What is your name and job title?
My name is Emily Griffiths and I am a Mechanical Engineering Associate on the Future Leaders Programme.
How would you describe your role?
Over the 3-year graduate scheme I undertake 3 rotations within Mechanical Engineering. My first rotation is within the Plant Engineering team at GSK Montrose. I am responsible for the day to day engineering support for my dedicated area of the site, the South Site, and am responsible for any engineering changes in my area. This involves scoping out the job, ordering the desired piece of equipment and generating all documentation for the change to take place. This involves reviewing Engineering Drawings and liaising with other technical experts on site for guidance on Process Engineering, Quality, Health and Safety or Electrical Engineering aspects of the modification. Alongside this I participate in problem solving activities to determine why pieces of equipment have failed and determine the actions to be put in place to prevent this failure occurring again. My team are also responsible for the engineering data stored on our site systems. We add any new equipment to this, along with the generation of any maintenance that must be completed on this equipment.
How did you get into STEM and why does it interest you?
I have always enjoyed maths and science. They were the subjects at school that came the most naturally to me, especially physics and maths. I enjoy the logical nature of them and the fact that you can follow a method and reach at an answer. I also like being able to solve problems, gathering the information I require and analysing it to figure out what is wrong or how it could be better. There are also so many possibilities of where you can go with a STEM background and those possibilities don’t end when you leave school.
What educational route did you take? (Expand on its links to STEM/your role now etc)
Throughout school I always chose the subjects that I enjoyed the most and that I was best at. This led me to study A levels in Chemistry, Physics, Maths and Further Maths (about as STEM as you can get!). From this I considered several subjects to study at university: Pure Maths, Physics, Chemistry, Joint Honours in Chemistry and Maths and various Engineering disciplines. From this, I decided to study Mechanical Engineering at the University of Leeds. Mechanical Engineering attracted me because I liked the thought that I could see my work in the real world, and I enjoyed the hands-on nature of the projects I could get involved with. As my time at university progressed, I preferred the theoretical aspects of the role much more than the hands-on project work. Whilst at university, I completed a 1-year Industrial Placement at GSK Barnard Castle as a Project Engineer. I loved this job! I was responsible for the scoping and procurement of new equipment for the packing lines. I got to liaise with suppliers and other departments on site to determine the most suitable equipment for the application and develop qualification test packs for the equipment to ensure compliance. Following this placement, I knew I wanted to work in Pharmaceutical Manufacturing so that I could continue to use my skills to improve the manufacturing processes of life saving medicines. Following this I applied to the Future Leaders Programme and was fortunate enough to get the position for Mechanical Engineering.
What is the best part about your job?
I am very lucky to be on a graduate scheme that allows me to complete 3 different locations at 3 different sites. This means I get to try 3 jobs and see if I like them before committing to them for a long period of time. The best part of my job is the rush that comes with something being broken or not working as expected and it’s up to me to figure out what went wrong! This will be a factor in every engineering role I undertake at GSK, just the equipment in question may differ. Knowing that by solving the problem/improving the process you are allowing more medicine to be produced to be shipped to our customers who need it most is the most satisfying feeling at the end of a stressful project or piece of work.
What is one thing most people would not know about your job?
I am still learning new things about my role every day! I’m part of so many teams, both on site and off, and there is always someone to point you in the right direction, but I think it will be years and years until I understand every aspect of my role. One day we are figuring out why a pump has failed, the next we are assessing spares in a brand-new facility and the next we are implementing good ideas that have been generated by the process technicians.
What are you excited about for the future of your role?
I am excited to see where I end up and what I end up doing! I will finish this rotation at Christmas 2020 and move on to complete 2 further roles at different sites in 2021 and 2022. I would be excited to see if I go back to any of these roles/sites or if, whilst on rotation there, I discover other roles that may interest me. There are so many opportunities for STEM roles within GSK that the possibilities are limitless!