together as a team we aim to
move the drug through the design phase. We have weekly meetings allowing all
members of the team to feedback to one another what we have done that week and
to discuss/plan the actions for the following week. Working as part of a team
has demonstrated to me how important good communication is for efficient and
effective work flow.
really is an amazing social atmosphere both inside and outside of the
workplace, not only with the professionals but amongst the apprentices on site
too. I am part of a 3 person team that is referred to as the “social committee”;
we take it upon ourselves to arrange social events for all the apprentices
outside work hours. There has been amazing feedback surrounding the social
committee and we have succeeded in ensuring everyone feels involved as part of
biggest accomplishment since beginning my career was giving a very personal
presentation about my journey and experience as an apprentice. This
presentation was in London to an 81 person audience filled with seasoned
professionals. I received overwhelmingly positive feedback after my
presentation and was described as “outstanding” and “inspirational”.
completion of my apprenticeship I will be considering whether or not I wish to
pursue my academia in the form of a masters or PhD, or whether I would like to
enter the industry as an employee.
think to be an apprentice the biggest skills are dedication and the willingness
to learn. It is not easy juggling university and a full time job. However if
you are dedicated and willing to learn then the benefits one reaps from the
experience far out-weigh the stress. It really is a case of you receive what
you put in with apprenticeships; it’s important to seize all the opportunities
available to you.
would advise them to do their research and reach out to enquire. The
pharmaceutical is a vast and diverse industry. There are so many different
areas that make up the industry, some of which may appeal to someone more than
others. I think it is wise to have some sort of idea of how the industry works
and which part of the process they would like to be involved in.
Attracted by an advertisement for apprentices I decided to join the company’s work-based degree scheme rather than going straight to university.