Science Industry Partnership celebrates successful first year

Posted on 22 Apr 2015 by Jonny Williamson

The science industries’ £52m skills and talent initiative, the Science Industry Partnership (SIP) has surpassed 2,000 new people being trained as the initiative reaches its first anniversary this month.

The figure includes a range of employers in the chemicals and life sciences sectors now benefiting from government investment for people development and training designed by and for employers in the sector.

More than half (55%) are working currently in Industrial Sciences including chemicals; industrial biotechnology; polymers, and advanced materials & coatings; and 45% are working in the Life Sciences sector, which includes pharmaceuticals; biotechnology; medical technology, and consumer healthcare.

According to the latest figures, the SIP has so far achieved:

  • 260 companies engaging with the SIP
  • 32 traineeships started
  • 372 apprenticeships started
  • 1,652 people training through Workforce Development
  • 16 Modular Masters started
  • 41 Industry Degrees
  • 10,066 people accessing careers advice
  • 52 training providers quality assured
  • 65 SIP ambassadors trained

The total investment is made up of a government contribution of £32.6m, with £20m from employers, alongside £31m employer in-kind contributions – including time and resources.

The SIP board – led by GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), along with representatives from other leading science sector companies – are now urging organisations not yet participating in the employer-led skills initiative to start the process in this new financial year, as co-funding available via the SIP pilot will end in March 2016.

More than 260 companies have engaged with the SIP, undertaking recruitment, training and new talent development programmes co-funded through the partnership and delivered through Cogent Skills’ range of delivery services including apprenticeships, placements and training courses.

Malcolm Skingle, director of GSK and chair of the SIP board, commented: “Within its first year, the SIP has made significant progress in transforming skills across the UK’s science-based, world-leading industries which are essential to the country’s economic prosperity.

“The £52m investment is addressing the current skills gaps and shortages across the sector and enabling businesses to innovate for the future of the UK’s science economy.”

Stephen Trillo - Lotte Chemical UK
Stephen Trillo, HR OD director, Lotte Chemical UK.

Stephen Trillo, HR OD director at Lotte Chemical UK, added: “The SIP programmes have helped enable us as a company to deliver on our organisational development and manpower strategy, which engages everyone in the company.

“We’ve been able to increase the number of apprenticeship and graduate training programmes, while increasing the level of training and development of our staff. It also helps provide a positive work environment and feel-good factor as, like any business, it’s important that existing employees can transfer their skills and expertise to the next generation of workers.”

Trillo continued: “The SIP is a fantastic opportunity for employers of all sizes to actively engage with the local community, schools and colleges while gaining funding to bridge the skills gap.

“The support is there, employers just need to get involved to make a difference and ensure we maintain a skilled workforce with a continuous pipeline of new talent to ensure we can continue to operate our businesses safely and competitively within a global market place.”

Cogent Skills – the strategic skills partner to science sector employers – has heralded the SIP’s first-year success as a significant step in its own “2020 vision” for the UK to attain world-leading capabilities in science sector innovation and growth in the next five years.

Cogent Skills CEO, Joanna WoolfCogent Skills CEO, Joanna Woolf
Joanna Woolf, CEO, Cogent Skills.

Cogent Skills CEO, Joanna Woolf added: “The joint-funding and access to quality-assured training companies is enabling employers to develop skills excellence and ensure that the science industry sector is a world leader fit to meet the healthcare and industrial challenges of the 21st century.

“In particular, the increasing emphasis on research and development in biologics requires the development of new skills and capabilities to build a modern workforce that is well-versed in new and rapidly advancing biopharmaceutical techniques. Indeed biotechnology and bioprocesses in engineering, technology, medicine and other fields is requiring new skills right across the sector.”