Chandni_Kerai_200Today Chandni Kerai finishes her paid internship at the BIA, which was organised through the Cogent Placement Service. We have found that the service provides an excellent pool of candidates, with science backgrounds and diverse interests, and having an extra pair of hands has been invaluable for the BIA over a busy time of the year. Following on from our previous student Hana’s blog about her placement, here Chandni writes about her experience of working in public affairs and policy for the BIA.

My three month internship at the BIA has provided me with the best foundation in the bioscience sector and has been a great start to my career as a graduate. My time here has exceeded my expectations – maybe because of the misconceptions that many graduates hold about internships.

The main project during my internship has been BIA’s annual Parliament Day. The purpose of the day was to outline the needs of the sector to key policy makers. I met with senior BIA members representing a range of companies involved in researching and developing innovative technologies and products for patient benefit. Split into smaller groups, I met with senior policy makers including key Ministers, policy makers from bodies including the Department of Health, NICE and NHS England to lobby key asks on behalf of the sector. It was great to see how senior executives engage with and represent their sector directly to decision makers in and around Westminster.

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A project such as this has been great to work on and seeing it all come together was certainly rewarding. I also attended BIA advisory committee meetings, had opportunities to attend meetings held in Parliament and attended a range of networking events. To say that I had – or any intern has – a lot of learning to do is an understatement, but having a range of responsibilities and activities to undertake has provided me with many opportunities to translate and apply my academic skills and knowledge, from both a physical science and a law background. Engaging with other people that are just as passionate about the sector as myself and seeing the work that goes in to making a difference to bioscience in the UK has been a real eye-opener.

Public affairs is a fascinating area to work in and had it not been for this internship, I would not have thought it to be a potential career path for me. I would like to give enormous thanks to the BIA team for their continuous support and guidance – I would consider myself very fortunate to work with another team just like this one. I would strongly encourage my peers to apply for placements and internships alike.

You can also see a blog on the Cogent Placement Service from last year, which features results from the Life Science Skills Awards. The UK Life Science Skills Awards 2014 are on 15 May in London, recognising exemplary skills provision in the life science sector. A discount is available for BIA members.