Emmalene undertook a work placement with South Wales pharmaceutical company, Penn Pharma.
"As part of one of our third year modules, Quality Control and Management in the Pharmaceutical Industry, we were given the choice to either do an ‘in-house’ project provided by a pharmaceutical company, or to spend two weeks in a Pharmaceutical Company. I chose to spend two weeks at Penn Pharmaceuticals, who are based just up the road from the Treforest Campus and offered myself and my lab partner, Sohan, placements during the last two weeks of term before Christmas.
I spent my placement working in the Technical Transfer and Validation office. I was given a lot of different tasks during my time at Penn, including: creating a tracker spreadsheet for a new drug, gap analysis, creating a template to allow Technical Transfer between departments, and various other activities. The documents I created are now used by the Technical Transfer team, in their every-day work.
Another aspect I learnt about is the importance of logging everything. One of Penn’s sayings is ‘if it’s not written down, it never happened’. It’s saying that if there is not any record of something being done, such as a machine being checked or an employee being trained, it never happened. In the pharmaceutical industry, it is vital that every step of every process is monitored and checked throughout, to ensure Quality Assurance. Whilst on the tours of the manufacturing facilities, it was easy to see how precise these checks had to be. In every room of the manufacturing area, there were technicians recording measurements into a log book every few minutes to check for any defects in the products. These quality control checks are a requirement in the industry.
The opportunity to spend two weeks in industry was invaluable. I learnt a lot about the industry, the processes of manufacturing, the laws which need to be followed and the general workings of a pharmaceutical company. The placement was a valuable opportunity to gain knowledge about the industry I hope to get a career in. Hands-on experience of working in the industry cannot be simulated by lectures, lab sessions or exams. I would encourage any student to get a work placement in an industry related to their course."