1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
I am a laboratory analytical apprentice in the biopharmaceutical process. With this role I am completing a degree in bioscience technology. My daily are mainly analysis of samples submitted from colleagues in my department using various techniques and analysis of the results and often compiling this data with other data generated by my colleagues to get an overview of a molecule. I interact with various members of both my team and other teams on a daily basis, and less regularly with professionals from wider in the company and possibly other companies. I attend various meetings, such as those specific to projects I am working on, team meetings and department meetings. Everyday I check my account for any new samples submitted to me or any updates on any of the samples we already have. If I have work in the laboratory I will do this or I may be analysing data from previous experiments. I spend a few hours each week (approximately one day) completing work for my university course and I often shadow other members of the team to broaden my knowledge.
2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
Since starting my course, I have greatly improved my confidence and my ability to work with and communicate with other people. In addition to this, my time keeping and organisational skills have also improved. I have learnt a lot of subject specific knowledge from my university course and also from interacting with my colleagues. I have also developed my skills using various computer software.
3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
I very much enjoy my programme, I feel that there is a perfect balance of responsibility, training and personal development. I do not feel pressured by my workload - I am never overwhelmed, but I am never bored or left without something to be getting on with. I work with a fantastic team and really enjoy working with people and have formed a lot of strong relationships within the team since starting. The culture of the company is very supportive and encouraging. There are a lot of team building events and chances for personal development and although the work can be hard, they inject a lot of fun where possible. The apprenticeship has far exceeded my expectations and I really enjoy working here.
4. How valued do you feel by GSK?
I have fortnightly review meetings with my manager and we discuss my performance and any issues I might have which make me feel as though my work is important to the team. From my very first week here, I was included in team meetings and departmental meetings and the more senior managers made a very active effort to make us feel valued and welcomed. I am involved in a lot of important projects and as my skills develop more I am offered more opportunities to participate in the team meetings and even to present, both of which making me feel incredibly valued.
5. How well organised/structured is your programme?
The course is very well organised. There was a slight struggle at the start to enrol at the university however this was fixed very promptly. I am offered all of the training I need to complete my job and a lot of additional training to help me develop myself. I get plenty of time for studying for my university course - typically I break it down into a few blocks spread over the week and my team are very supportive and ensure I get plenty of time for my studying. My fortnightly meetings with my manager are incredibly helpful to ensure I am staying on track and to speak to my supervisor about any issues I may have and these are always handled very promptly. If I am ever struggling with my workload, my team are great at delegating my tasks and helping out so that nobody is struggling.
6a. How much support do you receive from your training provider?
I have regular contact with my degree leader and he is always accessible if I have any queries, along with a number of other staff at the universities. My tutor is incredibly supportive and does everything possible to provide me with the best support and do what is best for my course.
6b. How much support do you receive from your employer?
I receive a lot of support from my managers and colleagues in work. I was introduced to all of the relative contacts for things such as HR on my first day and they are very accessible for any issues I might have. My direct supervisor and manager, along with the wider senior leadership team are incredibly supportive of my programme and my work.
7. How well does your salary/package meet your costs?
My salary is very good and easily covers all of my expenses. I do not struggle to cover the costs of my travelling and living and still have a very reasonable amount left for leisure spending. In addition to this, there is opportunity for performance based bonuses and pay rises which are a great bonus on my regular salary.
8. Are there many opportunities outside of work?
There are a lot of team building and social events in the department and it has been a great way for me to get to meet people and make new friends. There are also opportunities to visit other GSK sites and departments. As well as team events within the department, there are also social event and team building events within the apprentice network. The site I work on has a gym and a lot of classes and events take place around work. GSK promotes personal development and so there are a lot of opportunities to take part in those kinds of activities outside of your usual workday.
9a. Would you recommend GSK to a friend? *
9b. Why? *
I have really enjoyed working here so far, and it has already greatly improved my personal skills and my knowledge. I think that the company is a great place to work and that the apprenticeship scheme is very well organised and a great opportunity.
10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to GSK? *
The application process is very thorough, so be sure to take your time but don't get disheartened! Following the online application process is an assessment centre day, typically consisting of an interview, a team exercise, a practical session and a presentation. The most important piece of advice here is just to be yourself! Don't stress too much, and be sure to really show the recruitment team on the day your passion for the company and the scheme; it's good to have researched both of these before you get that far! The first week of work is busy - a lot of training, a lot of introductions and a lot to take in. But the department will make you feel more than welcome and will provide you with everything you need for a comfortable start to the programme. You will be offered a lot of opportunities over your time and the most important piece of advice is just to take up every offer you get - the more you take part in, the better. I would like to have been told to stress less and to ask more questions as this took me a while to grasp in my first few weeks.
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