Our Operations Director, Stuart Penny, recently met with key figures from the Life Sciences industry to discuss the skills shortages facing the sector nationwide and the nature of the challenge in the North East of England.
The event, which was organised by business and entrepreneurial title, Business Quarter Magazine, was a great opportunity to meet with a diverse range of organisations from across the region with an interest in supporting a flourishing Life Sciences sector.
Discussions between the panellists, who represented local NHS Trusts, Universities, research companies and business development organisations, provided interesting and valuable insights into the scale of the challenge and possible solutions. From the need to ensure that pressures on the curriculum don’t eclipse the skills and attributes that employers most need young people to develop, to the importance of employers having high expectations of students. There was also significant discussion of the need to find opportunities to set real problems for students of all ages to solve so as to create a sense of purpose and generate excitement around the subject.
Speaking at the event, Stuart commented: “To train young people to be chemists they also need to possess the skills of a good scientist. Vocational training can be a really useful tool to help make sure that young scientists have the necessary practical skills to progress within the industry. To enable vocational training to work though, we need to greater connections between employers and universities and more part-time science degrees, but universities can only offer these if industry supports and encourages students towards this route.”
We’ve recently appointed a STEM co-ordinator to help encourage local youngsters to pursue careers in the chemical and pharmaceutical industry. Click here to find out more! [Link to stem co-ordinator piece]