Science Industry Partnership marks one year of employers addressing skills development in chemicals and life sciences

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Written on 21 April 2015 in News
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The SIP board – led by GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), along with representatives from other leading science sector companies – are now urging organisations not yet participating in the employer-led skills initiative to start the process in this new financial year, as co-funding available via the SIP pilot will end in March 2016

The science industries’ £52m skills and talent initiative, the Science Industry Partnership (SIP) – facilitated by Cogent Skills – has surpassed 2,000 new people being trained as the initiative reaches its first anniversary this month.

This includes a range of employers in the chemicals and life sciences sectors now benefiting from Government investment for people development and training designed by and for employers in the sector.

Indeed, 55 per cent of these learners are working in Industrial Sciences including chemicals, industrial biotechnology, polymers and advanced materials and coatings, and 45 per cent are working in the Life Sciences sector – which includes pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, medical technology and consumer healthcare.

The total investment is made up of a Government contribution of £32.6 million, with £20 million from employers, alongside £31 million employer in-kind contributions – including time and resources.

The SIP board – led by GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), along with representatives from other leading science sector companies – are now urging organisations not yet participating in the employer-led skills initiative to start the process in this new financial year, as co-funding available via the SIP pilot will end in March 2016.

More than 260 companies have engaged with the SIP, undertaking recruitment, training and new talent development programmes co-funded through the partnership and delivered through Cogent Skills’ range of delivery services including Apprenticeships, Placements and Training Courses.

Malcolm Skingle, director, GSK and chairman of the SIP board, said: “With more than 2,000 science sector employees accessing Apprenticeships, Placements as well as training and development within its first year, the SIP has made significant progress in transforming skills across the UK’s science-based, world-leading industries which are essential to the country’s economic prosperity.  

“The combination of Government funding and employer contributions for the £52m investment pot – alongside employer designed training courses and new talent services delivered by Cogent Skills – is addressing the current skills gaps and shortages across the sector and enabling businesses to innovate for the future of the UK’s science economy.”

Stephen Trillo, HR & OD Director at Lotte Chemical UK, added: “The SIP programmes have helped enable us as a company to deliver on our Organisational Development and Manpower Strategy, which engages everyone in the company.

“We have been able to increase the number of apprenticeship and graduate training programmes, whilst also increasing the level of training and development of our staff. It also helps provide a positive work environment and feel-good factor as, like any business, it is important that existing employees can transfer their skills and expertise to the next generation of workers and our employees thoroughly enjoy their role in supporting, training and mentoring apprentices and graduates, who bring fresh ideas and knowledge into the company.

“The SIP is a fantastic opportunity for employers of all sizes to actively engage with the local community, schools and colleges whilst gaining funding to bridge the skills gap. The support is there, employers just need to get involved to make a difference and ensure we maintain a skilled workforce with a continuous pipeline of new talent to ensure we can continue to operate our businesses safely and competitively within a global market place.”

According to the latest figures the SIP has so far achieved:

·         260 companies engaging with the SIP

·         32 traineeships started

·         372 apprenticeships started

·         1,652 people training through Workforce Development

·         16 Modular Masters started

·         41 Industry Degrees

·         10,066 people accessing careers advice

·         52 training providers quality assured

·         65 SIP ambassadors trained

Cogent Skills – the strategic skills partner to science sector employers – has heralded the SIP’s first-year success as a significant step in its own “2020 vision” for the UK to attain world-leading capabilities in science sector innovation and growth in the next five years.

Cogent Skills CEO Joanna Woolf added: “The joint-funding and access to quality-assured training providers companies is enabling employers to develop skills excellence and ensure that the science industry sector is a world leader fit to meet the healthcare and industrial challenges of the 21st century.

“In particular, the increasing emphasis on research and development in biologics requires the development of new skills and capabilities to build a modern workforce that is well-versed in new and rapidly advancing biopharmaceutical techniques. Indeed biotechnology and bioprocesses in engineering, technology, medicine and other fields is requiring new skills right across the Sector.”

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