The pharmaceutical industry is undoubtedly a major contributor to the UK economy, whilst also providing and developing life-saving and life enhancing medicines to patients. However, in recent years many within the industry have witnessed a lack of skilled young researchers entering the profession. For the pharmaceutical sector to prevail (especially in such turbulent times) it is essential that companies and organisations continue to have access to a highly skilled research and development, manufacturing and technical workforce in order to achieve it’s potential, maintain the UK’s position at the forefront of life sciences and help combat the challenge of the potential productivity gap.
By recognising the scale and depth of the challenge ahead and desiring a thriving pharmaceutical and life sciences sector in the UK, a group of representatives of the pharmaceutical industry, including the Clinical Professionals Group - Cpl Life Sciences, came together as a ‘trailblazer’ group to develop the Clinical Trials Specialists Degree Apprenticeship standards and End Point Assessment criteria. Apprenticeships have changed now so that they are employer-led, ensuring the criteria and calibre is fit for purpose for industry. It was interesting though how few employers could commit to being part of the trailblazer group, and still how many are unaware of the apprenticeship scheme as a whole.
The aim of the representatives has been to create a long term, cross sector platform for the future delivery of clinical study practitioners to the industry. The consortium is built up of partners in the industry who are committed to maximising the opportunities and rewards which can be gained from engaging young people in the fortunes of medicines development in the UK.
The Clinical Trials Specialist Degree Apprenticeship (Level 6) takes advantage of the UK governments new route into vocational education combining the best aspects of higher education and on-the-job training over a period of 4-5 years while studying for a BSc Hons qualification. The Clinical Trials Specialist works in both public and private research organisations, generally in the pharmaceutical or biotechnology industries.
Clinical Professionals - Cpl Life Sciences Divisional Director Sarah Goddard comments:“The Clinical Trial Specialist Apprenticeship, along with the new Regulatory Affairs Specialist Apprenticeship led by TOPRA, are 2 fantastic new initiatives by government and industry to look at rectifying the dramatically widening skills gap in the clinical research sector. We are proud to have invested huge amounts of time and energy into these apprenticeships, along with fellow trailblazers from all sides of industry; a big thank you to Hannah Barry @ GSK for leading our trailblazer group and all of the Executive team and other members who have worked tirelessly around their busy day jobs to help make this dream a reality. These new apprenticeships will be pivotal in the evolution of talent creation for our sector and maintaining our leadership and strength in the life sciences sector in the UK. Clinical Professionals - Cpl Life Sciences are also delighted to be partnering with University of Kent on delivering the training for the degree programme for the CTS apprenticeship, utilising our strength in training of entry level candidates through our highly successful, accredited and award-winning CP Academies. This is a very exciting time for new talent into the sector and gives a different option for those not necessarily wanting to go straight to University. Let’s hope they are the first 2 of many!”