University of Oxford

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Emilia Reyes Pabon was vital in supporting our manufacture of ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 vaccine – the UK’s first COVID-19 vaccine to enter clinical trials.  The record-breaking speed with which we were able to successfully produce the University of Oxford’s COVID-19 vaccine, between March and April 2020, was enabled by the efficiency with which our Apprentice, Emilia, ensured we had sufficient supplies of everything we needed and that our cleanrooms used for vaccine production were clean, monitored and maintained at all times.

As an Apprentice Technician Scientist Emilia’s job description included supporting the Production team manufacturing vaccines in our cleanrooms, according to the strict regulations of Good Manufacturing Practice.  Her work involved sterilising equipment, restocking supplies, environmental monitoring to ensure appropriate cleanliness and regular cleaning of the rooms and equipment. She also worked for part of her time with the Facilities team, ensuring equipment was maintained, tested and cleaned correctly. 

photo (c) John Cairns

Once the COVID-19 pandemic began and we were tasked with producing a vaccine as quickly as possible so that a clinical trial could be started, we relied on Emilia’s dedication to her role and her diligence and competency to ensure we could achieve this goal. During this time Emilia adapted well to continuing her studies and lectures remotely with her training provider (CSR).  Her hard work paid off and she was rewarded with a Distinction in her apprenticeship in August 2020.  

We believe that Emilia has great future potential for a very successful career in this field. She has the passion and aptitude to develop and progress her skills and knowledge which will continue to benefit the Clinical BioManufacturing Facility and any future employer. For this reason, we have been very pleased to be able to offer her a new three-year higher apprenticeship – Level 5 Technician Scientist – with the intention to extend this by a further two years for Emilia to complete her Level 6 apprenticeship and gain her degree. Emilia is a great example of how taking on an apprentice can be beneficial for all involved.

In association with the armed forces (Royal Navy, British Army and Royal Air Force)