00:00 Basically, I’ve started since September, it’s a year-long placement
00:04 you join a team, my team consists of five people, you work very closely with your supervisor,
00:10 and your job is basically pretty similar to everyone else’s,
00:13 I mean obviously as you’re a student you don’t know quite as much as everyone else but you’re still doing the same job,
00:19 on the day-to-day basis you’ll still go to the meetings and you’re still working in the lab,
00:23 alongside with the rest of your team.
00:25 On a day-to-day basis, you have like a target structure
00:29 that you want to make and you can break down that molecule and do retrosynthetic analysis on it
00:36 and it can take you back to the starting materials, so basically you know the recipe that you want to follow to make that molecule,
00:43 so along the way you might do like a reflux,
00:48 reflux it to make the compound, and then once you’ve got it you need to purify it so maybe do a re-crystallisation,
00:54 or something like that, or column it to purify it.
00:57 We also use various other techniques to characterise it like NMR (nuclear magnetic resonance) and LC-MS (liquid chromatography–mass spectrometry)
01:03 Sometimes I have used infrared spectroscopy as well to characterise my compounds.
01:08 After my GCSEs I studied A levels,
01:11 I did A level maths, chemistry and English literature and also AS level general studies.
01:16 Once I’d passed those, I went to York University where I studied chemistry
01:21 which had an industrial placement in the final year.
01:23 So this is my final year now, I actually graduate in a couple of weeks’ time,
01:27 and after I graduate I’m coming back to GlaxoSmithKline where I start my graduate job as an organic chemist.
01:32 The skills that you need to do this job, you need communication skills,
01:36 you need to be able to work in a team, you work very closely with your other team members because you’re working on the same project.
01:42 The work, if you’re not in the lab, you’re at your desk,
01:45 so you need IT skills, you need to be able to use, like, Word, Excel and other
01:51 programmes that we use, other chemical drawing packages and stuff like that.
01:55 Once you’re in the lab you need synthetic skills, you need your practical skills,
02:00 that I’ve learnt at university and also at A level from A level practicals.
02:03 And all those, I use every single day,
02:06 from putting reactions together to planning my reactions.
02:11 As a student you do work closely with a supervisor but you are expected to be able to plan your reactions.
02:16 Time management also is a key skill that I’ve used this year as well.
02:21 I’ve enjoyed meeting all the new people,
02:24 When you’re at university, you’re around lots of other students, but coming into industry
02:27 you’re working, there are other students here, but you’re also working with people who have been in the industry for like twenty years,
02:33 so you’re meeting people who have got loads of experience, you can learn a lot from them.
02:38 I’ve just enjoyed the job, I like making compounds, I like the synthetic side and I just find it interesting.
02:45 The advice that I’d give to people is obviously, you need to have the right education.
02:50 I did A level chemistry so you obviously need that
02:53 Do a chemistry degree,
02:56 and in that chemistry degree I actually took some pharmaceutical courses.
03:00 I studied medicinal chemistry, I’ve also studied some protein chemistry as well which has helped me do that.
03:07 Once you’ve got that, I wanted to come and do the placement in my final year,
03:12 most universities do offer that, so I looked into doing an industrial placement day and looked into coming to work here at GlaxoSmithKline.
03:19 In the future I hope still to be working with GlaxoSmithKline because I thoroughly enjoy it.
03:25 I will start, obviously, as a graduate and hopefully I will work myself
03:29 through the system and hopefully become a team leader,
03:33 get a bit more responsibility within the company and many more years of research.
03:38 Having studied for my degree, I’ve now got a career which I’ll be in, hopefully, for the rest of my life so I’ve got a stable job, hopefully.
03:46 I will be earning quite a fair bit of money, so I can live comfortably,
03:51 and unfortunately I am earning a lot more money than my friends who haven’t studied up to degree level and I’m doing a job that I really, really enjoy.