Pat O’Loughlin had worked in semi-conductor manufacturing for over 20 years. He joined the industry as a Process Technician and worked his way up to being the Lead Maintenance Technician in different functional areas within the industry. During his time in the industry he completed an Honors Engineering Degree on a part-time basis.
He was well-used to the manufacturing environment. But when he decided to aim for a role in pharmaceutical manufacturing, he knew that his impressive resume might not be enough. Pharma manufacturing is a highly regulated environment and for most, it’s necessary to learn these rules before entering the workplace.
“Even though I’d 20 years industry experience in a cleanroom environment…I’d no experience in pharmaceuticals so I wanted to get a bridge into that and tie it in with my experience working in industry”
And that’s just what he did, taking GetReskilled’s online eBioPharm Chem course. Following the course recommendations, he was also quick to start his job hunt.
“I found the course quite useful from that point of view – I was able to understand terms and concepts about what happened in a pharmaceutical plant. So when I constructed my CV it was useful .. when it came to the interview it was useful again to be able to talk with a bit more authority about what goes on, and link it to my own background.”
But looking back now, he’s clear that the course did more than give him a piece of paper and some talking points for interview. It gave him useful knowledge that he has gone on to put into practice regularly within his role. He offers some advice…
“Take it on with a view to not just completing it and getting a result… there’s a great opportunity within the course to learn. There’s a lot of detail about what goes on in the industry, on the floor, how things happen. Focus just as much on learning to actually educate yourself as much as passing exams. You actually have to embrace it and really get interested in the course material… Because the theory is there, within the course, if you put your mind to it and if you take a real interest.”
He was actually about halfway through his course when he got offered a position, working as a process technician with one of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies.
There were 16 other technicians hired at the same time and several more after – not uncommon within a big company. Situations like that can be a great opportunity for people with less industry experience who are looking for their first pharma role.
He immediately felt like he was working to achieve something special.
“The product we’re making actually makes a real difference, directly to people’s lives. It’s being produced to help people with a particular condition. And I feel when I’m working, that this is actually going to help somebody. That’s an important factor for me – that we’re so close to actually making a positive difference to somebody out there.”
But more than that, he is part of a team that’s all working with that same goal in mind.
“Teamwork, open communication and sharing of information is important… You need to be flexible and realise that you’re depending on each other. Even though everyone has individual responsibility within their own role, the teams productivity increases significantly in a positive, open environment.”
His experience, course knowledge and team working skills have all come together to give him a career in which he feels he can make a difference. For now his priority is to keep learning with the aim to be the very best he can be in his current role. From there, who knows, but there’s an industry full of opportunities.
Start Your Pharma Career Today
If you’re looking to take the first step towards a career in pharma, we can tell you the roles you might be suitable for, the salaries they pay and what courses you might need to get there. Just head on over to this page and select your previous work background from the options on the left.
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