Powerful collaborations on skills create immediate and lasting impact on sector employers and the workforce

The Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult (CGT Catapult) is pleased to announce that the 2022 Richard Wilson Impact Award has been given to the Advanced Therapies Apprenticeship Community programme (ATAC), run by CGT Catapult. The award was collected by Dr Stephen Ward (Chief Manufacturing Officer) on behalf of CGT Catapult and its Skills Development team, at the 19th Annual bioProcessUK Conference 2022 and was joined in stage by over a dozen representatives of the ATAC community. The award was presented by Dr Kit Erlebach, Strategic and Transformational Venture Manager & BioIndustry Association Manufacturing Advisory Committee (BIAMAC) Chair, FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies.

The Richard Wilson Impact Award acknowledges those who make a significant contribution to the bioprocessing sector, and is named in honour of Richard Wilson, co-inventor of the Lonza GS system. As an industry nominated award, it represents a valuable recognition of the ATAC programme, which was selected through nominations and voting from the BIA MAC and previous award winners.

The award builds on the wider training industry recognition that CGT Catapult Skills has received and comes in the wake of successfully achieving the ‘Princess Royal Training Award’ standard, which was first announced in August, and will also be received by Dr Stephen Ward on behalf of CGTC Catapult (6th December). The ‘Princess Royal Training Award’ celebrates UK employers whose training and skills development programmes have resulted in exceptional benefits for their business. In the case of CGT Catapult, this includes he positive impact ATAC and the national Advanced Therapy Skills and Training Network (ATSTN) is having on learners and organisations across the wider advanced therapy community, including within CGT Catapult.

CGT Catapult and skills collaborations are having a significant impact on the capability, capacity and sustainability of the sector’s workforce, which is being achieved by engaging with stakeholders in growing skill sets and future talent for UK employers. The 2021 Skills Demand Survey anticipated growth in CGT bioindustry roles of 151% between 2021 & 2026 and the need to support key roles and skills gaps in manufacturing, supply chain and logistics, process development and total quality.

Both awards are also a testament to the work of several groups; firstly, the incredible apprentices themselves (about 300 amazing advocates of the programme)); secondly, the ATAC and ATSTN industry pioneers: Oxford BiomedicaPharmaron Biologics (UK) LtdReplimuneCobra Biologics, A Charles River CompanyNHS Blood and Transplant,GSK, Autolus Ltd, and the Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult; finally, Investment UK and the many other employers who have supported these programmes.

“Huge congratulations are due to everyone connected with these award wins, they are a great example that ATAC and the work of the wider skills sector are having on communities across the UK, and it is crucial we continue to drive talent pipelines locally. It is also a great example of “levelling up” and penetrating society in a significant and beneficial way by giving school leavers access to this amazing sector, where they’re going to have a lifetime of opportunity in a growing industry.”

Matthew Durdy, Chief Executive of CGT Catapult

“The Richard Wilson Impact Award is nominated and voted for by the bioprocessing community, so to receive this prestigious award is a great honour – the “players’ player” award! ATAC is delivered by the Catapult, but is driven by industry, with over fifty organisations now using apprenticeships to build their workforce through both new talent and upskilling existing employees, and that number continues to grow at pace.”

Annette England, BIA