Sophie Carter landed an impressive role with Merck. Find out why she chose to study at Ayrshire College

April 1, 2022 -

As part of our John Mather Trust Awards coverage, we're speaking to some of this year's recipients to find out what they're up to now, and how they enjoyed their time at Ayrshire College.

The John Mather Trust rewards our graduates who have: learned a trade and gone into employment, an apprenticeship or set up their own business within the past year. Those fortunate enough to be eligible for a John Mather award received a set of tools of the trade to help them in their careers.

The newest member of our marketing team, Claire Todd caught up with Sophie Carter about her new role with Merck and her time at Ayrshire College. Read on to find out more.

Why did you choose this career and is the reality of the role what you were expecting? 

While progressing through school I developed a passion for science, I knew from the age of about 13 I wanted to have a career in the industry. While gaining my qualification through college I accepted a job at Merck as a QC Assistant. I didn’t know much about what was involved at the time of joining the company but having the background knowledge helped me in my job role.

What does a typical day involve? 

The lab is a very fast-paced environment, it usually involves using aseptic techniques every day on different processes we carry out. It involves a lot of quick thinking and using knowledge I’ve gained over the years to solve problems. I regularly communicate with other labs in various parts of the world for testing products, as well as sending them.

What do you love about your job? 

I love being in the lab, being able to use and practise skills I’ve learned every day. Being able to communicate to different parts of the world and understand all the hard work that goes into making products.  I am also constantly pushed to expand my knowledge and gain new skills through training plans we have here. I’m currently going on to do a Modern Apprenticeship to gain the qualifications to become a technician. Merck are extremely supportive as a workplace, as well as the people I work with every day.

How did your college course help you prepare for this role? 

NC Applied Science with Forensics dived into aseptic techniques that I use in the lab day to day. Having the background knowledge of how these processes are carried out was extremely helpful for walking into a lab setting, especially when I wasn’t in a lab during Covid. As the lab is more biology based, being able to learn about microbiology and cells was extremely helpful coming into the role. I feel like I understand what is being tested and why. As well as keeping a safe and sterile environment when needed.

What advice would you give to anyone thinking about starting this career?

The advice I’d give is that you don’t need a degree to get a job in the science sector. There are so many opportunities and different positions available now, keeping an eye on Modern Apprenticeships and job opportunities might speed up the process of being where you want to be, or at least put you in the right direction. As more companies are looking for the extra lab experience, it might help you stand out from other people. Keep your head down and constantly push yourself while studying. The hard work will pay off!


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