A common misconception is that it is essential to have a scientific or engineering background to break into the Pharmaceutical and Biopharmaceutical sectors – don’t let this deter you! Although this is absolutely necessary for some positions, there are other jobs within the Pharma sector that allow more flexibility on this. These positions are not exclusively in more commercially focused roles, some are in key areas such as the actual manufacture of the drug, the supply chain etc.
So, why would you want to work in the Pharmaceutical/Biopharmaceutical sector? Firstly, if you’re looking for a new career direction, it’s always best to go where the growth is and that is very much true in the pharma sector. Ireland is a worldwide leader in this field being the 8th largest producer of pharmaceutical products in the world and having 9 of the top 10 Pharmaceutical companies globally operating here.
A job in the Pharmaceutical sector isn’t just an interim role either; it is a great place to start a long term and satisfying career. Companies in this industry tend to be invested in your career development and encourage upskilling and continuously improving and building on your knowledge.
If you are new to the industry, most of the larger companies will provide detailed training programmes on all of the tasks you will be expected to complete on a daily basis. Furthermore, asking questions is not only acceptable, but actively encouraged!
Most importantly, working in this sector is a chance to make a real difference. There is great job satisfaction to be gained from being involved in producing something that will improve or save people’s lives. You could potentially play a part in bringing a drug to market that changes the way we deal with major diseases such as Cancer, Heart Disease and Alzheimer’s.
Where do you start?
If you are looking to move into this sector, before pursuing a science degree, there are a few avenues you can explore. Look out for job advertisements that don’t specify that prior Pharmaceutical experience is a requirement – some companies will consider people with transferrable skills who they can train. The most important factor in these roles is your desire to work in the industry and develop your skills.
You could explore upskilling or education opportunities too – organisations like NIBRT and Innopharma Labs deliver targeted education and upskilling courses. Many of the Universities and Institutes of Technology also offer relevant and practical Diploma, Degree and Master’s options.
The Pharmaceutical/Biopharmaceutical sector is the fastest growing industry in the country and this is set to continue for the foreseeable future. Upskilling for pharma offers you the opportunity to reinvent yourself and redefine your career path – there is no time like the present!