“I was interested in getting into industry from the beginning of my time with the University. One of the reasons I did Biotechnology as my first degree and not Pharmacy is that I didn’t want to work solely in a community pharmacy, after I researched more, I found out that there are many career options for someone with a Pharmacy degree. The majority of pre-reg students will go into community pharmacy, hospitals etc but after doing some research I found out about industrial placements in the UK with companies such as AstraZeneca, GSK and Pfizer.”
Aleks worked with AstraZeneca in her placement year and is currently studying for her pre-reg with Glaxo Smith-Kline where she will spend 6 months in a patient facing role on a hospital placement and 6 months in industry.
The Pre-registration element of Aleks’ training as a pharmacist includes 76 competencies and an end of year exam she must fulfil to meet General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) requirements to practice. She had a choice to base herself on a research and development site or a global manufacturing site and chose global manufacturing and supply.
“It was a good idea to explore all types of industry because the competition for pharmacists is so tough and it gave me another exciting option to explore.”
Day to Day at GSK she works with a team of pharmacists and pharmaceutical scientists and biologists to name but a few of the professions. They focus on the development of medication that is being developed to treat Cancer. Aleks helps to provide a technical overview and a technical background to the manufacturing process. Her department gives support for the manufacturing of clinical trial drugs to meet quality, safety and validation specifications. They work on the production process for drugs upscaling the production techniques from the laboratory to large scale manufacturing plants.
“Dr Claire Martin arranged some workshops in my 3rd year on the pharmaceutical industry and I attended the Industrial Insights conference for pharmacy and pharmaceutical sciences students to network with representatives from academia and industry. This gave me the opportunity to talk to people from various companies and find out what they were looking for in potential employees.”
“Dr Martin was encouraging too and having worked in industry herself she was able to give advice based on her experience. She told us that it is a job market like any other and we should not shy away from approaching the largest players in the market, we did workshops on cv writing, covering letters, networking, presentation skills and how to market yourself.”
Aleks works with all aspects of the business, coordinating her efforts with colleagues in R&D, product development, Validation and Quality departments giving her a full picture of how a large scale pharmaceutical company works.
In the future Aleks hopes to secure permanent employment with GSK as she explains “they invest a lot in staff development to get the best results for the business. The opportunities to do new exciting work is always there and this work can take you all over the world.”