My First Year as a Translational Medicine Apprentice in Oncology at AstraZeneca

Hi, my name is Mya Hornett. I am in my first year of a three-year Level 5 Technician Scientist Apprenticeship at AstraZeneca; once complete  I will have gained a foundation degree studying with the University of Kent. At the end the initial three-years, I will have the option to stay on for an additional two-years, to complete a Level 6 Laboratory Scientist Apprenticeship, and gain a full degree in Applied Biosciences.

My role at AstraZeneca is within translational medicine in Early Oncology; I spend four-days a week working at AstraZeneca, and I spend one-day a week studying via distance learning.

Why did you decide to apply for an apprenticeship?

Throughout Year-12 I was convinced I was going to university. I’d visited the universities I was interested in, and I’d completed my UCAS application. But while all my friends were saying how excited they were and they’d found their dream university, I didn’t share their enthusiasm. So, I began looking at different options and I found this apprenticeship. I always knew that after university I wanted to go into cancer research, and this apprenticeship allowed me to start my dream job, while working towards getting a degree.

What have you found beneficial from doing an apprenticeship programme?

The apprenticeship programme has already helped me to develop many new skills, both scientifically and personally. The Apprenticeship Team at AstraZeneca run personal development workshops, which have really help me adjust to the world of work. In addition, working day to day with such experienced colleagues, is helping me develop my scientific skills. The one thing that I am finding the most beneficial, is seeing the practical application of my university studies within a real life scientific industry setting.

What are some advantages of working for AstraZeneca?

Working at AstraZeneca provides lots opportunities, for example later this year I am on secondment  in the COVID-19 testing department. The secondment will help me to learn some new scientific techniques that I wouldn’t gain in my own department.

Can you describe a ‘typical day’ in your apprenticeship?

In the earlier months of my apprenticeship I spent the majority of my time in the labs, learning different techniques from my supervisor. But now my supervisor will normally give me information about an experiment that needs doing and I am able to go into the lab, carry this out and analyse the results. In addition to this we have team meetings where people will share the work they’re doing, and we have project meetings where plans and progress is shared.

What’s the favourite part of your job?

My favourite part of the job is working in the laboratory and carrying out experiments, especially on clinical samples, because this is when you can really see the impact of your work. I also love that I am constantly learning because there is always new information and everyone loves sharing what they’re working on.

Science & Medicine

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