Senior Leader Profile - Deborah

 I love this job because it’s always evolving. We continually produce new and exciting products that make a huge difference to patients’ lives. We’re constantly recruiting fabulous, high calibre people into our organisation and I get such a buzz watching these colleagues develop through our STEM pathways or moving onto bigger and better roles. Who wouldn’t want to see where the business goes next with this great team inside it?

Those are the words of Deborah Hatton, Senior Training Manager at Teva Runcorn, who joined the company in 2008.

Deborah’s STEM background is in applied biology, specialising in microbiology, which she studied at Manchester University.

She said: “Before joining Runcorn, I worked for a pharmaceutical firm which moved me away from my technical background into a training role, which I really enjoyed because I love seeing people develop and use new skills. Having a technical background meant that I could identify the needs of the business and match them with the needs of the individuals.

When I got the chance to join Teva Runcorn I grabbed the opportunity with both hands. I have never worked in an organisation that’s so keen to embrace good training practice. Here we have ‘inverted the pyramid’ which means we give colleagues the opportunity to use their own knowledge, thoughts and ideas.

“It’s such an exciting place to work and as soon as I think I have the picture completed on my training jigsaw, another set of pieces land on the table, so we have to evolve again.

“My job is to make sure we have the right training programmes in place to build technical capability in the business and to make sure our people can demonstrate their competence in the activities they’re doing. These things together will help us deliver compliance.

It’s an exciting time because we’re looking to introduce biopharmaceuticals at Runcorn as we increase the range of difficult to make products we make here. As a result, I’ve had to go back to my STEM roots and take on some additional learning myself so that I can stay at the forefront of this technology and make sure the courses I introduce to site are exactly what the business needs.

“I’m a graduate of applied biological sciences and I specialised in microbiology in the early part of my career. Since then I have moved into leadership roles which has meant taking additional Human Resource qualifications. I’ve also got a level 7 qualification in coaching and mentoring so I’ve expanded my ‘educational portfolio’ on top of my technical skills.

“I’m always expanding my personal STEM pathway as well as my STEM knowledge. I’ve recently got involved with Bionow, which is an award-winning specialist business development and services company serving the life science sector in the North of England. It’s a networking group focused on bioproducts, so it helps me keep up-to-speed with the latest technologies within the STEM arena, because although development and coaching work is really important, at heart I’m a technology person. I’m a scientist and I consider myself to be very fortunate to have been able to blend those areas together.

“Having a STEM background helps Teva because it means I can have conversations with my operational and quality colleagues about their training needs, particularly now that we are moving into new areas of biopharmaceutical products. It’s about understanding what they need and speaking the same language and then being able to translate that into a capability build programme for the site.

“And ultimately of course if you’ve got very efficient, motivated people making products then our performance as an organisation is good. It means that our customers can be sure that their supply is going to be excellent because our colleagues are very motivated to getting things right first time. We know that our packing technicians for example are the last people who see a product before our patients open it, so it’s important that they have the right level of training, the right level of awareness, the right behaviours to look at something and say “actually this isn’t right, so I need to check it” or be 100% sure that this product is right and my patients are going to be able take it safely with no problems. That all comes down to the training and leadership they get within the organisation and I’m very proud to play a part in all that.

If you’re in school now, I would encourage you to embrace the STEM subjects because they cover such a huge range of different disciplines and any one of them sets you up for a life in a technical environment like ours. STEM suits anyone with an inquisitive mind. Having that ‘nosey nature’, wanting to know how things work, being curious about the world and how things happen is a great start to have and I think if you get a good grounding in a STEM discipline it’s easier to add on the other softer skills, such as coaching etc.

“If you’ve got a strong, technological background, it opens so many doors and of course there will be jobs coming along soon that none of us have even thought of yet. So by focusing on that scientific content, you’re putting yourself in a great position. Understand how processes work. You don’t need to know everything, but you need to know the sorts of questions to ask to get a thorough understanding of a process.

“My proudest achievement at Runcorn is the Sterile Academy, our overarching facility for training activity within this site. The sterile academy encompasses our foundation programme, which is background knowledge for sterile manufacturing, together with our quality assurance development pathway programmes. I’m proud of this because it’s a collaboration between myself, the operational teams, the quality team, the extended leadership team and people from all departments who have created a cohesive programme which is what you now see in the STEM pathways here.

“I stay at Teva Runcorn because the job’s not done yet, and by that I mean it’s always evolving. I’m an inquisitive person so I want to see how the future pans out for Runcorn with all the amazing new people we’re bringing on board.

“We also have great values at Teva which sit very well with my own personal values and belief set. It’s a nice place to be because it makes me feel comfortable in the decisions that I make.

So if you’re considering a job in the pharmaceutical industry, come and join Teva, but be prepared to work hard, be prepared to ask questions and be prepared to take the most out of the opportunities that you get. We are a very fast-moving organisation with lots of processes and our STEM pathways will guide your development. If you want to get on and if you want an exciting, challenging career then you should seriously consider coming to work with us.