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I began my placement year in July 2019, as a Marketing Assistant at Ashfield Healthcare Communications; the role is perfect because of its relevance to my degree: Business and Marketing. Since the start of my placement, I have been presented with opportunities for development regularly with the most recent being The Academy’s ‘Healthcare Communication Foundation Course’ last month.

The two-day interactive course is designed to help employees to better understand the Pharmaceutical industry, our business, and how we are working towards improving patient’s lives in partnership with our clients. The class of 2019 had 42 participants, representing many of the different agencies, specialist services and locations of Ashfield Healthcare Communications.

In addition, 16 presenters took time out to share their knowledge and expertise in eight masterclasses; why we are here, understanding our clients and the drug discovery process, clinical drug development, an introduction to communication planning, scientific/educational messaging, publication planning, medical congresses and external expert engagement. After each of the masterclasses the group participated in workshops to help embed our learning. The facilitators encouraged lots of interaction and ensured equal participation. A particular favorite of mine was the ‘Introduction to communication planning’ as this masterclass related the most to my job role, helping me to further understand our approach to communications in the healthcare industry.

There were so many incredible learnings I took from this day, however, my top three takeaways are:

  1. What I do matters
  2. The benefits of networking with people in other parts of the business
  3. The importance of understanding the business you’re working in and how this can accelerate my development in an industry I did not know about 6 months ago.

What I do matters

Throughout the training course, we were reminded why what we do matters. The two days of training allowed me to gain a thorough understanding of the company and how each employee plays an important role. It is nice to know that I am in an industry that helps improve patients’ lives.


The course also provided me with the chance to network with 42 participants from around the business. I particularly got to know the seven individuals within my group. My job role requires me to email many of the new starters, so it was nice to put faces to names. These few days have allowed me to increase my professional network thus helping me for the remaining time I am within this job role and after – when I begin to seek a graduate job.

Understanding the business/industry

The eight masterclasses helped me to piece together the various elements of what we do across the business. While each masterclass was only a snippet of the bigger picture, the workshops helped embed our understanding. The course also allowed me to gain an improved knowledge of the industry, not just Ashfield Healthcare Communications.

‘The class of 2019’

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