Apprentice Case Study: Life as a Laboratory Scientist Apprentice – GSK

During National Apprenticeship Week 2020 we were lucky enough to interview Molly and ask her about her apprenticeship, her role, a typical day for her, and her thoughts about apprenticeships in general…

Name:  Molly Robinson

Employer: GSK

Apprenticeship: Laboratory Scientist – Applied Bioscience



What is your role and where are you based?


I am based at the GSK site in Stevenage, which is a huge R&D hub. I work in BioPharm Process Research (BPR), specifically within the Cell Line Development (CLD) team. I am a trusted and fully equipped member of the CLD team. Alongside completing an applied bioscience degree, supporting other apprentices through my role as a student rep and giving back to GSK by encouraging future employees to work within a STEM subject.


What does an average day look like for you?


My role is very lab based, a typical day is mostly spent completing practical work within the lab. In addition to this, I am required to attend regular project and technological development meetings. My average day is no different to any other BPR employee, I am trusted and relied upon to deliver high quality science. One day a week I spend distance studying towards my applied bioscience degree, this involves working through study guides, making notes and completing both formative and summative assignments. This is all done online through Moodle.


Why did you choose an apprenticeship?


Ever since a young age I have been passionate about helping others, creating therapeutic medicines, with the aim to provide treatment for many patients, allows me to for fill this passion. But what makes this even better is that I work with people who share the same passion and drive to successfully help patients. I am grateful to GSK for all it has taught me and will continue you to throughout my career. Joining a highly successful company at just 18, straight from sixth form was a huge step up for me, but a step that I had always hoped to make in my career. Even in one year, GSK has shaped me into a professional, confident young adult and has provided me with experience that not many young adults are privileged to receive.


“My apprenticeship programme is ideal for me, learning on the job from industry experts, earning a competitive salary and being funded to complete a Bioscience degree and being exposed to life working for one of the biggest and most successful pharmaceutical companies.”


What has been your personal highlight so far?



I recently presented a piece of work I had completed in the lab to the whole department. I was incredibly nervous; the presentation went well and I answered questions well too. I received really good feedback, people approached me to say it was a great presentation. This gave me a massive confidence boost and made me feel valued and proud.

We were also lucky enough to experience a trip away to outward bound last April. This was an intense week of different activities such as gorge walk, scrambling, rock climbing, orienteering, raft building and problem solving.

This was one of the best weeks of my life, I cannot put into words how much I enjoyed the experience, I gained so many good skills from it such as team work, confidence and I learnt that pushing myself out of my comfort zone is not always a bad thing, but a learning experience. I am jealous of any other first year apprentices who get to experience this.


At the University of Kent:

I recently was allocated the role of student rep. I was thrilled to be given this role, I am strongly motivated by helping others succeed. This role allows me to feedback issues that students are having to the university and resolve them. This is a clear highlight for me.


What would you say to somebody thinking of starting an apprenticeship?


I would recommend this scheme to anyone –  I have loved every second of my apprenticeship so far. My friends who opted to go to university now regret not going for an apprenticeship. The scheme is highly competitive, I would say to absolutely go for it in the application process, with passion and drive but most importantly be yourself.

Apprenticeship schemes are not looking for the finished product, they are looking for someone they can work with effectively and develop into a confident worker. If you are unsure of what you want to do, apply for everything, you can always turn things down.