Please introduce yourself and what you do
My name is Maitaishe Peace Kanengoni, but I mainly go by Peace. I am a second year Clinical Trial Specialist Apprentice at a Global CRO. I joined the program in September 2021
What do you enjoy most about your role?
The thing I enjoy the most is the vast amount of professional development and learning opportunities that the company provides. Our program is quite diverse in that we work in a different department every year allowing for the opportunity to see the importance of each role in the CRO and gain a wealth of experience and knowledge.
What was your route into industry from education?
I left sixth form in 2019 with 3 average A-Levels in the bag and I soon found myself in a nursing degree. I was doing this degree for just over a year and started experiencing a lot of health issues which were exacerbated by the stress that came with the placement. So, I decided to take a break in learning to just figure out what I wanted to do and how I wanted to get there. In this time, I remembered my love for the sciences and decided to apply for science apprenticeships. My mindset was if I get an apprenticeship I’ll go for that over full-time university. The thing that appealed to me the most was the ability to experience in the industry alongside studying for my degree. Unfortunately, I didn’t pass any interviews. A few months later, after I had resolved that I was going back to do a nursing degree, my now manager reached out to me and explained that a space had opened, and they would love to have me on the program (after another grueling interview). And this was only two months before I was supposed to go back to full-time university! September 2021, I started my apprenticeship and honestly the journey thus far has been a rocky path but I’m happy that I got here the way I did.
Did you always aspire to work in pharma?
Funny enough I didn’t. I guess like a lot of first-generation immigrants the aspiration was to be a medical doctor. My 3 average A-Levels were significantly below average for a medical degree, so I saw doing another undergraduate degree as a gateway into medicine. Fortunately, I couldn’t dream of being anywhere else now.
Has your experience in pharma been what you expected or has it been different?
Coming into pharma, I didn’t set high expectations as I didn’t fully know what I was coming into. Though the differences between healthcare and the pharma industries are quite vast, which I didn’t realise prior to starting my apprenticeship. So, any expectations would have been set based on my healthcare experience. I will always come back to the amount of learning that I have been able to do, which is amazing, and I don’t know if I would have been able to get this learning experience in the healthcare sector.
What are your future aspirations with your career in pharma?
As displayed loudly and proudly on my LinkedIn, I would love to work in Project Management. As my apprenticeship is a 5-year program I’m working with my manager to build up my skills and experience, so I steadily work in that direction. Though I have plenty of time to change my mind and choose other things, so I am trying to stay as open-minded as possible.
What tips would you give a new starter interested in getting into pharma
Do research on the opportunities that are available to getting into pharma. Don’t just think it’s your typical scientist working in a lab situation. There are so many roles and avenues into pharma - network, talk to new people and find out how they got into pharma.