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Applied Science Staff Visit Pfizer for Industrial Placements

"STEM Insight provides a unique opportunity for school or college staff to experience life in modern industry or a leading university to learn about the vast range of career opportunities and entry routes available to pupils studying STEM subjects.

Described as ‘professionally life-changing’, the five or ten-day placements equip teachers to bring careers to life in the classroom, inspire pupils, and enrich teaching using real world context."  STEM Learning, 2017 

And this is how Charlie (William) Butler and I have found it to be. In early 2017 I was encouraged by Helen Roberts, a STEM consultant for STEM Learning to apply for a placement. There had been no placements to date in Kent but a series of fortuitous conversations led to Pfizer offering to host me. Charlie joined me at the end of July for a five day bespoke CPD at their Sandwich site. We were given tours of all the departments involved in drug discovery, development and manufacture. More importantly we were given time to talk with the staff who operate at each stage of the process.

Don, Alison and Charlie inside the Community Lab.

Our CPD has not stopped there; STEM Learning operate an IMPACT toolkit which requires creation, implementation and reflection of a professional development action plan over the next year. We also have a conference day at the Wellcome Trust to look forward to. Not only has our professional working knowledge been refreshed but we have been inspired to implement industry practices such as electronic lab books. We have met apprentices and now have a more informed view of career paths in the pharmaceutical industry. We are deeply indebted to our hosts Don Clark (CSI Manager) who negotiated the placements, a first for Pfizer and Dan Smith (Events Management Industrial Trainee) who looked after us throughout.

Don, Charlie and Alison inside the Community Lab.

The placement is fully sponsored by STEM Learning so there have been no financial outlays to the College. Further details can be found at

Guest written by Applied Science lecturer Alison Ackroyd