Manufacturing Apprentice at GSK

Start Date:
Barnard Castle
Programme Type:
Apprenticeship - Advanced Level (Level 3)
£20,000 annually
Review Date:
May 2016

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1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:


I am a manufacturing operator working in oral tablet manufacture. I currently work in film coating, this is where compressed tablets are sprayed with a liquid. I am responsible for the manufacture of this liquid, setting up the machines, monitoring the spray guns and reconciliation of the batches.

2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?


I am currently working towards a Level 3 NVQ in chemical processing. Within this I have developed my chemistry, physics and maths skills. I have also learnt about mixing and blending, and different valves used in the manufacture of chemicals. Within my on the job training I have learnt numerous new skills, including the setting up, running and maintenance of machinery, the importance of quality control and various manufacture skills.

3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?


I love my apprenticeship! I find the work very interesting. It can sometimes be challenging when learning new skills and when faced with problems however for me this all adds to the enjoyment. I love that the job I do helps save millions of lives.

4. How valued do you feel by GSK?


I feel very valued at GSK. They give me a lot of responsibility within my role, however if I was ever unsure on something there is a lot of support and guidance available. They constantly tell us how everyone of us working for GSK help to make our patients 'do more, feel better and live longer'.

5. How well organised/structured is your programme?


Generally, my on the job training is great. However sometimes I may feel my training has been 'forgotten about'. In this case, I make my own plan and present it to my manager and he does all he can to ensure I can follow it by giving me the necessary training and experience needed. The qualification has been very hit and miss. When I first started, there was no course organised for us. We eventually started the NVQ that I am still working towards however we have no course planned for my final year.

6a. How much support do you receive from your training provider?


My experience with our training provider has been quite poor. We have had numerous different tutors, many months without one at all, and sometimes very little contact between them. Luckily most of our course is online so we can still progress with this without much help for the training provider however in my opinion this is poor and could do with some improvement.

6b. How much support do you receive from your employer?


I believe GSK give me a lot of support. Whenever I have raised issues with managers they have been resolved fairly quickly without causing any further issues. If I want to be a part of projects outside of work e.g. promoting apprenticeships, they accommodate my shifts so I am able to do this. Also, unfortunately I have been quite ill for the last 4 months and I found GSK great at dealing with this. Again they helped with changing my shifts to support me, allowing time off when needed, changing my role at work so that I could manage easier etc. They have been great!

7. How well does your salary/package meet your costs?


I think my wage is brilliant for an apprenticeship! Actually I am earning more than most of my friends who are in normal full-time work. I am currently saving up for a house, which most people wouldn't be able to do whilst on an 'apprenticeship wage'. This also increases every 6 months to go along side how much my training has developed.

8. Are there many opportunities outside of work?


I have been involved in quite a lot of activities out side of work. For example going to GSK house in Brentford and Eskdale community centre with the other apprentices from around the UK. Also I was involved in the big bang fair this year in Birmingham to try and get school children involved in science subjects. I also regularly attending schools and colleges in our area to promote GSK apprenticeships. I love these opportunities.

9a. Would you recommend GSK to a friend? *


9b. Why? *

There is no reason not to. The job is great, the pay is good, it is a good company to work for in terms of pensions and shares etc, and also there is a lot of opportunity to work your way up here rather than always staying in your same job.

10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to GSK? *

Although the application process can take a while (generally about 6 months) don't get too disheartened when you haven't heard anything back yet. They will always let you know whether you have been successful in that part of the process or not. If you make it through to the assessment day just try and act yourself. They know you will be nervous but you just have to try and show them what you have to offer. In group activities, express your point however listen to the other people in the group as well and come up with a good solution together. If you get stuck with anything, or don't understand something, just ask them! That's what they are there for, they want to help you succeed! And good luck if you do apply.

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