We recently interviewed one of our contractors, Michael, to find out what it’s like to work as a Laboratory Analyst. We asked what a general day involves, what experience and qualification are required for this job and what advice Michael would give to an aspiring Laboratory Analyst.
Q1. What is your job title?
Q2. What does the company you work at do?
The company I work at researches, develops and manufactures innovative pharmaceutical medicines, vaccines and consumer healthcare products.
Q3. What is your background? (qualifications and work experience)
This role has been my first taste of the pharmaceutical industry. I left University with a HNC in chemistry and began work shortly after. I had worked for other large companies before but never one that was in this sector.
Q4. What does your job involve?
Day to day I am responsible for testing finished products in a quality control environment to ensure that the products that reach patients are of the highest quality. Mainly products and tested to determine the quantity of API’s as well as impurities that may affect the effectiveness of the product.
As an analyst, I am also expected to train new staff, work on method/instrument transfers as well as other analytical projects.
Q5. What is a typical day like in your role?
A typical day can be very varied due to the size and complexity of our supply chain. Often my schedule can change as priority batches come into the lab. Typically my day would involve preparing samples and standards for analysis and performing tasks to maintain GMP such as compliance plans.
Q6. How did you get into your current job role? (Did you need a certain qualification or experience?)
I was able to successfully get into my current role with the help of CK Group. A HNC in a relevant subject was required (Chemistry, Biology, etc.) but the main factor for getting the job was your attitude towards questions asked at interview which CK helped in preparing me for.
Q7. What do you enjoy most about your job?
I enjoy the variety of each day most of all, no two days are ever the same and I’m constantly having to think of ways to improve the way myself and my team work which is a big plus for me.
Q8. What is the hardest part of your job?
Due to the volume of products that we produce as a site, there is a lot pressure to get batches tested and released to patients, so there can often be times were my job can be quite stressful. Thankfully the support is there from the rest of my team and so I never completely overwhelmed.
Q9. Why did you decide to pursue this career?
During my A levels I decided to apply to a big pharma company to do some work experience within the labs, as I was unsure as to what I wanted to do when I left sixth form. During my week there I could see how everyone really seemed to enjoy there day to day work and that’s what made me to decide to work pursue this career. The variety of work and the opportunity for development is greater than anywhere I’d seen before and since starting my assignment there that has still been the case.
Q10. What can this type of job lead on to?
Future jobs could include any analytical chemistry role in any industry type. Positions in regulatory positions and auditing could be potential avenues. Bringing new products to market from R&D to production and release is a another potential path. I think that this particular role sets you up well for most positions in the production side of the pharmaceutical industry.
Q11. What advice would you give to somebody considering this role as a career?
Two big things I would say would be to ask for help if your unsure or confused about anything regardless of how simple it may be, even a small mistake during testing can result in an atypical result which can throw other results into question, so it’s always worth stopping and asking.
Another bit of advice would be to speak up if you have an idea as to how something could change or be done more effectively. In my team in particular, there has been a big push towards updating the ways of working that we employ and ultimately our changes wouldn’t have been successful without input from the whole team.
Q12. Please tell us anything else that you would like to add about your job…
The people that I work with are some of the nicest people that I’ve worked with and there is a real push to make to everyone feel as if they are part of the team. Even though I’m a contract worker, I’ve never felt as though I’m not just one of the other analysts which makes going to work enjoyable.
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