Laboratory Apprenticeship
Laboratory Apprenticeship

Interview with an apprentice

Monday, 1 November 2021

Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

My name is Keri-Ann Walshe and I’m 19 years old. I live in Co. Tipperary, but I live with a relative in Dublin, so the commute is easier for work. I travel back to Tipperary during the week to stay involved in camogie because it is a massive passion of mine. I went to secondary school in the Ursuline Convent Thurles Co. Tipperary and I’m currently studying to be a QC Laboratory Analyst, through the Laboratory Apprenticeship in Technological University Dublin, Tallaght.

What were you doing before you started the program?

I finished secondary school in June 2020. In September 2019, I received news that I got a place in this Apprenticeship program and I was over the moon.

What company are you working for as part of this program?

I am currently working for Alexion Pharmaceuticals Inc. in Blanchardstown, Dublin. Alexion is a global biopharmaceutical company focused on developing life-changing therapies for people living with ultra-rare diseases and I’m so happy to be a part of that.

What made you decide to choose the apprenticeship as a path for your education?

I studied Biology for my leaving cert and I absolutely loved it. I’ve always had a love for science and my favourite part was carrying out experiments in the lab because it was fascinating to me and I loved being able to participate in figuring out why or how something works. I chose to do the apprenticeship because of the opportunity to work with a globally recognised pharmaceutical appealed to me greatly and gaining such experience and knowledge at such a young age is amazing. However, I’m not much of a theoretical person and I work best in a hands-on. Therefore, the apprenticeship focuses on more so practical learning but in saying that you will have theoretical learning alongside it in college.

Tell us about a typical day in the lab for you

My typical day in the lab would start off with a morning meeting where the schedule is announced so each analyst knows what their tasks are for the day. I carry out compendial tests in the lab such as pH, Volume and Appearance and Particulates. There are much more compendial tests that I will receive training on very soon so I’m really looking forward to that! Every day is different in the lab which I love, one day I could be making buffers and another day I could be carrying out 5S in the lab which is fun too.

How has this program benefited you?

This program has benefited me in so many ways. I’m young, in college and I’m earning money for myself all in the one go. It’s a no brainer that this program would benefit you, it has offered me a massive insight into the working world and a college lifestyle. It has allowed me to excel immensely with my grades due to the hands-on work involved on the job and the theoretical side when in college and it has grown my interest even more.

What are your plans for the future?

For the future, I’m excited to see what is to come. I hope to work for Alexion upon completion of my apprenticeship and gain more knowledge and training on assays. This degree is super broad and you can go down many different pathways with it and the years’ experience you have from the apprenticeship will stand to you so much.