12-month placement at GSK that involved research and development within drug discovery.
I greatly enjoyed my work-placement at GSK. It allowed me to get a greater understanding of the work involved in the pharmaceutical industry. And will definitely allow me to advance my career in the future with the practical skills that I have gained throughout the year. The people at GSK were extraordinarily welcoming, and had also allowed for a great experience outside of working hours as well.
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I felt valued by my colleagues to a great extent. Colleagues were welcoming all throughout the placement and provided with help if needed. I was also treated like a full-time employee that allowed me to obtain a full working experience. Colleagues helped set a community-like feeling that made everyone feel involved in team discussions, out-of-work celebrations.
I was given support and guidance by my supervisors to a great extent. Where support and guidance was provided whenever was needed. I was also given enough independent work to achieve sufficient work experience, however, whenever needed, I was able to ask for help if needed. Guidance and support from supervisors also came from weekly meetings that allowed for constant productive feedback.
On a daily basis, I felt there was a perfect balance in how busy a day may get. This is because most days would include tasks that would keep me busy throughout the day. However, there wouldn't be too busy to the point where it's overwhelming. There are busier days and lighter days, but on average, there was a good balance between the two throughout the year.
I was given a lot of responsibility throughout my placement. This is because an independent project is given to you at the start of the year that would keep you responsible for the experiments and practical work to be done. Although there is a lot of independent work to be done, guidance or advice would still be provided if needed.
I have greatly developed my skills throughout the placement. This was due to a combination of training from the initial few weeks of the placement, however, this was advice from colleagues had also helped develop transferrable skills (communication, team working) outside of the labs as well. This will not only greatly benefit me in my degree studies, but will assist me in applying transferrable skills to other aspects of my life as well.
The general atmosphere of the office was extremely welcoming, flexible and creative. Colleagues helped create a creative atmosphere by allocating rest times to take a break from work, making the office more focused as a whole. The office atmosphere felt welcoming because of how friendly my colleagues were. This welcoming atmosphere also allowed students to be comfortable in asking questions when needed, never feeling that I was hindering or bothering co-workers in any way.
The overall work placement was set up really well. The placement was structured well that allowed for a seamless transition into the placement. Two training weeks were first implemented to ensure the students were adequately prepared. A student structured group was also introduced that allowed for events to be properly set up for a better work-life balance as well.
In terms of personal training and development, GSK was great in providing this. This is through initial two weeks of training and development that will help all students reach an adequate level in the lab. Several scientific presentations and team meetings had also helped with personal development, as it not only exposed the students to department-wide meetings, understanding how the pharmaceutical industry operates. But also gain a deeper understanding of novel scientific concepts through the scientific presentations.
GSK provides a Future Leaders Programme (FLP) that allows graduates an opportunity for future employment prospects. The FLP programme greatly helps transition graduates from a university setting to a working environment with sufficient training being provided. Placement students also have the opportunity to gain access to a wide network in the pharmaceutical industry that can also help with their future prospects as well.
There was a good social scene amongst the placement students. This is because a student-led group within GSK had helped organize events that would gather GSK placement students together for social nights out. These events would range from movie nights, to drinks at the pub. Furthermore, the social scene was also good among the colleagues as well, this is because team lunches and holiday parties would also be organized in order to maintain a positive work environment between colleagues.
The cost of living and socialising was acceptable. Although in Stevenage the possibilities for social activities is limited, the cost of living are generally acceptable. Additionally, London is fairly close with accessible and constant train times. Although this may increase the cost of socialising, the close access to London allows placement students to socialize and network frequently throughout the placement year.
There is room for improvement within the nightlife in Stevenage. There are a few pubs that give a decent night out, however, these places are limited throughout the area around GSK. However, it is more common for placement students to take a quick train out towards London for a proper night out.
There are a limited number of opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work. There are a few teams that involve football and netball activities outside of work. However, most of these activities may be played in neighbouring towns, and not within the actual town of Stevenage where GSK is located.