"I really enjoy the friendly atmosphere and the fact that people are always encouraged to broaden their skill base."
I have just completed a one-year Industrial Placement at the GSK Harlow site. A major advantage of the site is that it was in a handy location for the train station and the town centre - especially with the GSK courtesy buses running so frequently. The main restaurant is was very good, and served a wide range of food from cereal to gourmet meals!
With a heavily discounted staff shop, dry cleaners and cash dispensers, the site had all you could need. The buildings were all well cared for and there's plenty of technical assistance on hand when needed.
I'd heard from a previous Industrial Placement student that GSK was a really good place to work. The company also has a particularly good reputation as a market leader in pharmaceutical research. My perceptions were that there was a strong focus on job satisfaction and employee welfare, with flexible working hours and ShareSave options figuring prominently.
Having now completed the year, I actually found the job and working environment a lot more relaxed and less stressful than I expected. I worked a lot on an individual research project, and am really proud that I regularly came up with good results, some of which may lead to further work that's worth publishing. I think my biggest achievement, though, will be the completion of my thesis, which I am still heavily involved with at the moment.
I joined in September 2009 on an Industrial Placement. In the light of the knowledge I have gained here - not just practical science skills, but also in the corporate structure, market role and career development paths - I am keen to do a PhD. Hopefully this will lead to a full-time role within Research and Development.
The training days I experienced whilst on my placement were excellent. You are given the chance to brush up on anything you're unsure of, and the online training support databases are useful in this respect as well. Flexible working hours are a real bonus - especially with lab work, where you often have to fit your working day around experiments that depend on incubation times and availability of equipment. Holiday allowance is in line with most other companies, and the fact that up to five days can be banked means there's no pressure to use up your allowance by the end of the year.
I really enjoyed the friendly atmosphere and the fact that people are always encouraged to broaden their skill base. As someone who likes to strike the perfect balance between work and play, I found GSK a very worthwhile place to work.