Apprentice research technician, FdSc applied bioscience with Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult
Why did you choose to pursue an advanced therapies apprenticeship?
This apprenticeship allowed me to jump straight into the most interesting aspects of science I had learned at school. I knew how valuable work experience is in the field and how much better I learn in work-based scenarios than in classrooms. Together, the opportunity to perform important lab work and obtain a degree seemed ideal for my career.
How has ATAC supported your development?
By consistently organising networking opportunities, informative seminars, and much more, ATAC has filled skill gaps left by work and university-based learning. This has been particularly useful in completing the competency requirements of the apprenticeship, as well as providing a greater overall picture of the industry in the UK.
What has been the most rewarding or interesting project that you have been involved in and why?
My third year at Catapult gave me the chance to participate as an experimental lead on a project of my own. There were challenges when faced with planning, timelines and budgets for the first time but on completion of the project, I gained a much greater understanding of the work required for an organisation to operate smoothly. Writing my own protocols before performing the lab work and analysis was a great experience.
What would you say to someone who is thinking of pursuing an apprenticeship in advanced therapies?
Apprenticeships in this area are still fairly new so there may be a few unknowns if you decide to pursue this route. The good thing about this is that it encourages a strong sense of community for those involved. Apprentices, mentors, managers, and ex-apprentices are super passionate about what they do!
You joined Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult as one of a large cohort of ATAC apprentices. Do you think it benefitted you to be a part of this?
Joining as part of a larger cohort has definitely been beneficial to my apprenticeship experience. In my day-to-day activities, I can interact with fellow apprentices facing the same challenges to find solutions. On a wider level, I am often able to meet with apprentices outside of their workplace and learn about the similarities or differences in their roles compared to my own.
You’ve put yourself forward for several cohort activities, what made you volunteer and how do you think that participating in these has helped your development?
Additional activities are ideal for developing soft skills that don’t necessarily translate to a CV but are visible to those you meet and work with. Presentation and communication activities are guaranteed to be useful in any future career decisions.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years’ time?
I’d love to move to Canada to be a scientist in their growing advanced therapies field. The work experience and degree offered by the apprenticeship are valued by the country and its employers.