Toby Butcher

A perfect combination: how I started out in regulatory affairs

Toby Butcher works in regulatory affairs for TRAC Services. Here he talks about the key experiences needed for the profession: communication and time management.

After completing my degree in Chemistry, I knew I wanted a job in the scientific sector but not within a laboratory environment. Soon after finishing university I spent three months working within the healthcare industry to gain work experience and insight to potential future careers. I then secured my first job within a secondary school as a Senior Laboratory Technician. I used this job to gain life skills, organisation, time management and communication all of which are highly required for regulatory affairs.

After 6 months in my laboratory technician role, I spotted a local newspaper advert for a job vacancy for a regulatory affairs trainee position. After researching the role further from TOPRA, MHRA and EMA websites, I decided this could be the career I had been looking for. The combination of chemistry, strategy and working with people greatly appealed to me. My work experience and senior laboratory role helped me secure my regulatory affairs training position.

Advice to graduates

My advice for any graduates considering entering the profession is to gain work experience in any job that requires good communication and time management skills before applying, so you can demonstrate the key qualities of a regulatory affairs executive at interview.

The majority of applicants who enter regulatory affairs come from other sectors of the industry such as quality assurance or R&D etc. For graduates like myself, I would recommend either applying to big pharma graduate recruitment schemes or small consultancy based companies, where both are willing to provide training for regulatory affairs.

Four years on, I am now in a Senior Regulatory Affairs position at TRAC Services, where I support global product portfolios and advise regulatory strategy decisions for CMC related changes.

Toby’s professional development continued throughout his time at TRAC Services and he has since taken a position at GSK.