What did you study third level and why?
I always enjoyed engineering, science and biology at school, so the degree choice of Biomedical Engineering as a great fit for me as it combined all of these subjects together. When I completed my degree in Biomedical Engineering with NUIG, I decided to work towards a master’s qualification in the same area. After completing the masters qualification, I looked to moved into a role in an industry setting.
Had you thought about a career in Validation after completing your education?
While I covered some aspects of validation during my education programmes, I didn’t have any solid expertise in validation. The Innopharma Validation Programme that I later completed, filled this gap. The programme provided me with the expertise in equipment qualification, CQV, the V model and the 10-step process for instance. I didn’t have this knowhow from my degree or masters, and I wouldn’t have the skill set for the role I’m in now without the validation programme. I actually found it difficult to make the break and start into an industry role after college. I had completed a number of interviews but didn’t have any success. I heard about the Innopharma Technical Services Validation Programme from a friend, before this I had not thought of this as a career opportunity at all.
What did the Validation programme involve?
The programme was really great. Before taking part, I had a little understanding validation from my engineering qualifications, but this programme was so much more in depth, covering content from technical writing to a wide range of pharmaceutical processes. It’s more like a work simulation programme, with lots of practical aspects to it. I had to interview to gain a place on the programme and then worked with the Innopharma team over 14 weeks to develop the skills set required for industry.
What skills to you believe the programme helped you to develop?
I developed so much practical expertise and became far more competent at writing technical documents, such as protocols, validation reports, summary reports, raising exceptions and deviations, all of which are all very applicable to a validation engineering role. I am now using these skills on a daily basis in my role in Amgen. The programme also provided me with a great head start for industry, as there was a lot of focus on pharmaceutical processes from sterile fill finish, solid dose manufacturing and bioprocessing. The one-to-one professional coaching was so important. After college I was not great at interviews and found I never did myself justice and couldn’t get a job even with a master’s qualification. The interview preparation was excellent, it was so focused on knowing what the employer wanted and also building my own confidence to showcase my skills.
What does your role in Amgen involve?
I’m working in a team setting across a number of different areas such as packaging and line filling, dealing with a lot of technical documentation. Every day I am learning so much about the industry and getting experience in new projects. It has been great.
What advice would you give to graduates considering validation as a career?
The Innopharma Technical Services programme is a great way to get that step up in your career into industry, particularly in validation, as this can be an area of industry that is difficult to get into straight out of college. The lecturers were so knowledgeable, course content excellent. It is a great area to work in where you can develop capability to work across a wide variety of different areas from food, pharma, bio, med tech.
Discover more about our Validation programme here and contact Hazel at: [email protected]