Firms reliant on the life science sectors have established a new ‘Science Industry Partnership’ to help develop new skills in the UK.

The new Partnership has already signed up around 50 employers: some of the first to become engaged include: GlaxoSmithKline, Pfizer, Johnson and Johnson, Amgen, MedImmune, Fujifilm Diosynth, Ineos, Victrex, Takeda Cambridge and Pentagon Chemicals.

Together these employers are developing a new vision of the skills base needed for global success. The Science Industry Partnership will commission innovative skills solutions which will challenge the status quo, while also ensuring the UK has the technicians, scientists and innovators of the future. 

To establish the Partnership a range of leading employers from the science-using sector will be submitting a bid into the Government’s Employer Ownership of Skills Pilot to use some of the £340 million competitive fund. The Science Industry Partnership’s bid into this EOP fund will be fully supported by Cogent, the strategic skills body for the science-based industries

This fund is investing in a range of pilot proposals from employers who are willing to work together in similar partnerships and take ownership of skills in their sectors.

GSK director Malcolm Skingle, who will chair the Science Industry Partnership, said: “If Britain is to remain at the cutting edge of scientific discovery, it’s crucial that we’re able to access the right talent and that we know how to nurture this. This partnership will put employers in the driving seat, allowing us to identify ways of attracting the best young people and in turn securing the essential skill base for a prosperous UK science-based sector.”

The Partnership will focus on the talent needed for the future and places an emphasis on using skills as the vehicle for technology adoption and innovation.

Consultation so far suggests employers are keen to develop solutions around attracting young people into important and exciting science jobs; increasing and supporting apprenticeships; developing graduate employability and embedding work placements in degrees, ensuring standards-led training for the current workforce, building masters’ programmes around strategically important technologies and establishing even stronger collaboration between industry, education and training providers.

SMEs will also benefit from the Science Industry Partnership, which is aimed at supporting the skills development so vital to the scientific supply chain and to the innovative small to medium-sized companies, which it says are crucial to the sector’s success.