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WORK EXPERIENCE The government insists upon every fourth year student completing a one week work experience. This is to give the pupils a taste of what working will be like when they leave school. Many of them will do this after having sat their standard grade exams, so it is very beneficial for those students in particular. I have recently completed my work experience at Glaxo SmithKline Beechams. I found my placement mainly by myself, although Mr Cook, the teacher in charge or work experience aided me in contacting them. In the following paragraph I shall give some basic factual information concerning my work experience. I was working at Glaxo SmithKline Beechams, Irvine Plantation. It is a pharmaceuticals' plantation which makes the main ingredients in medicines such as Clavuanate, which in an antibiotic and Paroxetine, which is an anti-depressant. I was there from 2nd - 4th December. My working hours were from 08:30 - 16:30, however on the initial day I did not start until 09:00.
There are also many more rules. Now I am going to describe the work I witnessed being done around me. Around six hundred and fifty people work in Beechams. However, I only managed to see a small number of them at work. I was primarily based in the Quality Cell, which is predominantly made up of labs. The people around me were using specialist equipment such as Tirators, the Karl Fisher and Gas/Liquid Chromatographers. I mainly saw the Chromatographers being used. They basically separate a chemical into all the different components it is made up of, by running a process gas through it. The different components react with the gas at different speeds and from these speeds the substances in the chemical can be deduced. This process was used in both the active and raw material labs. I also saw people testing water from the taps in each lab to see if it had been contaminated by any of the chemicals found on site.
In the paragraph below I will make suggestions about possible ways to improve work experience. In all situations there are areas for improvement. I found that before the actual work experience there wasn't enough time to organise everything, therefore I would give a couple more weeks time beforehand for this purpose. I would also include a minibus service for those who would find it difficult to travel to and from their placement, providing that it wasn't too far away. Apart form these minor suggestions, I wouldn't change anything about work experience or the process leading up to it. In conclusion, I think that work experience is very valuable to all students, as it provides a taste of the real world and it could completely alter your ideas on what you want to do after having left school. Also, companies involved can have a say in the future of young people, therefore this is an invaluable experience for all concerned. Elspeth Renfrew 4F Work Experience Essay Mr Cook
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