Abigail Mussard is completing a Science Manufacturing Technician Apprenticeship (level 3) with CPI. CPI are a leading independent technology innovation centre and a founding member of the UK Government’s High Value Manufacturing Catapult. Abigail kindly agreed to talk to us about her journey as an apprentice.
My typical working day varies a lot depending on what we are doing. If its the start of a process, most of the day I would be making bottles and tubing to add to the reactors or even batching and inoculating them.
If its during the process, I would be tasked to take samples for analysis and readings in order to check that the reactor is doing okay.
If its the end of the process then its downstream processing where we get the broth from the reactor and process it using different equipment such as the centrifuge, homogeniser or filters to process the material needed for the product.
Once finished its clean up time where we clean the fermenters and other equipment used during the process.
Due to working in a batch manufacturing plant, not every week is the same. Sometimes we can have 2 processes running in the same week, back to back processes for 2 or more weeks with little turn over time or none at all. When there’s down time on plant I take advantage of this and try to train where I can so I’m ready for the next process.
I wanted to go down the manufacturing/ engineering route as engineering practically runs in my family. My brothers are the ones who inspired me to go after an apprenticeship as they had managed to gain one just as I had left secondary school. So once I started college, I decided to try to get one before I finished my course. Luckily, towards the end of the academic year I was selected by CPI.
I recommend apprenticeships as they’re a great way for a young person to start their career in the profession they want. You are able to earn a rewarding salary whilst getting the qualifications and experience you need. There is also a possibility that you might be kept on by the company once you have passed your apprenticeship.
I gained my apprenticeship through the college I was at. Different companies would come to the college in the aim of having someone who was already trained up with a level 3 qualification so that they could have an apprentice with the qualification that they needed and that could be ready to start once the course has finished. CPI asked for some students and I managed to get my apprenticeship offer after interviewing.
Before I started my apprenticeship with CPI, I had no idea what biotechnology was. The course I was doing was mainly focused on chemical and oil and gas industries so when I got the interview for CPI and did my research and I was fascinated with the work that they did. During my apprenticeship I started to enjoy the work I was doing. Not only was I learning my job, the projects that we were doing fascinated me.