Assisting global studies in a UK setting running from phases I to IV within high profile compounds treating Breast Cancer, Chronic Lymphocytic Leukaemia, diabetes, gastroenterology and ophthalmology including challenging and complex 3 arm oncology studies.
• Regular communication with principle investigators, research nurses and study coordinators regarding safety reporting, study materials and invoices.
• Management of a number of working groups including being the system lead of a repository system for CCTAs and a project in recruiting Industrial Placement Students.
• Exposure to interviewing for job roles from Clinical Trial Assistants to Clinical Research Associates.
• Organisational committee for a departmental offsite meeting involving over 150 people and other events.
• Worked on teams who experienced a transition from insourced monitoring to a FSP model. Here, I gained some experience with the working model of a large CRO.
• Working with an electronic TMF archive (CDC). I reorganised the TMF for a number of studies in preparation of regulatory inspection.
• With direction of the country study manager; chairing, arranging, minuting and actioning local study management meetings.
• Customising and localising global patient facing documents for use in the UK study sites.
• Distribution, version control and tracking of confidential study documents to site; Protocols, IBs, Safety Reports, Lab manuals, Patient Information Sheets, Informed Consent Forms etc.
• Mentoring of CCTAs, including outsourced in-house CRO CCTAs.
• Training others in the UK Safety Responsible role, this enabled me to contribute in the creation of a local SOP and crib sheet for safety reporting.
• Management of Business Object Reports (metrics) through CTMS to reflect individual study needs and timelines.
1. To what extent did you enjoy your work placement or internship?
I worked as a Country Clinical Trial Assistant (CCTA) within the Country Clinical Operations (CCO) group. I woke up on Monday mornings not dreading going into work, the environment at the workplace was enjoyable. The placement offered excellent opportunities such as additional training where desired alongside great job benefits such as a quality gym and regular celebrity guest speakers. (Not to mention team building days, formals and brilliant Christmas parties!)
2. To what extent did you feel valued by your colleagues?
Everyone in the office was incredibly approachable. This was the first time I was living away from home and university and my immediate team felt like family while I was away.
At the placement I was a crucial member of the study team and my colleagues relied on me to complete tasks. It felt fantastic to make a real difference and celebrate when successes were made.
3. To what extent were you given support and guidance by management/your supervisor(s)?
Regular one to one meetings with my line manager meant that she soon understood where I wanted to go with my career and she fully facilitated training to support my aims.
4. How busy were you on a daily basis?
My working hours were relatively flexible, I was able to take long lunches to use the on-site gym if I chose to.
I quickly learnt that work within clinical comes in peaks and troughs and the office hours tended to reflect this. However, managers are encourage you to share your work if you are busy, I never worked more than 45 hours in a week.
5. How much responsibility were you given during your placement?
You are left to your own devices to complete tasks on time and you can almost take on as much responsibility as you seemed to desire. I really enjoyed being part of project management teams and I even honed my skills by taking part in a 2-day project management course provided by the company.
6. To what extent did/will the skills you developed, and training you received, assist you in your degree studies and beyond?
The skills and contacts I made on placement year have allowed me to access a fantastic graduate job in the field. The lessons I learnt at Roche will stay with me and have helped me in my current role and in my final year at university.
7. What was the general atmosphere in your office?
My colleagues in the office quickly became my friends during my placement. We arranged regular office outings outside of work and ate lunch together, I still keep in touch with a number of them and I miss the office laughs!
Employees outside of our department were as approachable too - meeting at the company badminton team, in the gym or at functions, I was able to network in fields I knew relatively little about, even securing a few shadowing placements.
8. How well organised was the overall work placement or internship set up?
The industrial placement remained flexible for your needs but you did have a job title which other full-time employees shared. In that respect, you had goals which were governed by the clinical trials on which you worked.
My year was well organised in the fact that I was well trained in an area before a task was expected of me - the company doesn't spoon feed you but I was always confident in what to do when the task was laid in front of me and if not, help was always at hand.
9. In terms of personal training and development, to what extent did the company or firm invest in you?
I was able to extend my 12 month industrial placement to 15 months to take advantage of the additional training the company were investing in me which allowed me to achieve the understanding in the field to access the graduate position I currently hold.
Roche pharmaceuticals firmly believe in employee development without expectation that you return to the company and this allows you to mould your placement to suit your desires.
10. What were the perks on your work placement?
Sports and Social Club
Staff Sales/Staff Shop
Above 25 days holiday
Working from home
11. How appealing are future employment prospects within the organisation?
Employment prospects at Roche pharmaceuticals are fantastic, most of the previous students currently work with Roche in some capacity all of which are doing very well indeed.
This is a fantastic company to work for and the employee retention speaks volumes. The pharmaceutical business is forever changing providing new opportunities, science and exciting challenges.
The bonus of working for a big pharma, like Roche, is that career opportunities within the business are vast - no matter what your experience or goals.
12. Was there a good social scene amongst any fellow placement students/colleagues?
Roche take on a small group of students to allow focus to be given (around 3 for the department and 20 across the business) but efforts are made to introduce the students to one another.
Colleagues within the business are very social however and outings were regularly organised.
You are not considered students by colleagues.
13. What was the cost of living and socialising in the area you worked in?
I paid £400 for rent and the price of a pint was £3.
Working within commuting distance of London, I was very happy with how much I actually managed to save while on placement - this certainly is a well-paid placement!
Being so close to London and around so many villages provided you with plenty of socialising options.
14. What was the Nightlife like in the area you worked?
If living closeby work the nightlife in Welwyn Garden City leaves a little to be desired - the town is picturesque and primarily for the older generation. I really enjoyed the relaxing environment and with a direct train running to King's Cross, London, a great night out was always within reach.
15. Were there many opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work?