Media Release: Event seeks career formula for life science success

LIFE science businesses will be outlining career opportunities in the sector and the capabilities required from new recruits, at an event in Glasgow today (February, 23).

Organised by Skills Development Scotland in partnership with the Sector Skills Council for Life Sciences in Scotland SEMTA, it will enable industry operators to communicate directly with careers and guidance advisers, schools, colleges and universities.

Endorsed by the Scottish Stem Cell Network, it is one of a programme of similar events for each of Scotland’s six key sectors.

Says a spokesperson: “The life science sector has grown by six per cent annually over the last eight years and has been boosted by the innovative energy of its high concentration of SMEs.

“It is seen as one of Scotland’s key sectors in the Government’s Economic Strategy which supports ambitious development plans for science clusters such as those at the Edinburgh bio-quarter and the proposed Inverness Campus.

“However, a recent Life Sciences Skills Research Report commissioned by partner skills agencies indicates that over 20 per cent of employers feel that attracting appropriately skilled staff is a significant challenge.

“Over half of those surveyed were concerned that candidates offered low levels of technical skills such as laboratory, research and development capabilities.”

Gill Blair, strategic relations manager for Life Sciences at SDS, explained: “The increased collaboration between academia, research centres and commercial operators is providing the right balance of inputs to support continued growth in life sciences.

“However. it is important that employers get the opportunity to feed information back to training, education and guidance providers so young people are informed about the opportunities that exist.

“They need to be making informed choices and to access the right training to make them eligible for roles in the sector and to be productive at an early stage in their careers.”

The importance of the event at the Glasgow Science Centre was endorsed by Kevin Price, chief executive of the Scottish Stem Cell Network.

He said: “Scotland holds a world-leading position in life sciences, particularly in stem cells and regenerative medicine. We need people to make life sciences a career choice so companies have local talent from which to recruit.

“That’s why careers information events which raise awareness of the sector, such as this one are so important.

“We are working on a range of projects aimed at ensuring people have the information and skills to meet this growing need.

“For example, our schools project takes stem cell scientists into schools to deliver topical information and activities. It aims to equip students to debate the broader issues around new technologies and gain insight from the scientists into the career opportunities available.”

Representative employers from across the life science disciplines in Scotland such as pharmaceuticals, bio-technology and medical instrumentation will be giving presentations to delegates.

Participants will also get the opportunity to hear from life science modern apprentices and graduates who have recently entered the industry.

They will outline what led them to study science and pursue a career in one of Scotland’s key growth sectors.

Brian Humphrey, from SEMTA, explained: “This is one of a number of initiatives we are developing with our partners to enable much closer dialogue between employers and skills providers.

“We want to raise the profile of the sector as a potential career path for young people, and for those who are influencing the skills agenda to understand the importance that it is making to the Scottish economy.”

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Contact: Skills Development Scotland press team