Make it in Great Britain Industry Champion – Ian McCubbin

Ian McCubbin - GlaxoSmithKline

Ian McCubbin

Senior Vice President, Supply Chain – Global Manufacturing and Supply, GlaxoSmithKline

Ian McCubbin is Senior Vice President, Supply Chain – Global Manufacturing and Supply, GlaxoSmithKline. Ian leads the development and implementation of manufacturing and supply chain strategy for the pharmaceutical and consumer health divisions. The supply chain within GSK is extensive, global and supports commercial operations in over 120 countries. Ian has responsibility for direct procurement, logistics and Contract Manufacturing Organisation management. In addition he leads the manufacturing strategic planning group.

Ian is a pharmacist and a member of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society GB with 25-years experience in the pharmaceutical industry with four different companies. His core capability is in the field of manufacturing and supply chain leadership in both the generic sector and the branded sector of the industry.

How has your company engaged with young people and the community to improve the image of manufacturing

Many of our nine manufacturing sites across the UK engage with young people in the local community, either through factory tours, STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Maths) ambassador activity, or talks about their careers.

We offer a range of career opportunities available to young people with the right blend of talent, inspiration and commitment, and which allow people to join the company at different stages of their education:

We offer a limited number of work experience placements for school students each year at our sites

We have an apprenticeship programme, offering opportunities to both school and college leavers and a genuine alternative to going to university

We offer 6-12 month industrial placements for university students as part of a sandwich degree course and a number of summer placements.

In addition, we train all of our manufacturing Graduate Trainees to be STEM ambassadors from day 1 of working in GSK. They go out and are engaged with local schools across the UK as part of several STEM based schemes and initiatives. As an example, two of our Graduate Engineers visited a school in Barnard Castle last month, and delivered a session aimed at educating the children on potential careers in Manufacturing and Engineering.

We also partner with several education-based charities across the UK to increase the effectiveness and impact of our efforts with schools.

What have you personally contributed to help improve the image of manufacturing?

GSK remains committed to the UK as a manufacturing location, and I am involved in the strategic decisions about manufacturing and supply which result in the creation of high quality employment opportunities at our sites.

I commit time to talk with and listen to our graduates, to share personal experience, to understand how we can improve. There are always great ideas and a level of energy that sustains me and motivates me.

What more needs to be done?

In addition to the practical steps [set out above] that we take as a business to increase career opportunities in manufacturing, we also have a number of collaborative ventures with several UK universities to strengthen the links between academia and enterprise.

However the overall job of increasing interest in careers in manufacturing and engineering is a broader topic, that needs to be addressed at a national level, and we try to work with organisations who are doing that – an example is our sponsorship of the Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering, organised by the Royal Academy of Engineering. The Prize recognises outstanding advances in engineering that have changed the world and benefited humanity. We’re also supporting the Make it in Great Britain campaign, to transform perceptions of manufacturing.