It has been my childhood dream that I would like to develop effective and innovative skin care for women around the globe as beautiful skin enhances our confidence and self-pride. This has enticed me to enrol into the Pharmaceutical Chemistry undergraduate programme at IMU which is the only higher education institution which offers this particular niche programme in Malaysia. And it was my great blessings that I was accepted by Sky Resources Group which is a GMP certified cosmetic manufacturer to practice my internship.
During the four months of internship, I gained extensive hands-on experience on cosmetic manufacturing operational process which I have never realized beforehand. On the first day of my internship, I was assigned to the QA/QC Department (Quality Assurance/Quality Control) at one of their facilities located at Bukit Tengah, Penang. Quality assurance (QA) is a final step of production line in trouble-shooting and mitigating unwanted risk of contamination in finished products in a clean environment, following the strict guidelines of good manufacturing practices. During this part of the internship, I learned to outline the theoretical administrative and procedural activities in implementing the quality system to ensure that the final requirement of a product will be fulfilled.
Meanwhile, quality control (QC) refers to a set of methodologies which ensures the efficacy and safety of products and its raw materials adhere to a specified set of quality requirements. During the progress, I realised that efficient quality control is vital in building a smooth and successful relationship with their clientele base by meeting up to their expectations.
Due to insufficient workforce during the pandemic, I was involved in numerous interesting projects and activities beyond my scope of responsibilities. I was required to update the working instructions to monitor G5 ERP system which was utilised to amend necessary work centres for production and to update the working instructions for each process.
I was given the freedom to try out new ideas as my supervisor guided me. This is how I improved and learned a lot. More importantly, this out-of-campus internship programme has endured me to adopt a learning-by-doing approach while performing experiential learning in the workplace. For instance, the lecture on “Quality Issues in the Laboratory on National and International Quality Standards and Certification” in the Pharmaceutical Chemistry programme had helped me to build a fundamental understanding on ISO certification which includes its scope, general, structural, resource, process, and management system requirements.
During my internship, I was fortunate enough to be granted the golden opportunity to attend the training on ISO certification compliance and off-site ISO auditing which have served as an invaluable hands-on experience for me to understand the significance of acquiescent of regulatory documents and SOP specifications within a postulated time.
Moreover, lectures from the Pharmaceutical Engineering module on various liquid mixing criteria such as types of liquid mixing and its mechanism, equipment of liquid mixing and different types of liquid mixing impellers has benefited me to easily understand the mixing mechanisms in the real workplace and the crucial steps for efficient mixing. Based on the theoretical studies, I selected the most appropriate mixing equipment to obtain a consistent and uniform mixing product.
Besides, the practical lab session of the Basic and Applied Microbiology module in Semester 3 has enabled me to acquire skills in transferring microbial organisms from a culture tube of broth or to an agar plate utilising aseptic method and to enumerate microbial organisms using the total and viable count technique while practicing the actual microbial examination for cosmetic product during my internship.
One of the biggest learning of my internship was definitely soft skills. It was my first time engaged in a big group other than schools. I have learned how to interact effectively with colleagues and collaborate with people from different expertise and fields who are all interconnected in ensuring the success of a product.
To me, a successful cosmetic product is the perfect match between good marketing and ground-breaking science. The most exciting outcome is that I have gained confidence which leads me closer to achieve my goals towards my future career development. It is undeniable that scientific knowledge provides a solid base, but the real professional workplace is completely different from what you can learn at school. It is extremely important to understand the industry well while analysing my strengths and weaknesses for me to grow towards a positive direction in the field of cosmetology.
|My Tips for a Successful Internship|
|Treat the internship like a real job, because it is indeed a real job. Have initiative and be proactive to learn!|
Written by Gwen Lim Ee Szuen (PC219)