What does your current role involve and how did you end up with your current job?
I completed my pre-registration year in hospital, and had an absolutely fantastic experience. However, I have always been interested in all sectors of pharmacy and had summer placement experience in community, hospital and industry as an undergraduate. One of the things I love most about pharmacy is the variety of career routes and options available to you post-qualification. With this in mind, I decided early on during my pre-registration training to keep an open mind about my next steps and spent time looking at lots of different opportunities including various hospital band 6 positions, community locum opportunities and PhD opportunities.
The opportunity that stood out most for me however was the Pharmaceutical Development Graduate Programme at AstraZeneca. This graduate scheme was advertising places specifically for pharmacists, chemists and chemical engineers on a two year rotational programme and was open to anyone who had graduated within the last two years. I completed an online application form, and then was invited to a fairly intense assessment centre day at the Macclesfield site before being selected for one of the three UK places.
I have been with the company for just over six months now, and so far have loved every second of it. My programme is structured so that I will undertake three 8 month rotations in different areas of Pharmaceutical Development and my first placement is within Supply Chain Study Management. This is a really exciting and varied role, which I had absolutely no knowledge of before I joined the scheme. It uses a lot of skills that we develop as pharmacy students and pre-registration trainees including the ability to communicate well with a wide variety of people, pull together information from different sources to make decisions and work quickly, but safely and efficiently in a high pressured environment. I am also enjoying being at the clinical end of the company supply chain, directly supplying the study drug to our clinical trials. It has allowed me to feel like I am still in touch with the patients, and helps remind me of why I have come to work for the pharmaceutical industry. What I love most about my current role is the variety of experiences that my programme offers me.
What advice would you give to students who would like a similar role in the future, and about their pharmacy career in general?
If I could give three pieces of advice to current students and pre-registration trainees it would be:
1. Make sure you remain positive and have a good attitude, even if you are undertaking tasks that you don’t necessarily find that exciting. A good attitude and positive outlook will serve you much better in the long run than complaining about your current situation, and far more opportunities will be offered to you if you are enthusiastic.
2. Keep your options open, and don’t rule anything out. There are so many opportunities as a pharmacist, some of which you won’t even know exist until you find yourself there.
3. Make the most of your pre-registration training year and your tutor, ask lots of questions and listen to the answers!