Trainee Bioinformatician at Unilever

Start Date:
Programme Type:
Review Date:
June 2020

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


As a Trainee bioinformatician a typical day involves data analysis and writing scripts in R and python to help analyse and visualize the data. My modules for university last one week, so I attend university for a week at a time for the specific modules. I also use one day on my working week to work on any assignments.

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


Before starting this apprenticeship I didn't have much coding and biological data analysis skills. So far in my apprenticeship I have learnt a variety of programming skills and languages, Java, Javascript, Python, R and web development (CSS,HTML). I have been able to use these skills learnt in my current job role allowing me to develop these skills further. I have also learnt the fundamental tasks of bioinformatician which I did not know previously such as next generation sequencing and alignment.

3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?


I have enjoyed this programme so far, bioinformatics is a growing and exciting area to be in at the moment. I genuinely enjoy the department I am part of so its exciting to be working on projects and using my newly learned skills to help. I also really appreciate how flexible and relaxed the work place environment is.

4. How well organised/structured is your programme?


The apprenticeship programme is well organised, the degree fits in nicely for students that are part time/ doing a mastership, as each module is run for a week and there is sufficient time to complete assignments and work full time. You have the ability to choose the number of modules and which ones you want to take each year of the 2 year course so I am able to spread out the modules to avoid overlapping modules and coursework which works well. I am able to track my apprenticeship evidence and log it with a system provided by the university which is also helpful. The university also provides sessions to help with the completion of the apprenticeship logging. I also have lots of support from my line manager and team, I am able to go to them for any help I may need and support.

5. How much support do you receive from your employer?


I am very happy with the support available from my employer. I have regular catch ups with my line manager and he is very supportive. These catch ups provide me with an opportunity to share how I am doing and allow me to ask any questions I may have. There is also a team of apprentices group organised making it easy to find people who are like you and you can reach out to them for support or non work related issues

6. How much support do you receive from your training provider when working towards your qualifications?


There is good support from the training provider, I am able to email and go to lecturers for any extra help I may need for assignments as I have done before. As mentioned you attend modules alongside full time students so you can get support from students on the course too. the teaching at the university is good and there are pHD students available and eager to help support during the teaching of the course

7. How well do you feel that your qualification (through your training provider) helps you to perform better in your role?


The Msc. Bioinformatics has really helped me in the work projects I am part of. I have learnt the skills and I am now able to put them to put them to work on a day to day basis at my role. For example, Python and R are programming languages I wasn't sufficient in before but learning them at university has really aided me in the data analysis and visualization work I do for my role.

8. Are there extra-curricular activities to get involved in at your work? (For example, any social activities, sports teams, or even professional networking events.)


There are so many extra curricular activities to get involved in at Colworth from singing to sports. There are many societies just like at university that you can be a part off and join in the sessions in your lunchtime.There are also special events that take place throughout the year such as nature events and mindfulness which I have been able to go to.Plus there is also a group of apprentices that organises social events outside of work

9a. Would you recommend Unilever to a friend?


9b. Why?

I’m so happy that I chose this route. I’m very lucky to be getting a masters degree without the student debt, others should definitely consider it. I think that apprenticeships are an amazing way to gain invaluable experience whilst furthering your education. They’re such a great way of gaining qualifications and experience. There are lots of benefits working for this company plus I believe at Unilever there are lots of opportunities to develop your career such as working on different projects and interacting with other teams.

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

Make sure you do your research about the company and the core values. Make sure you be yourself and follow your interests to ensure that you find the best role for you. Try and get some work experience to build confidence in the world of work and your team work skills.

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