Shirin Alwash-standing in front of a canal

Pharmacist committed to providing opportunities for the next generation

Pharmacy graduate Shirin Alwash shares the importance of supporting new pharmacists and the positive impact of diversity at Brighton.

Shirin, who works as a Training and Development Manager for Paydens Pharmacies, is inspiring the next generation of pharmacists.

Reflecting on her own journey and experience to create work-based training programmes to help prepare and upskill new graduates for a career in the pharmacy industry; Shirin is a true example of the Brighton Effect. She is taking that energy and using it to help others embarking on a similar career path.

Shirin also tells us about how meeting people from different backgrounds during her time at Brighton was important for the communication and relationship-building skills she has carried with her into her career.

Brighton as a diverse place to live and learn

“Brighton is vibrant, multicultural, and inclusive, both as a university and a city. During this time in my life, I met people from all different walks of life and yet we all had so much in common. I learnt about different cultures and am still in touch with many of my international university friends today.

Meeting different cultures at university fosters diversity, enriches perspectives and promotes understanding of different personalities/cultures which I think is really important for preparing us to enhance our communication and collaboration skills.

One funny memory I have from my time in Brighton is having a burger stolen out of my hands by a hungry seagull as I crossed the road. Safe to say I was hangry!”

Inspiring the next generation

“My current role at Paydens Pharmacies is Training and Development Manager, which means I oversee the foundation year programme for the trainee pharmacists and the training and development of pharmacists. I am proud to be managing this programme for the pharmacy students who have just completed their degrees and it’s a role I had worked towards for years!

When starting my role, I reflected on my own experience and realised how important it was to make work experience more accessible to students and hence created several programmes and partnerships with universities to allow students this opportunity at Paydens Pharmacies. Many of whom decide to stay on with us and are now fully fledged and competent pharmacists. Seeing this journey through makes all the long days worthwhile!

I am now also starting the independent prescribing course which is a postgraduate certification which will allow me to prescribe medicines where appropriate. Soon, all pharmacists graduating will have the qualification so any pharmacists currently registered can do the additional eight-month course to keep upskilled.”

Creating flexible opportunities and building relationships in the workplace

“The pharmacy degree landscape is always changing quickly. However, during my time at university I thought it was necessary to demonstrate hands-on knowledge to potential employers so worked part time. However, I found this could hinder my studies and was not a structured learning environment hence why I wanted to create a more flexible working pattern for students with tailored training plans. Feedback shows that this has improved their practical skills and improved their chances of success in a competitive job market.

During my career I have built many relationships with external stakeholders by engaging in open communication, understanding their needs, and collaborating on mutual goals. This has led to securing funding, cross-sector placements to bridge the gap of experience for students.

This allows me the time and resource to foster a supportive environment, listen actively, provide valuable resources, and encourage participation in academic and extracurricular activities as part of an additional course offered to students outside of the university.”

Success and advice

“Success to me is the journey of having an aim in mind and stopping at nothing to get it. However, the aim is forever changing so success is more the journey than it is the destination.

With so much to do and too little time my four years at the University of Brighton went by in a flash. So my advice to students would be cherish the time and make the most of networking because you could be amongst friends for life!”

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