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I joined the allegro programme when I was 28; I was trying to finish up a PhD at the University of Edinburgh (still trying) and had recently had my first child, which meant finding a job as quickly as possible after my stipend stopped. The only thing I consistently received positive feedback on during my PhD was my writing and based on that I searched for science writing jobs. Leaving academia meant leaving the world I had inhabited for more than four years and so I was excited to find a company offering fast-track training in medical writing.

Most of my free time is taken up with my son, but I like to get friends round for board games whenever I can and go to the cinema when a baby sitter is available!

When did you enrol?

I attended the assessment day for allegro in November 2018 and was enrolled on the programme in January 2019 as part of allegro intake 4.

My experience of the training programme

Moving to Macclesfield for two months was a bit daunting, but the programme was well organised and everyone was very welcoming. Being with a group of people who were in the same situation made it all easier, and it was nice that I immediately had my own desk in the allegro training zone. The initial training course was quite intense, but I think I really benefitted from being able to make mistakes and learn from them without having to worry about client expectations; I entered my first rotation with more confidence as a result.

The initial training was a mix of talks, activities and writing tasks. It did feel like quite a lot at times, but it was good preparation for the time management you have to have as a medical writer.

My first rotation was in GCC focussing on publications and my second was with Zoetic Science and was entirely medical affairs. Each move, from training to Rotation A and then to Rotation B, felt like a big shift with a lot to learn. Because of the varied work I have had to do, and the different ways I have had to work in two agencies, I feel more able to take on new challenges now as a fully-fledged medical writer.

The Glasgow office is a great place to work and I’ve had excellent support throughout. I have consistently enjoyed feeling productive and working as part of a team, both things that were missing while I was in academia.

I have enjoyed finding that I can adapt the skills I gained as a PhD student and from the allegro training to new challenges; taking on health economics papers in my first rotation was a steep learning curve!

I have met and worked with many lovely people at Ashfield, which has made it all the more enjoyable.

Advice to future intakes…

The first eight weeks are designed to help you become a better writer and, ultimately, a medical writer; you should see it as an opportunity to learn, not as an eight-week exam!

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