Industrial Placement Student

  • Biochemical Engineering
  • Bath, University of
  • Placement Year (10 Months+)
  • GSK

Can you briefly describe your role and what you do?

I am a strategy lead responsible for the Quality area within Global Manufacturing and Supply. This involves the development of strategies for each of the key business processes, and driving initiatives where required.

I am currently shaping 2 projects that have the potential to rollout to up to 40 manufacturing sites across the world. It is vital to align any IT system to the business needs, so I work closely with a variety of groups across the world in the business and IT.

“There is a lot to learn but I have always found the level of support and guidance really helpful”

What attracted you to the industry?

A family friend, who works at GSK, recommended that I look at them as an option for my Industrial placement. There were a number of opportunities available just for placement schemes, which excited me because of the potential development areas for the future. The ITDP also appealed to me as it looked like it would be a great way to learn about the different areas of the company, and I was proved right!

What do you enjoy most about it?

It is not always easy to feel that you are helping people on a daily basis, particularly in IT, but the work that GSK does both in the development of their products, and the support they provide to communities is fantastic. I get visibility of the business and genuinely feel that I am helping people to "do more, feel better and live longer".

Industrial Placement Student

What challenges do you/the industry face?

Being a global leader in the pharmaceutical industry we must adhere to multiple regulations to ensure quality of our products. To deliver value, and continue being an effective IT group we support the business by finding ways to help them do their jobs quickly and more effectively. From an individual level, when starting a role in GSK you have to "hit the ground running". There is a lot to learn but I have always found the level of support and guidance really helpful.

What type of skills and characteristics does a student need to succeed within the industry?

GSK is a very diverse company full of opportunity. Being such a large organisation, strong communication skills (both verbal and written) are important. Having good time management, flexibility and organisational skills is also key as work can (and does) vary on a daily basis. Within the roles I have had, good problem solving skills and understanding the importance of effective stakeholder management are also areas that have helped me succeed.

What one piece of advice would you give to students looking to enter the industry?

Placements are only a year, so work hard to achieve as much as you can. GSK uses a Personal Development Plan to document your objectives, and this is a great way to work closely with your manager to not only demonstrate how you have meet these, but also to develop your personal skill set such as confidence, presentation or influencing skills. I would thoroughly recommend a placement year at GSK.

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