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Four Students get the GSK Experience

Industrial Cadets at GSK


Date published: Wed 21 Mar 2018   Author: HLH   Category: News   Share: Share on facebookShare on TwitterShare on MySpaceShare by Email


Industrial Cadet Success for Four High School Students

Four year 12 students spent their half-term week as one of GSK’s (GlaxoSmithKline) Work Experience Industrial Cadets.

Selected from hundreds of applicants, Kaiya Kiyosawa, Isaac Mendel, Eilidh Malcom and Joey Xiang spent a week at GSK’s Ware location.

The students applied for the scheme, competing against hundreds of applicants from all over the region, which meant they had to give up their half-term holiday, because they hope to go on to pursue a science career.

Isaac is interested in Physics or Engineering and Kaiya is interested in engineering, as is Joeyand Eilidh in Biochemistry or Pharmacology, so the experience was invaluable.

Eilidh says - I decided to apply for the GSK work experience week because I knew that GSK is an excellent global pharmaceutical company and I really wanted to gain a further insight into the industry. At the moment, I’m still considering a variety of options to study at university and having the opportunity to go to GSK gave me more of an idea on what I might like to do in the future.  During the week I mainly stayed at the R&D (research and development) site as I was on the Chemistry programme. I went on a lot of tours, seeing different labs. This was interesting because we got to see all the high-tech machines, such as a mass spectrometer, which we don’t normally see in school. We also saw the production of their new asthma pumps, where we first saw it as a chemical and finished seeing the final product. I think this was good to see, as it’s an actual product in the market today. Furthermore, in the labs, we did experiments such as looking at the growth of some bacteria and we also looked at how much caffeine was in different drinks - it was interesting to see that weak coffee contained only a tiny bit more than decaffeinated coffee. Also, we had a careers carousel, where we found out a lot about different kind of jobs and this was enjoyable as you got to hear first-hand from professionals at the company, as well as hearing about industrial placements or apprenticeship options. Personally, I enjoyed doing the different experiments as we got to use lab equipment such as Gilson pipettes which is a lot different from the standard pipettes used at school. It was also good to get an insight to the day to day role of people working at GSK. I also feel it was good to meet new people, especially as they had similar interests to me! After having spent the week at GSK, I am definitely much more interested in Bio-chemistry and Pharmacology and would love to work in a laboratory environment after school.

Isaac says - I have always been interested in the sciences, specifically physics and chemistry, and so believed the GSK week doing engineering would be highly beneficial to enhancing my knowledge in these areas and give me a further understanding into science within industry. During the week we had multiple practical and academic sessions, these included: designing processes for the manufacture of chemicals, electrical engineering, a careers fair and other multiple talks about paths of study. My most enjoyable experience from the week was a tour of the machinery used around the site including the large coolers and heaters needed on the site which we went on the roof to see. When I leave school, I hope to study natural sciences at preferably Cambridge, or engineering at university

Kaiya commented "I initially chose to apply for the GSK work experience week after it was recommended to me by someone with a mutual interest in engineering. Since I intend to apply to university for an engineering course, it also seemed like a logical decision to get involved in seeing what future careers are available after university, particularly in the pharmaceutical manufacturing industry. Throughout my week at GSK Ware, I was mainly located in the GMS (Global Manufacturing & Supply) site where I was introduced to various types of engineering options available at GSK through a series of sessions. As a group, we were given two tours of the GMS site – one which showed us the production process of the drugs and the other which gave us a detailed description of how the boilers and coolers functioned. I enjoyed not only meeting people with the same interest as me, but also being able to talk to the experts and ask them for their valuable guidance and advice during the Careers Fair. I found the electrical engineering session especially engaging because we were tasked to construct an electrical circuit based of some instructions, and we learnt how to draw circuit diagrams in a different way from how we usually draw them at school. Also, the GSK engineer taught us the importance of considering all possible situations, when designing an electrical system, to maximise the safety."

Joey says - "My week at GSK was a short term introduction to the work of GSK, pharmaceutical manufacturing and research and development. We had tours around GSK’s at one of its biggest base in Ware. It was explained to us what makes the site really productive in terms of both R&D and manufacturing is that the sites are located together which is not normal by the area standard but has its advantages. I rented a house near the workplace for the week as I needed to be self-dependent. During the week my social skills were put to work, as I have always considered myself an introverted person, but the workplace favours team players more than loners, so in order to cope with a more competitive work environment, I did all I could to chat to people around me, who turned out to be very interesting and I gained brand new and interesting insights. At the end of the week, I was also asked to do a presentation to a group in front of all the people who attended this work experience. At first I was overwhelmed but after lots of practices I managed to reduce my part of the speech to the required time. This experience really pushed me out of my comfort zone and I grew a lot as a result."

All the students are taking Science A Levels across a combination of Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Maths and Further Maths, whilst Eilidh also studies History.

Mrs Claire Jonas, Careers Yr7-11 commented "It’s fantastic that Isaac, Joe, Kaiya and Eilidh have enjoyed this wonderful opportunity provided by GSK.  We’re very fortunate that a company such as GSK is in our locality and that it offers such an excellent programme for sixth formers.  Our students had the perfect window for seeing what careers might be on offer post-University and we were delighted to support this extra-curricular activity.  Gaining a place on such a prestigious programme is down to the motivation and pro-activeness of the students, for which they must be congratulated.”