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EDT's Industrial Cadets Platinum Award Finalists 2024

Updated: 3 days ago

We are delighted to announce that our EDT Industrial Cadets Platinum Award Finalists have been selected! To celebrate this achievement, they have been invited to the Enginuity Skills Awards 2024 on the 5th of June at the National Exhibition Centre (NEC) in Birmingham, where one of them will win the Industrial Cadets Platinum Award. Our finalists are:

Rocco Didio - EDT Placement student at GSK

Alicia Neal-Useche - EDT Placement student at Skelly & Couch

Charlotte Martin - EDT Placement student at GSK

All three finalists have had a fantastic time during their one-year placements where they have gained hands on industry experience and valuable skills that will help on the STEM journeys moving forward. Their personal accounts of their experience working for GSK and Skelly & Couch can be found below.

Rocco Didio

I had the privilege of gaining one year of experience as a Quality Control Analyst at GSK as part of my master’s degree in chemistry. The role involved testing HIV, cancer, and respiratory drugs produced at different sites all over the world to ensure safety for patients. This experience developed my transferable skills to a high standard, allowing me to build a strong foundation for my future career.

My responsibilities included chemical testing of drugs, being responsible for the delivery of a project on contamination, serving as the standard active pharmaceutical ingredients owner and having weekly communication team’s meetings.

In addition, I have been involved in extracurricular activities to develop myself while inspiring young talents in pursuing STEM careers. A few of these include being a part of the GSK STEM Lead Ware Committee, working as a STEM Ambassador and a World Quality Week volunteer.

Overall, my placement allowed me to develop a range of transferable skills that will be at the base of my future career. These skills will help me achieve my ambition of securing an influential role to drive innovative changes and make a positive impact on people’s lives.

Alicia Neal-Useche

When I started my pre-university placement at Skelly & Couch, my knowledge of building environment engineering was quite limited. My first few months at the company were a steep learning curve during which I learnt how to approach situations with unfamiliar concepts, I learnt to ask questions, and I improved my problem-solving and critical thinking skills. My industry vocabulary knowledge grew astronomically, I learnt how to use complex software from scratch, and I began to learn about everything that goes into designing a building and making it comfortable, efficient, and sustainable.

Within a short period of time, I had mastered using the IES VE software to model buildings and run dynamic simulations of thermal conditions and energy consumption, which meant most of my project work involved producing 3D models of buildings in this software and running tests and simulations to study the best ways to achieve optimal thermal conditions. This was followed by writing reports and putting together presentations to showcase my work and results, which allowed me to get comfortable with the new terms, acronyms, and concepts that I had learnt.

I was also involved with project work that involved using other software and applying different skills. A few of these responsibilities included designing and evaluating lighting layouts using the DIALux software, studying thermal bridging details using the THERM software and sizing ventilation and water supply systems using complex spreadsheets, which allowed me to apply my maths skills and appreciate the applications of maths in the real world.

Spending a year working in building environment and sustainability engineering helped me to define the path I want to take when I go to university and beyond, helping me gain a clearer understanding of what an engineer’s role is and what the day-to-day looks like, as well as helping me to delve deeper into my understanding of the built environment and everything that it involves. This made it clear to me that this is a field of work that I enjoy, am truly passionate about, and want to continue being a part of, with innovative solutions and sustainable design contributing to a better future every day. I was thrilled when the company offered me the opportunity to stay on working as an engineer after the end of my placement year, and I am still happy to be working here 8 months down the line.

Charlotte Martin

Between my second and third year of university I had an amazing opportunity to be a placement student in the Sterile Business Unit at GSK. My main role was to lead various business improvement projects and support the daily running of the Syringes Manufacture and Filling Team, as well as the new aseptic facility Q block.

During my placement I took on various roles where I developed my leadership skills and demonstrated creativity and innovation. This included being the health and wellbeing champion, the IP community Lead and the STEM Ambassador, which allowed me to attend various school/university events to inspire young students to follow careers in STEM. I also helped organise and lead the GSK Virtual Work Experience where I presented to over 300 students and mentored the Year 9 pupils of a local school through their Bronze Industrial Cadet Award.

Over the year I had the opportunity to engage with various teams who taught me a broad range of pharmaceutical knowledge. I got involved with various projects which gave me the opportunity to further develop many skills as well as learn new ones, alongside making valuable improvements to the business and earning the trust of my manager to work independently. I also demonstrated resilience, adaptability, and determination following a severe spinal injury which left me temporarily paralysed. I thought opportunities may have been hindered having to spend time recovering at home. However, I used this opportunity to complete various excel and coding training courses to develop my digital skills and make many business improvements to the Tiered Accountability Processes. Through my newly developed skills I was able to automate and streamline data collection from the Front-Line Leaders which I then presented every morning to Operation Managers. This included creating an automated review of our ‘production vs plan’, so that immediately after every batch we knew if we were ahead/behind. These additions were so successful that the Senior Leadership Team asked me to implement the same tools for the other teams on site.

I found before my placement year I sometimes had a lot of self-doubt, particularly around my own ideas, however placement taught me to be more assertive, trust my own judgements and decisions, and be confident to make suggestions. I now look at everything in finer detail, as no stone can be left unturned when a patient is at the end of each syringe produced. I have grown in confidence and critical problem-solving skills, allowing me to work through scenarios logically and methodically which I have applied during my final year at university, and I know I will prove invaluable in my future career.


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