Apprentices and participating employers will gather at Oxford BioMedica today to discuss how the first-of-its-kind programme is key to the UK meeting the industry demands for advanced therapies. Multiple training programmes for entering the most cutting-edge area of the life sciences industry in England and Scotland will be launching in 2019

05 March 2019

The Cell and Gene Therapy (CGT) Catapult and industry representatives are today recognising the first successful months of the apprenticeship programme for the Advanced Therapy Medicinal Products (ATMP) industry, which was set up in 2018.

The event, entitled “Securing the Advanced Therapies Talent Pipeline Through Apprenticeships,” will be held at Oxford BioMedica. Inspirational apprentices will share their experiences and employers from across the sector will provide insight into the impact that apprentices are having on their organisations. Dr Ian Campbell, interim Executive Chair, Innovate UK for UK Research and Innovation, will be delivering the keynote speech, discussing how more life sciences companies should be encouraged to participate in the scheme as it is a crucial part of the Government’s modern Industrial Strategy.

The scheme, established by the CGT Catapult in partnership with MMIP with £1.5m from the Government’s Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, enrolled its first cohort of 17 apprentices in October 2018, chosen from over 200 applicants. The scheme now includes a total of 5 programmes running across both England and Scotland ranging from GCSE equivalent to Master’s degree level.

The first cohort of apprentices are embedded at CGT Catapult and seven companies active in the ATMP sector – GlaxoSmithKline, Oxford Biomedica, NHS Blood and Transplant, Autolus, Allergan, Cobra and Replimune – while simultaneously studying Applied Biological Sciences at the University of Kent. With recruitment underway for a senior leader cohort and further cohorts focused on science and regulatory affairs planned for this year, the programme is already delivering on its mission to build the skills base needed to develop a thriving UK ATMP industry.

Commenting on the progress of the ATMP apprenticeship scheme, Keith Thompson, Chief Executive Officer of CGT Catapult, said:

“Extending the UK’s leadership in cell and gene therapies will rely in large part on us having enough people with the right skills to research, develop, manufacture and commercialise these cutting-edge medicines. This apprenticeship programme is an important step towards meeting that goal. I am delighted by today’s gathering of prospective and current apprentice employers, apprentices, and training providers and look forward to these new programmes having a positive impact on the UK’s future workforce.”

Dr Ian Campbell, interim Executive Chair, Innovate UK for UK Research and Innovation added:

“This unique apprenticeship programme is an inspiring example of how industry and government can work together to create opportunities and develop the exclusive skills and capabilities necessary to help develop the solutions to tackle debilitating illnesses and conditions. This is a model that can be adopted across the cell and gene therapy industry to ensure we create the right workforce to support growth in the most innovative parts of our economy.”