Cogent Skills & Astex apprentice Jessie Stow picks up two regional awards at the National Apprenticeship Awards 2019
- The Nuclear Decommissioning Site Licence Companies Award for Higher or Degree Apprentice of the Year 2019 (regional)
- The Lloyds Banking Group Award for Rising Star of the Year 2019 (regional)
Jessie is now a finalist for the National Lloyds Banking Group Award for Rising Star of the Year, which is chosen via a public vote.
Jessie was recruited by Cogent Skills and employed through our Outsourced Employment service in 2015. Takeda was Jessie’s original host employer, but in 2016 they closed their UK research operations. During this period of uncertainty, Jessie maintained a positive attitude and decided to continue her apprenticeship with Astex, who used the opportunity to trial an apprenticeship scheme as an alternative way of investing in the next generation of scientists.
Discussing why she chose the apprenticeship route Jessie said:
During sixth form, I was keen to investigate alternatives to the conventional full-time university route for an aspiring scientist….I was excited at the prospect of gaining valuable, relevant work experience and earning a salary alongside attaining academic qualifications
At Astex, Jessie works as part of a team that identifies compounds with the best potential to become safe and effective drugs. Jessie made the transition from one organisation to another seamlessly and was able to use the experience she gained during her project work at Takeda and apply that to activities within Astex. For example, Jessie has made an impact on efficiencies by applying her previous experience in automation to develop and validate automated experiments within Astex on a robotic system.
Alongside her work focused activities, Jessie has excelled in her academic studies, obtaining a distinction for her higher apprenticeship (FdSc) and is now pursuing a BSc (Hons).
Jessie also uses her experience to raise awareness of the benefits of apprenticeships adding:
In addition to my ‘young apprentice ambassador network’ membership, I have independently organised visits to local sixth forms to present my experience as an apprentice. I hope to convey that apprenticeships are a fantastic option to access education alongside work experience. Internally, as the first apprentice at Astex, I have represented apprenticeships and inspired my own and other departments to consider recruiting future apprentices.
Nicola Wilsher, Vice President, DMPK & Preclinical Development & Jessie’s line manager said:
Jessie has shown a level of determination and dedication to her chosen field of scientific endeavour that makes her stand out from the crowd…Jessie’s work ethic and dedication to her academic studies has highlighted the value of Apprenticeships within Astex and demonstrated the opportunities to train and benefit from bright, enthusiastic next-generation scientists.