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Creative people are drawn to careers and activities that enable them to take responsibility for the design, layout or sensory impact of something (visual, auditory etc). They may be atrracted to the traditional artistic pursuits such as painting, sculpture, singing, or music. Or they may show more interest in design activities, such as architecture, animation, or craft areas, such as pottery and ceramics.

Creative people use their personal understanding of people and the world they live in to guide their work. Creative people like to work in unstructured workplaces, enjoy taking risks and prefer a minimum of routine.

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What’s It About

Pharmaceutical manufacturing is a complex process, with several stages and high skills requirements in many, but not all, roles. Generally the technology and infrastructure you will be working with will be highly advanced. The tasks undertaken in the production process may include chemical synthesis to create the medicine itself, preparing the medicine by mixing it with other agents or creating tablets.

Tablet making often involves two stages, compressing the medicine into tablet form, then coating the tablet. Each of these steps will require different skills and types of experience, meaning many different career paths are available and the range of STEM qualifications which can help you obtain an entry level role is quite broad.

Biopharma in Ireland

Biopharma is one of the largest industrial employers in Ireland with many of the largest biopharma multinationals operating here. Most of these operations’ focus on the production of pharmaceuticals, but research & development and important administration tasks are carried out in Ireland too. Since the first companies opened in the 1960’s the sector has grown enormously, with billons invested in facilities and a significant pool of young experienced talent available.

Career Paths

There are a broad range of roles in pharmaceutical production, ranging from production process jobs, where you operate the machinery that produces the product, to more specialised positions. As pharmaceutical science combines many scientific disciplines to discover, develop and make medicines, qualifications as varied as chemistry, biology or engineering are in demand.

There are also specific qualifications in pharmaceutical science as well as postgraduate courses offering more specialised knowledge, which may be essential to advancement. Among those employed are research scientists, chemists, biologists and pharmacists. On the production side you will find engineers and manufacturing operatives.

While a background in science or engineering is important, even essential, for many roles within the sector it is worth remembering that pharmaceutical companies do employ people with a wide range of skills. The smooth operating of any pharmaceutical enterprise will require people with skills in IT, finance, law, marketing or other specialist fields.

Nature of the Work

Pharmaceutical plants are generally safe environments, with high quality standards. Cleanliness and safety are especially high priorities, while some pharmaceuticals may require special precautions to protect staff from infection.

Working in quality control will require you to oversee and maintain the standard of work, machinery and products, while regulatory compliance will ensure strict policies for pharmaceutical goods are adhered to.

The qualifications you aim for will depend on the type of role you want, other important factors will include your work experience, for example if you’ve worked in manufacturing in another sector as well as your career goals. The sensitivity and complexity of creating and producing pharmaceuticals means significant on the job training will be required.

Pharmaceutical companies are innovative environments, as a result the techniques and technology you work with will be cutting edge and there will be great demand placed on you to develop your skillset and take ownership of your own work. You can prepare for this by perusing upskilling opportunities and staying aware of trends in the industry.

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BioPharmachem Ireland
BioPharmachem Ireland

Occupations in Biopharma
(sorted by Job Zone)

Laboratory Assistant

Laboratory assistants help scientists and laboratory technicians in industrial, medical and educational laboratories.

Biology Laboratory Technician

Works under supervision of a lead scientist, and specialises in routine practical tasks essential to research and development in areas such as genetics, microbiology and chemistry.

Laboratory Technician

Works in a laboratory assisting scientific and technical staff with day to day duties.

Pharmacy Technician

Assists scientists the pharmaceutical industry and and pharmacists in clinical and community pharmacy settings.

Analytical Chemist

Analytical Chemists study the exact chemical composition of natural and artificial materials.

Biochemical Engineer

Biochemical engineering is a branch of chemical engineering which applies technological advancements to biological materials.


Studies the chemistry of animals and plants and analyses their cells and tissues.

Biomedical Scientist

A scientist who specialises in the investigation and research of the science of disease.


Studies the cells, evolution, genes, and various species of plants. They look into how and where plants grow and investigate the impact that chemicals and diseases have on them.

Chemical Engineer

Researches, designs and plans the processes involved in the production of chemicals.


Researches and analyses the content and structure of chemical substances.

Industrial Chemist / Pharmacist

Studies the make-up and behaviour of chemicals, the way they react with each other and how they can be used in industrial processes such as producing plastics, pharmaceuticals or silicon chips.

Manufacturing Engineer

Has expertise in a wide range of manufacturing technologies and computer and management control systems.

Nanosystems Engineer

Designs, develops, or supervises the production of materials, devices, or systems of unique molecular or macromolecular composition.

Patent Agent / Attorney

Operating at the interface between the disciplines of law, language and science, gives legal and technical advice to people who want to protect their inventions.

Production & Process Engineer

Develop economical industrial processes that make the huge range of products on which modern society depends, e.g: food and drink; fuel; artificial fibres; pharmaceuticals; chemicals; electronics, plastics; and clean water.

Production & Process Engineer

Develop economical industrial processes that make the huge range of products on which modern society depends, e.g: food and drink; fuel; artificial fibres; pharmaceuticals; chemicals; electronics, plastics; and clean water.

Production Planner
Plans and prepares the details and resources required for the efficient running of a production process in a manufacturing company.
QC (Quality Control / Assurance) Analyst

Checks and tests materials and finished goods towards ensuring that they meet production standards.

QC (Quality Control / Assurance) Manager

Works to ensure Good Manufacturing Practice requirements are met and that international standards are adhered to.

Test Engineer - ICT

Completes or oversees all the calibration and testing of the various instruments and pieces of equipment used in the lab for measuring, weighing and processing raw and refined materials

Studies the effects of chemicals and medicine on both animals and humans.
Biomedical Engineer

Develops devices and procedures that solve medical and health-related problems by combining their knowledge of biology and medicine with engineering principles and practices.

Studies the human immune system, and prescribes the appropriate drugs to help it fight infections.
Laboratory Manager

Manages all aspects of the laboratory service in chemical, research or clinical laboratories and ensures appropriate staffing, equipment, quality and safety.


Studies and researches micro-organisms like bacteria and algae.


Researches how the nervous system behaves; develops pharmaceuticals for neurological disorders.


Works in the safe dispensing and use of medicines, including providing advice, information and counselling, mostly in a community or hospital setting.