Image of Holly Carter Associate Scientist AstraZeneca

Source: Holly Carter

The chemistry I do, means that I can actually develop medicines that will make a life-changing difference.

I’m Holly, I’m an associate scientist that works for a global company called AstraZeneca. My job involves working with a range of different people to help with the development of making the medicines that we then give to patients.

Salary range and qualifications required 

  • Minimum qualification for the role: Undergraduate science degree. Apprenticeships are also available for those who want to learn on the job.
  • Salary range: £18,000 to £30,000 (dependant on location, experience and qualifications).

So I’ve always loved chemistry from a young age. When I was in high school I competed in STEM competitions up and down the country. As part of one of the finals I met Professor Robert Winston, who is a TV scientist, and he inspired my passion even more.

My typical working day is mainly around the development of medicines and this involves dissolving compounds, which are the ingredients to make our medicines and understanding that process.

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At work, I use a range of different skills which include team working, problem solving, analysing data but the main one is communication – being able to talk to different people.

I started at AstraZeneca through an apprenticeship scheme. This involves working at AstraZeneca alongside studying for my degree in chemical science. The apprenticeship scheme works for me because I’m quite a practical person. I learn from doing things, not necessarily sitting and learning from a textbook. So being able to go into the lab and work and understand how things work that way is a lot better for me.

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What keeps me motivated in my work is the fact that in years to come when these medicines are actually delivered to the patients they’ll make a life-changing difference to them. That makes me feel wonderful because although I’m just one person in such a huge company, the difference that I do in my job can make a difference to the people who need it.

First published 2020