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Oncology Scientific Apprenticeship Programme (UK)

About the Oncology Scientific apprentice programme

At AstraZeneca, we believe in the potential of our people and you’ll develop beyond what you thought possible. We make the most of your skills and passion by actively supporting you to see what you can achieve. We need great people who share our passion for science and have the drive and determination to meet the unmet needs of patients around the world. If you’re curious about what science can do, then you’re our kind of person.  Our scientific research and development is afforded the utmost respect so we give our people the same. We do everything we can to make sure each AstraZeneca person has everything they need to stretch themselves and see what they can achieve.

Our apprenticeship scheme offers a unique opportunity to learn and work in a multi-national drug-discovery company alongside industry experts. AstraZeneca’s research group are based in the Cambridge area where a brand new state-of-the-art scientific facility is currently being built. You will be working alongside world-class scientists contributing to research focused on developing the next generation of medicines.

Programme details

About the programme

  • Our Scientific apprenticeship is a 3-year programme combining distance learning and face-to-face study alongside on-the-job laboratory based scientific training. You will initially be studying towards a foundation degree in Biological sciences. There is also an option to extend your apprenticeship for a further 2 years to complete an honours degree. This study is incorporated into the apprenticeship programme and is fully funded. 20% of your time will be allocated to your academic studies.
  • Our Scientific Apprenticeship Programme commences annually in September at our Cambridge research site. We are offering apprenticeships within several of our oncology research teams. Each of these positions provides the opportunity to gain a unique insight into AstraZeneca’s world-leading scientific research, enabling the discovery of a new generation of cancer treatments

Development opportunities

It is important to us that you fulfil your potential and we are committed to support you as you learn and develop:

  • You will be assigned a supportive line manager and mentor who will plan you training and development
  • Our apprentices receive a training plan which includes a mixture of external and internal training.  This ensures that you will continue to learn and develop throughout your 3-year apprenticeship at AstraZeneca
  • Each apprentice will gain transferable core laboratory-based skills and knowledge and also specific skills tailored to the individual requirements of their roles.
  • Each of our level 5 scientific apprenticeships are initially working towards a Foundation Degree in Applied Bioscience Technology with an option to extend for a further 2 years and gain an honours degree.

Essential requirements

What we’re looking for:

  • Enthusiastic individuals with a genuine interest in science and its application in drug discovery
  • Highly organised, with a rational approach to problem solving
  • Good levels of literacy, numeracy and IT skills
  • Pro-active, hardworking team players
  • Self-motivated team members with excellent communications skills and a passion for learning
  • High aspirations and a desire to become part of a world-leading bio-pharmaceutical company
  • Five GCSEs (or equivalent) grades A*–C or 9-4 including Maths, English and Science.
  • 3 A Levels (or equivalent) including grade B or above in Biology.

Meet our people

Bryony Smith - Analytical and Medicinal Chemistry Apprentice

Bryony Smith - Analytical and Medicinal Chemistry Apprentice

I joined AstraZeneca from County Upper School, BSE, Suffolk and have A-Levels in Chemistry, Physics, Mathematics and Further Mathematics. 

My Training Plan covers rotations in Analytical, Computational and Synthetic Chemistry across first 3 years, respectively.

The activities I've covered so far are: 

  • Preparative Reverse-phase Chromatography; Purification of single samples (HPLC)
  • UPLC-MS Report analysis
  • HPLC Method development
  • Currently training in NMR Spectroscopy
“My positive experiences so far have allowed me to learn a lot in my new role. I love being an active member of the team”

Dan Rhodes - Analytical Chemistry Apprentice

Dan Rhodes - Analytical Chemistry Apprentice

I joined AstraZeneca from Freman College, Buntingford, Herts and have A-Levels: Chemistry, Physics, Mathematics

My 3-year training plan covers all analytical areas and  initial training focused on chromatographic separations. 

My completed activities so far have included: 

  • Biomimetic Chromatography (HPLC/ UPLC-MS / SFC-MS
  • Chiral method development screening (SFC, SFC-MS)
  • Chiral % ee determinations (SFC-MS)
“It’s great to be part of AstraZeneca’s drug discovery team where scientific ideas are developed into new oncology medicines. As an apprentice, I am contributing to science in the laboratory from day one – not just learning from text books.”

Paige Orwig - DMPK Apprentice

Paige Orwig - DMPK Apprentice

I joined AstraZeneca from the University of Birmingham (MSc), Bucknell University (BA) and have A-Levels in Chemistry, Biology, Calculus, English and European History

My 3-year training plan covers bioanalysis, in vitro ADME methodologies and biotransformation. Initial training focused on bioanalytical (UHPLC-MS/MS, automated liquid handling) and ADME methods (use of microsomes, hepatocytes, recombinant enzymes etc).

So far my activities have included: 

  • Bioanalysis of Design Make Test (DMT) and PKPD samples In vitro incubations for metabolite identification and intrinsic clearance
  • Analytical method development and enzyme kinetics

“The mentoring, training and hands-on experience I have gained through my AZ apprenticeship have not only increased my passion for the sciences but have given me the confidence that I can be a successful scientist. The experiences thus far have been truly amazing!”

Rebecca Burford - DMPK Apprentice

Rebecca Burford - DMPK Apprentice

I joined AstraZeneca from Dartford Girls Grammar School and have A-Levels in Chemistry, Biology and Mathematics

My 3-year training plan covers bioanalysis, in vitro ADME methodologies and biotransformation. My initial training focused on bioanalytical (UHPLC-MS/MS, automated liquid handling) and ADME methods (use of microsomes, hepatocytes, recombinant enzymes etc)

So far my activities have been: 

  • Liquid Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry (LC-MS)
  • Bioanalysis of Design Make Test (DMT) and PKPD samples

“The ability to study and gain practical experience working alongside scientific professionals is invaluable. On top of this, having a role to play in the development of innovative oncology medicines is so rewarding!”

Shaan Gill - Translational Science Apprentice

Shaan Gill - Translational Science Apprentice

I joined AstraZeneca from Hockerill Anglo-European College, Bishop's Stortford, Herts and I have an International Baccalaureate in Chemistry, Biology, Psychology, Mathematics, Japanese and English

My 3-year training plan includes Oncology and Translational Science and my initial training focused on Nanostring Technology producing multiplexed gene expression assays

So far I've covered the following activities: 

  • RNA extraction and quantification from FFPE tissue sections
  • Running gene expression assays and carrying out quality control and data analysis for clinical trials and exploratory projects
  • Currently developing pathology skills such as tissue sectioning, immunohistochemistry (IHC), in situ hybridisation (ISH) and image analysis.

“My apprenticeship at AstraZeneca has exceeded my expectations, I’m gaining hands-on experience whilst contributing to oncology drug development. I’m putting scientific knowledge from my degree into practice in a real industry environment.”

Explore our other school/college students programmes

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