Working on applications of IT to support the business in a working analytical laboratory working to Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) regulations
My placement year was a fantastic experience with many highlights. I thoroughly enjoyed the projects given to me and found the company to be incredibly supportive towards my career, by investing time and funds in my training and development, not just that required for my role but also in other areas unrelated to my job role.
The team I was placed in were incredibly welcoming and made me feel very comfortable very quickly. Colleagues within my team were always very keen to help me seek opportunities for further development at Pfizer, including talking to memebrs of other departments to arrange tours etc. They also were very supportive of the work I was doing in my main project would directly affect and benefit their daily work.
I was very well supported by my manager and my supervisor when I experienced general difficulties, either work-related or personal. In terms of technical, work-related issues, it was sometimes difficult or frustrating not being able to get any technical support/guidance as no one was doing work similar to what I was doing, as the style of project was a new venture for the department. I think this is an isolated issue and not something that happens at all frequently, however, it
There was a good balance. I managed the work I had to do, based on my project. As part of my project I had an end result which had to be produced and so the work required to get the output was entirely up to me, including my time management and the quality of work I wished to produce. Overall, I would say I wasn't busy and I was rarely bored; I always had work to do.
I was given full responsibility for my project and was also responsible for creating a system which would become a critical business asset for my team. I was permitted flexible working hours where I was also responsible for fulfilling my contracted weekly hours.
My placement year was invaluable, allowing me to develop my professional portfolio and take away many experiences which will shape my future career. I was exposed to many areas of the business from Microbiology and HR to Health Economics and Manufacturing. The year out was also fantastic for giving me context to my studies and reminding me why I'm doing my degree. Second year was very difficult and having the opportunity to get out of education and work with a salary for a year has left me feeling incredibly motivated to return to university for my final year and succeed in my future career path.
Very relaxed atmosphere, breaks were encouraged with great 'break-out' areas to have informal conversations, either work-related or not and the office area pleasant to work in. There are also areas to play games, such as table football, a pool table and some arcade games. There was fantastic support for wellbeing and mental health, with many of the managers being trained Mental Health First Aiders.
The placement was organised very well in different ways. From a HR perspective, everything was seamless and information was very clear on salary and holiday/sickness leave etc. If information was available, a quick email usually solved queries. My manager and supervisor were also very clued up on the process. The application process was also very quick, which was nice.
I received a lot of training and development, including a week-long (Sun-Fri) Team-building and development course in the Lake District. There were also many different in-house courses available to sign up to, such as courses in advanced use of Microsoft Excel and the coding language R. If an online course or book was required for my project material, my manager was also happy to put that through company expenses.
I received a lot of positive feedback relating to my work throughout my year at Pfizer. I was also strongly encouraged to stay in contact as I continue with my studies to find out about job opportunities as they arise, for after graduation. I was also told that the work I produced has highlighted a need for more people from my field in the department as the benefits became clear.
The social scene was ok. I didn't get involved in it much as it was mostly just random trips set up to a pub or a cinema. The social aspect was entirely driven by the students and there were no clear social groups at work. Just as my placement was ending, a local LGBT+ group was started as part of the Out Pfizer Employee Network (OPEN), which was planning to host social events for those wishing to join, be they either LGBT+ or Allies . It was a shame this only started as I was leaving but I think it sounded exciting for future placement students.
It depends entirely what you're into...I was able to live comfortably with the salary living in a two bedroom flat in central Canterbury with a good car. I was still able to go out whenever I wanted, go on holiday etc. There is always stuff to do, you just have to go out and do it. Canterbury is thriving with things to do as it has a massive student population and I would recommend it as a place to live for students working at the Sandwich site.
I lived in Canterbury and commuted by car to Sandwich, which was fine. The nightlife was great, in my opinion, but don't go there expecting something more than a small cathedral city is likely to offer. There are student societies available at Unviersity of Kent in Canterbury where you can buy associate memberships. This will open your options for nightlife maybe...
There were lots of volunteering opprtunities available, including STEM work in local schools and science establishments and also things like wildlife conservation or community gardening. These opportunities are directly advertised to colleagues and other volunteering opportunities are also available. During my placement, all employees were allowed 5 paid days a year of volunteering activities, at the discretion of their manager.