THE JOB: ANN DONAGHEY, 25, WORKS FOR GLAXOSMITHKLINE AS A CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT PROJECT LEADER. SHE HAS A MASTERS IN CHEMICAL ENGINEERING FROM ASTON UNIVERSITY AND HER CURRENT PROJECTS INCLUDE WORKING ON ANTI-HERPES,
ANTI-MALARIAL AND ANTI-HIV DRUGS.
WHAT DO YOU DO IN YOUR JOB?
I manage a team of four people and I’m responsible for looking after the day-to-day running of the project we are working on. If anything goes wrong with the processing, for example if we have a product that is supposed to be white in colour but turns brown in processing, I need to work out how that happened. I also have to make sure that I get production back up and running as soon as possible, as whilst it is not running it costs the company thousands of pounds.
WHAT GETS YOU OUT OF BED?
Everyday is different. There is always going to be something going wrong as well as something going well and I am constantly looking at ways to make things more efficient. I also like the fact that it isn’t a job where you are stuck in an office all day. I am out all the time, meeting people, asking them questions, figuring out how to work equipment and solve problems. Maybe the best thing about my job is that at the end of my work I see a product that goes to people who need it and improves their quality of life, and that is very rewarding.
WHAT IS THE MOST CHALLENGING ASPECT OF YOUR JOB?
When something goes wrong there can be so many different factors involved and because I am quite new and inexperienced I have to ask people for help quite a lot of the time – finding the right people to ask though can be very challenging.
ADVICE TO READERS CONSIDERING A CAREER IN YOUR FIELD:
A degree sets you up for a career in chemical engineering but be prepared for a lot of on-the-job training. It is important to try and find out as much as you can about the area you want to go into, so you can make sure that it fits in to what you already enjoy doing. I’d also definitely recommend a placement year as the experience makes you more employable.