1. Did you go straight into your Apprenticeship from school?
I started my apprenticeship after completing my A- levels in Biology, Chemistry and Physics at City of Oxford College.
2. Why did you choose to do an Apprenticeship?
After doing my exams, I wasn’t sure if my results were going to be good enough to do the degree I wanted (Biomedical Science). The University of Brighton gave me a conditional offer and I had to get BBC in my A-levels. After results day, I met the requirements and I was accepted in University but I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to afford to go to University and live far from home.
I thought an Apprenticeship would be the best way for me to achieve another level 3 qualification while learning and working in the industry. I want to continue my career in science so the Clinical BioManufacturing Facility offered me the opportunity to study while working in an environment where vaccines are manufactured.
3. How did you find out about your Apprenticeship?
I found about the apprenticeship by searching in the Gov's website
4. What have you gained from your Apprenticeship – skills, experience etc.?
I’ve received many training sessions on different topics, for example:
- Basic GMP(Good Manufacturing Practice) training both internal and by an external company
- Good Documentation Practice course
- Various Health and Safety training courses: Manual Handling, Risk Assessment, Gas Safety, Cryogenic Liquid Safety, Chemical and COSHH Safety.
- Theory behind Immunostaining Assay
I’ve also attended many lectures from research groups such as the Jenner Institute, NDM Research group… These have been very informative and they recommended good material to read about their research. I’ve gained experience on how to use certain chemicals, how to deal with unexpected situations in a correct manner, how to communicate with external contractors and how to use scientific language to communicate information. I’ve gained confidence through working alongside with different teams such as Quality Control, Process Development, Quality Assurance and Production. I’ve learnt how to communicate in a concise and professional manner. I’ve learnt how to carry out routine checklists and how to act if something is out of specification.
5. What has been your proudest moment so far from doing your Apprenticeship?
Being able to participate in activities such as work fairs and talk to students about the benefits of becoming an apprentice as well as sharing my experience with them.
6. What do you plan to do next?
I’d like to complete my Apprenticeship and if possible join a Degree level Apprenticeship or attend University and study a Biomedical Science Degree.
7. How will your/has your Apprenticeship helped you to achieve this?
It will help me gain the experience I need to apply for a higher level Apprenticeship and it will help me get the grades I require to go to university.
8. What advice would you give a young person who might be thinking about an Apprenticeship?
I would say it’s a great opportunity to learn and gain a qualification while you are gaining experience in the working industry. You become more employable because you’ll have years of experience. You also gain really important transferable skills that can help you on a day to day basis, such as critical thinking and problem solving skills.
I found that while doing my A-levels it was a bit hard to remember certain procedures just by reading them in the textbook, and I realised that work experience made my learning easier. I would definitely recommend becoming an apprentice because you can learn while you’re carrying out the job and earn money.
9. What advice would you give an employer who is considering employing an Apprentice?
I would say make the apprentice feel welcome and feel comfortable in the work place. Take time to train them in all the areas required and be supportive.
- One of the most important things that I’ve learnt while working in a GMP environment and I believe it applies to most work places is to own up to your mistakes. Be honest and let someone know if you’ve made a mistake or if something didn’t go as expected. It’ll be easier to solve the issue straight away with help than trying to cover it and lie about it.
- I would also say be active and have initiative. If you know that something needs to be done, start doing it. Don’t sit around and wait for someone else to ask you to complete the task.
- If you think someone needs help, offer them a hand. It’s always good to work as a team
Be honest and let someone know if you’ve made a mistake or if something didn’t go as expected.
Update March 2021: Since completing her level 3 apprenticeship, Emilia has gone on to the level 5 Technician Scientist apprenticeship with the University of Kent.