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Published: 4th March 2024

From Lab Apprentice to Expert: Joe Thomas’ Journey in Applied Chemical Science at Bristol-Myers Squibb


Joe Thomas is reaching the end of his Level 6 Apprenticeship in Applied Chemical Science at leading pharmaceutical company Bristol-Myers Squibb and is employed via Cogent Skills’ outsourced employment.

As a laboratory scientist, he handles a range of routine stability testing and has moved into method evaluations and development projects – all of which is crucial to ensure drugs don’t develop impurities once they leave the lab and are kept in a range of different conditions in markets around the world.

“As my role has changed I’ve really enjoy the opportunity to take more responsibilities in areas which are more challenging and creative. My typical day varies quite a bit, from the more routine work where we test samples to some quite intricate validation activity where the outcome of what we’ve done one day will determine what we do the next.”

Joe’s route saw him begin a Level 3 apprenticeship after his A-Levels before realising it wasn’t for him. After considering his options and with support from Cogent Skills it was recommended to him that he pursue a Level 6 Degree Apprenticeship, which he decided to do because he felt learning and working at the same time was his best option.

After completing his degree, Joe plans to start a Level 7 Masters Apprenticeship and is looking forward to the opportunities this will bring.

“I knew I wasn’t well suited to a more traditional academic setting and I wanted to combine working and studying in a more structured environment, because that’s just the way I learn. And it’s absolutely been the right choice for me. I’ve really enjoy the experience so far and so I’d be silly not to take the opportunity to start my Level 7!”

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