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