1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
My apprenticeship title is a chemistry laboratory analyst. I work in the quality department at my site and am in the process of taking over stability for the site. Stability is the process in which confirms products shelf life. I have to make sure each product is run on stability and has analytical and microbiological tests performed at appropriate time points throughout the study.
On a daily basis I receive and send samples that are to be tested internally by the chemistry laboratory or externally. I have to set up protocols for each stability study and product so that the correct testing is performed.
Each day I have to interact with the lab and external companies that I have to inform about our studies.
I have requests from people on site about stability studies that need to be set because of certain changes to a product. I also get requests from different markets e.g. Mexico, informing the site that they need certain data for a product so stability studies need to be initiated.
Communication is key in my role, so on a daily basis I have to keep in contact via email, meetings, phone etc.
2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
I have learnt a lot of new skills internally via training courses. A lot of the skills I have learnt are about complying with the companies procedures, or computer systems. My Excel and computer skills have increased a lot. I have been able to learn from my colleagues in the team I work in and by taking up new opportunities when they arise. My confidence has has boosted a lot, as I have had to present and host meetings on a daily basis. I have also taken part in a few careers events which has help me feel more comfortable when talking to big crowds.
3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
I enjoy working within the quality team. My colleagues are so friendly and everyone on site is willing to help. I really like how flexible my apprenticeship programme can be, as the manager encourages me to try out new areas to increase my skill set. No 2 weeks are the same, new challenges always arise, so I am constantly learning. My university work can also be quite flexible as a lot of the assignments are based around the work place, so I can tailor them to my needs, or try a project on an area that I am interested in or want to develop more.
4. How valued do you feel by GSK?
The company makes me feel really valued as I am treated like a full time employee. I am praised for my work, and encouraged when appropriate. The company increases my pay every 6 months as I am learning more. I am entitled to all bonuses and benefits supplied by GSK. Some of the benefits include private health care and share reward scheme.
5. How well organised/structured is your programme?
My programme is very well organised for my university work. I have a set plan for the year and the tutors release the work in stages. A lot of the university work is on line, so a lot of systems and effort is out into making sure I get the correct information. At work my programme is well structured. I have tasks to complete that are set out during an accountability meeting every morning. Every week I have a selected day to complete my university work. I have meetings with my manager to review my progress and where I want to head in the future.
6a. How much support do you receive from your training provider?
My tutors also give me plenty of support. I have all contact methods for my tutors, so I am always able to get hold of them. My tutors supply me with the course material and notify constantly about updates or information I need. My tutors are always happy to help, they want to guide me through, so that I can achieve the best out of my course. If I have any problems my tutors are available through contact methods, or if the work has been a struggle they give me an on line seminar ad go though the work in detail.
6b. How much support do you receive from your employer?
I receive a lot of support from work. My manager or team are always on hand to help me if I am struggling with work load. If no one n my team is able to help, they can always direct me to some one else on site who is an expert. My manager is always very positive. My manager is keen to be involved and likes to check up on me regularly. He likes to support anything I want to try within the workplace.
7. How well does your salary/package meet your costs?
My salary is a great starting salary for an apprentice. It matches what I was earning in my job before I started my apprenticeship. I am able to live away from home, pay rent and bills and eat sufficiently. I am earning enough to go to social activities regularly and travel to see friends and family.
My salary increases every 6 months and I also get bonuses, which is great as I can start saving as well.
8. Are there many opportunities outside of work?
There are a lot of events going on outside of work. I have been to a lot of careers events and with the apprenticeship scheme, you get to go on trips/team building activities every year. GSK also host a lot of events like colour runs, for the charity orange united. After work I also attend a yoga class run by another colleague. There are a lot of young people at work so we arrange social activities. We are also invited to the industrial placement students activities and get to join in with them as well. We recently went for a meal and to an activity called oxygen free jumping with them. I am also attending a boat party they have arranged in the summer. Locally there is a lot of leisure and sport activities. I go to a lot of the activities hosted at one of the leisure centres. I am based on the out skirts of London so am never short for activities, as there is always some event happening and a lot of the attractions there are free.
9a. Would you recommend GSK to a friend? *
9b. Why? *
I would recommend GSK as I think it is such a great opportunity, because you gain experience from a worldwide known company. You are also earning while learning, so do not have any debts. GSK has so many benefits that are available to employees. They include you in all activities and encourage you to develop further. GSK also allows you to try new things, there are so many areas including a whole range of apprenticeships that you can apply. You are able to visit other sites to see different areas of the company.
10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to GSK? *
I would advise future applicants to apply as early as possible. Researching the company is a main priority. When I interviewed for liked to know your knowledge of the company to show that you had an interest in the position. Practise interview questions and have answers ready, so you don’t panic or stop during the interview. It’s better to come across confident. Be patient the application process can take up too months at a time. Practice on line testing when given the option or if you are able to find websites that allow you to do so.
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