Sabrina GSK Laboratory Apprentice

*image credit: Sabrina, GSK Laboratory Apprentice

GSK and Montgomery College Partnership Offers Unique Apprenticeship Opportunity to “Earn and Learn”

High school students on the cusp of graduation grapple with many questions – do I go to college, or do I go directly into the workforce? If I decide to go to college, will I be able to afford it? How much financial assistance can I get, and how much debt will I accrue?  What should I major in, and will that major give me the best preparation for what I want to do next?

Thanks to a unique partnership between GlaxoSmithKline and Montgomery College, students who are interested in pursuing a biotech career no longer must face this crossroad. They can now have the best of both worlds – earning a respected biotech associate degree from Montgomery College all while gaining specialized, hands-on job experience on the grounds of GSK.

GSK’s apprenticeship programs provide high school graduates and first-year college students the opportunity to build technical biotech skills through a tailored, entry-level development program where students learn from some of the best in the industry. While these apprenticeships might seem like internships at first glance, there are several key differences that make these apprenticeships truly unique:

Apprentices:

  • Are enrolled in the program full-time for 2-4 years
  • Work 40 hours a week, with roughly 20% of that time being spent taking courses through Montgomery College
  • Are paid a salary and receive the same benefits as a full-time GSK employee
  • Will have earned their associate degree and be DEBT FREE upon completion of the program – with tuition and expenses fully covered

Interns:

  • Complete their internships during their free time, often either during the summer break or by juggling in addition to full-time coursework
  • Could be paid or unpaid, depending on the company
  • Do not qualify for benefits
  • Must still pursue scholarships/financial aid to pay for tuition, often still graduating with student loan debt

During the program, apprentices are immersed in the world of biotech and learn specialized, highly sought-after skills to kickstart their career and make them stand out to any employer. In addition to their professors at Montgomery College, apprentices also have a close support system of mentors at GSK that includes their direct line manager and their cohort of fellow apprentices from around the world.

Further, they have a plethora of additional career development resources at their fingertips that are geared to hone essential soft skills such as working effectively in a team, building resilience, and communicating for impact. 

“The biggest highlights for this program are the ability to get experience and knowledge in different departments and fully understand how GSK’s monoclonal antibodies are manufactured. I don’t think many people have the opportunity to not only learn the different areas of manufacturing but also get the job training that is needed for each area.”

– Nancia, a current Biopharmaceutical Associate


Applications are now open for a December 1st apprenticeship start date in Montgomery County.

The two open positions are:

  • Biochemist Associate: Work within biopharmaceutical manufacturing labs to learn the ins-and-outs of the manufacturing process while developing specialized knowledge in areas such as analytical chemistry and cell culture techniques.
  • Biopharmaceutical Associate: Learn how to effectively operate complex manufacturing machinery and instruments such as large-scale bioreactors, chromatography columns, and much more. Monitor and analyze production processes and data.

The application process has several steps, all of which aim to assess an applicant’s strengths and motivators while also giving the applicant a glimpse into life at GSK:

  1. Fill out a short form application form through the GSK website (search “#ApprenticeUS”): https://us.gsk.com/en-us/careers/ 
  2. Complete a video-based online assessment that gauges how applicants would handle various situations and introduces applicants to how GSK operates
  3. Conduct a phone interview to further assess strengths and motivators
  4. Complete a half-day interview process and participate in strengths-based activities at GSK’s Assessment Center

“I applied to the apprenticeship program because it directly correlates what we’re studying in the classroom, such as aseptic technique and cell culture, with what is happening on-site at GSK.”

– Williams, a current Biopharmaceutical Associate Apprentice 


Interested applicants should be at least 18 years old by the program’s start date and have less than 30 college credits to qualify for this opportunity.

This unique GSK/Montgomery College partnership is just one of the many biotech career development opportunities offered in the BioHealth Capital Region and is a testament to Maryland’s commitment to bringing resources together to build a thriving biotech corridor.

Interested in learning more? Check out these resources below:

Reach out to Lori Kelman and Collins Jones

The following two tabs change content below.

Sarah Ellinwood

Associate Analyst, Medical Writer | National Communications Co-Vice Chair at Verge Scientific Communications | Women In Bio
Sarah Ellinwood is currently an Associate Analyst/Medical Writer for Verge Scientific Communications in Tysons, VA and serves as National Vice Chair for Women In Bio. Prior to joining Verge, she received a Ph.D. in molecular and cellular biology with a focus in infectious disease immunology from the University of Maryland. Sarah is passionate about all things related to science communication, peer mentorship, and women in STEM.