Careers at CatSci Part 2: James Winkley & Abigail Gillison

Feb 25th 2021
Careers at CatSci Blog: Image of James Winkley and Abigail Gillison

A Conversation with our Staff

In continuation of our Careers at CatSci series, we sat down with two more of our team members who hold operational support and finance roles within the company. We asked James Winckley and Abigail Gillison to discuss their specialist roles within CatSci, including their day-to-day activities and what they love most about being a part of the CatSci family. Read on for a behind-the-scenes look at CatSci’s technical roles.

James Winckley, a lab technician at CatSci, has been part of the CatSci team for a year. He graduated from Cardiff University with a BSc in Chemistry, followed shortly by an MSc in Food Science and Technology at Cardiff Metropolitan University. James spent 18 months at Abergavenny Fine Foods Ltd. in quality assurance before moving back to Cardiff to join CatSci as our new technician.

Abigail Gillison, a finance accountant at CatSci, was welcomed to the CatSci team in August 2020. Abigail has a background in accounting, having achieved an AAT Level 4 Professional Diploma in Accounting.

Describe a typical day in your role

James Winckley: My days are quite varied. I normally start by assessing the tasks that need to be completed on the day and prioritise the most urgent ones. I then typically carry out my routine responsibilities, including unpacking deliveries of chemicals and consumables and delivering them to the relevant person, checking stocks and gases for new orders, carrying out purchasing and monitoring health and safety. I then tackle the bigger, less routine tasks such as arranging international shipping of samples, setting up or repairing lab equipment, arranging annual services, regenerating glovebox filters to ensure the inert conditions are maintained, communicating our waste requirements to our waste contractor and looking into the best utility contract.

Abigail Gillison: I have regular daily tasks that structure my day, however, no two days are ever the same. I am a part of a small but busy department that means there is always something new to be involved with. My routine tasks involve processing supplier invoices, posting bank transactions and maintaining the supplier ledger to name a few.

What is the working environment at CatSci like?

James: The importance of good working relationships is recognised by everybody here. There is also really strong communication running through the business, which helps to maintain motivation and focus. These factor into an enjoyable and friendly working environment, where individuals can have assurance in the abilities and commitment of the rest of the team.

Abigail: CatSci is one of the friendliest companies I have ever worked for. As soon as I started, I felt warmly welcomed. All staff are made to feel included and there is a nice social feel around the company, which they have tried to maintain despite social distancing. I have quickly learnt that there is always cake available!

What element of your work do you enjoy most?

James: I enjoy it most when I (or we collectively) have solved a problem or made an improvement, big or small, to how we do something, which then has a positive consequence on the business. I also enjoy being able to recognise and celebrate this with my colleagues.

Abigail: I like the challenging elements and also the variety of the job role. There are many areas of finance and tasks that may only come around once a month, a quarter or year, which adds interest to daily tasks and routines. Being part of a fast paced and growing company also means there is always something new to challenge you each month.

When did you realise you wanted a career in this sector and what steps did you take to get there?

James: I found during a research project at university that I really enjoyed the lab environment. However, I did not particularly want to pursue chemistry academically any further. Being a lab technician provides me with the familiarity of this working environment, and I can lean on my experience in that respect, but the large scope of different duties in supporting the business here from an operational aspect appealed to me the most. Working for a food manufacturer prior to joining CatSci triggered my interest in the different components of a business and how they work together to achieve a bigger objective.

Abigail: I have worked in various sectors, however, I realised that I needed a career path where I could grow and develop, and one that could keep challenging me. Accountancy provides all these aspects and there is always something new to learn. In order to pursue it as a career, I took an entry level role in accountancy and began studying AAT at a local college.

What are your career aspirations?

 James: I want to become increasingly valuable to CatSci and develop expertise in the areas I currently cover. In time, I want to be a leader of a team where I can effectively facilitate contributions and encourage high performance. I would like to become someone who is relied upon to make important decisions in a professional environment.

Abigail: My aspirations are to continue to develop my knowledge of the accounting sector and develop this knowledge as the company grows. I wish to become an integral member of the CatSci finance team.

What are some of your career highlights or your most proud moment to date?

 James: The work I do is quite continuous, it is not necessarily easy to point out individual moments. I am proud anytime I have been patient and persistent in achieving something and it has paid off. Receiving positive feedback from my colleagues is always an encouragement and highlight.

Abigail: My greatest career highlight is achieving my Professional Diploma in Accounting. Achieving this qualification has taken me many years and sacrifices. There was a time when I wasn’t sure if I would achieve it. I proudly hang my certificate on the wall. I am also proud to not only achieve the qualification but also succeed in this chosen career path.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

James: I would encourage my younger self to have more confidence in their abilities, particularly those which are unique and therefore are more valuable to others, and to develop and demonstrate them more.

Abigail: There are so many jobs in the world. Don’t expect to find the perfect one straight away. It’s OK to change careers.

CatSci is celebrating its 10th birthday. What do you think is in store for CatSci in the next 10 years?

James: Impressive growth in many ways: in the physical size of the site, our number of employees, and customers, the scope of work, capabilities, expertise, performance and reputation, all whilst maintaining the attention to detail that makes CatSci the successful innovation partner it currently is and a special place to work.

Abigail: There are big plans for the next 10 years that will enable us to better address our customers’ needs. Lots of growth and expansion within the company, creating even more career opportunities and experience. Exciting times ahead!

Are you interested in joining the CatSci team? You can find our current vacancies here

Take a look at the rest of our Careers at CatSci series here.