Daniel Bull joined us from the Royal Artillery on our Armed Forces Fast-Track Scheme.
I left the Army as a Captain after 6 years serving in the Royal Artillery and with the Defence Cultural Specialist Unit. I loved the very tangible outcomes of the work that I did in the military, and having such a strong sense of purpose in my career, and wanted to get some of that same satisfaction in what I did next.
I have found that in spades at GSK – the reach of our medicines and impacts on patients’ lives is truly staggering, whether through medicines core to the business or through ambitious programmes such as the donation programme aimed at eliminating LF (Elephantiasis) globally. From my first day I have been given the trust and responsibility to contribute to this impact, and the underpinning mission – helping people to do more, feel better and live longer – supported by a strongly held set of values is familiar from my military days.
I joined GSK on the Global Manufacturing and Supply (GMS) Armed Forces Fast Track programme and I am just completing my two years of rotations and looking to secure my permanent role. My first rotation involved helping to bring a new packing line, built in Canada and Germany, into commercial production at our site in Ware, Hertfordshire. What struck me most in my first months was how transferable I found my military skills – many of the planning, training, logistics and validation challenges I faced were not so different from deploying a gun battery on operations. I subsequently performed a planning role for the Africa region based at the London headquarters, and now work in the respiratory strategy group. The breadth and speed of learning has been fantastic, as has the support that I have received along the way.
I have thoroughly enjoyed all my rotations and I feel strongly that, even within GMS, there is such a breadth and variety of roles in the organisation across the country (and abroad) that the possibilities in my second career are far more open than I could have imagined, and my military experience is a strong asset.
Sergeant, RAF, Plant Owner GSK Montrose
Formerly a Royal Air Force Weapons Technician, I left the RAF in November 2010 as a Sergeant on 111(F) Squadron at RAF Leuchars. I kept applying for jobs but getting nowhere, then saw an advert for a process technician at a chemical factory in Montrose and applied for the job. What a good decision that turned out to be!
I started in January 2011 as a process technician (PT) for the manufacture of an active pharmaceutical ingredient in an HIV treatment. I really enjoyed the job and was later promoted to a more senior role, today I am plant owner at Montrose. I am responsible for ensuring that the plant is ready for production, is safe, and is compliant with the regulations.
I have found that in some way almost all of my skills were transferable - more than I ever expected before I left!
I found that all the experience and skills I had acquired in the RAF had stood me in very good stead, and made it easier to adjust to my role in GSK. The biggest similarity between the GSK Montrose site and the RAF is the ‘can-do’ attitude of every employee and the importance placed on teamwork.
Former Army Captain Andrew Maggs is now an Operations Support Manager.
I left the Army at the rank of Captain and transitioned into a job in the city as a consultant before considering a career in industry. My attention was first drawn to GSK by the strong values driven culture which exists at the company. I could clearly identify with their values of Transparency, Respect, Integrity and Patient Focus and have subsequently found that GSK really do live these values in everything they do, from producing tablets on the manufacturing floor to developing and realising global strategy.
In my time at GSK I have so far worked as a GSK Production System (GPS) Practitioner helping to introduce lean manufacturing principles to a chemical testing lab and more recently as an Operations Support Manager delivering improvements within a manufacturing unit producing Oncology and HIV tablets. I’ve found that although I do not have a technical background or any specific qualifications, I’ve been able to use my knowledge from the Army of how to get people communicating, planning and working together to make a real difference. My favourite thing about working for GSK is the tangibility of what we do, we make medicines and products which improve and save people’s lives and I find this very rewarding.
My advice to ex-forces personnel – trust your experience and your soft skill set. Regardless of what rank you were or where you’ve come from, you know a lot about working in a team, what motivates people and how to work under pressure.
Army Captain, EMEA Property team, Portfolio Manager
GSK for me embodies a career with meaning and true purpose. Helping people to do more, feel better and live longer is at the heart of what we do, underpinned by values those in the Armed Forces can relate to – respect for people, transparency, integrity and having a patient focus. Demonstrating sound leadership and being able to make the right moral decision in a heavily regulated environment where the safety of our patients and people are paramount, is where we add real value and are able to role model our skills to others in the business.
I have been very fortunate in my time with GSK to experience three totally separate roles within the business; a role at the Worthing antibiotic manufacturing site in continuous improvement and lean manufacturing, a central role at GSK House in Global Planning tasked with lowering inventory in the respiratory portfolio and lastly, a second role at GSK House in the EMEA property team as a portfolio manager. The breadth and depth of these roles has enabled me to significantly grow my network, gain exposure to and visibility in the business, develop a greater understanding of GSK, and also to prepare me for more demanding roles in the future. In addition, GSK generously assists in continuous professional development with grants that can be used to gain relevant qualifications or attend courses.
One aspect of GSK that significantly impressed me from the outset was the high calibre of the people that work within the organisation. A business and its identity is shaped by the people within it. Daily I work alongside colleagues who inspire, who are passionate and with whom I am able to learn a great deal from.
In terms of advice; seize the opportunity. GSK is a company that can provide you with numerous career prospects across many disciplines and locations both here in the UK and across the world. It's up to you to capitalise on that!