The Allegro Programme – first impressions from Victoria Steele

vicoria_steeleTwo weeks after joining Allegro, a new training programme for Associate Medical Writers within Ashfield Healthcare Communications (AHC), I feel privileged to be part of this new initiative and excited by this new chapter in my career.

On my first day, I experienced none of the normal new-job apprehension. The other 14 new recruits and I were already friends after meeting at our Assessment Centre, a get-to-know-you lunch and the AHC Christmas party, and so we could chat properly instead of making nervous small talk. These events had also provided an opportunity to meet and socialise with our line managers and other key people within the business, and therefore I felt relaxed and comfortable. I’d had plenty of opportunities to ask questions about what we would be doing, and we’d all been sent some small details that make a first day easier – what to bring, what to wear, where to go, what to do if delayed – and so I knew exactly what to expect.

Since then, I’ve been enjoying an intensive programme of training courses. These have included technical sessions on grammar and statistics, lessons on the softer skills of time management and effective communication, and information we’ll need specifically for our new role, such as quality and compliance. Some training has been organised specifically for those of us on the Allegro programme, while some courses are part of the broader training offered to AHC employees through the Academy. All the courses have been very engaging and informative, and when I am placed within an agency in six weeks’ time, I’ll have a good basis of knowledge that will help me to be useful to my team from the start. However, it’s great to know that the Academy will still be there to be support my continued learning and development once I’ve graduated from Allegro.

Those of us on the Allegro programme have come from a range of different backgrounds: a few have PhDs, some have come directly from university education, and others have been employed in academia or the pharmaceutical and healthcare industries. The variety of knowledge, experience and perspective that this has brought to our discussions has been really beneficial to the whole group, and it has meant that we can support and help each other. My line manager and those providing training are also very approachable and are more than happy to answer any questions that I have, and nothing is considered too silly to ask!

Everything that I’ve experienced so far at AHC has confirmed that my decision to enter the healthcare communications industry was the right one for me. Although I enjoyed being in the lab during my previous career, it was the opportunities to share my research and wider knowledge that that I found particularly rewarding, and therefore learning how to develop my scientific communication skills has been really interesting. The last two weeks have shown me that I have a lot to learn, but it’s reassuring to know that my perfectionist tendencies will be of value during my career in medical writing! I’m looking forward to the fast-paced and varied environment that I will experience within my new role, and it is the opportunity to constantly expand my knowledge that I find particularly exciting.

Through the formal training and the direct access to very experienced colleagues that the Allegro programme provides, and through the supportive atmosphere AHC, I’m being given a fantastic foundation for my future career. I’m determined to leverage this to achieve my potential, and I look forward to putting into practice everything that I have learnt.

[Find out more about the Allegro programme]

[Find out more about Ashfield Healthcare Communications]

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