I joined the organisation back in 1989 in what was the R&D workshop on a 4 year apprenticeship, which included day release at what was then Salisbury Technical College and lead to me gaining a City & Guilds and NVQ Level 3 in Mechanical Engineering. After qualifying the organisation viewed me as an asset and I transferred my engineering skills to work in the Vaccine Production Unit, working with a variety of fermentation equipment ranging in scale from 30 to 500 liters and growing different bacteria.
I enjoyed that change since it was still a hands-on role and there was a very good team of people who had all the biological knowledge which I could support with my engineering skills.
I then joined the Facilities Validation Department as a Compliance Technician specialising in cleanrooms and containment facilities, which is now part of the Pharmaceutical Engineering Department. Over the years I have maintained and updated my engineering skills but also learnt new ones, so that I am now in a position where I can pass my knowledge onto new staff.
I enjoy the challenges that my job brings, there is a massive amount of support involved in maintaining our facilities and the equipment, ranging from the regular re-qualification of our cleanrooms including particle monitor systems to ensuring the HVAC systems are operating correctly. I have also become an expert in my field, so much so that I get involved during inspections, answering questions and providing the necessary compliance reports and the like. I am also involved with capital projects as the department’s SME (Subject Matter Expert) which included playing a part in the delivery of the new freeze-dryer project.
The reason I enjoy my job is that every day is different, some days are focused on the routine paperwork such as change controls, but if there is an issue – then we need to do some fault finding and I’m the first point of call in my specialist areas.
During the last year the department has grown in size and the building blocks put in place for the next phase of our development. With the new facilities we are building it is giving all of us in the team the opportunity to diversify more in the future and I have the opportunity to progress in my career.
Mark is actually the fourth generation of his family to work at Porton: “Great grandfather helped build the place, both my grandfather and father have worked here, I am proud to work here, can see a prosperous future and I suppose my biggest achievement is getting to a position of responsibility from the shy 16 year old I was when I started”.
Outside of work Mark “lives, sleeps and breaths football” having been a Southampton season ticket holder for over 20 years and refereed in the Wessex League. “I still get excited about watching Saints” he said “and that has rubbed off onto my two boys who are also now both season tickets holders”.