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Life Sciences Sector – Practitioner/Industry partnership

Life Sciences is one of Scotland’s most creative and innovative sectors developing cutting edge solutions to major global issues such as health, agriculture, energy and the climate emergency.  With 26,900 people employed across Scotland it has a hugely diverse range of careers and an increasing demand for a range of cross-disciplinary and transferable skills. The Life Sciences sector has a wide range of career pathways for young people.

Colleagues from Skills Development Scotland (SDS) and Developing the Young Workforce (DYW) regional groups came together to organise a series of professional learning opportunities. These events provided an opportunity for practitioners to engage with leading industry partners from global and new start-up companies. The events included on-site visits to gain a fuller appreciation of the scope and scale of the sector and time to work collaboratively with industry partners to create innovative approaches to the curriculum.

Bringing together representatives from education, industry and the public sector, these events were the first of their kind for the sector in Scotland.  They provided an excellent platform to collaborate and seek new innovative approaches to the school curriculum.

New resources are being developed to inspire young people, enthuse them about the potential in the Life Sciences sector and help them visualise how STEM learning in school is relevant to their future career.  These new resources will be available to practitioners Scotland-wide through the STEM Online Resource and through the STEM Professional Learning Community (PLC) on GLOW.

The first of these events held in December 2019 was attended by 20 teachers from both primary and secondary, as well as 20 representatives from Life Science businesses. Practitioners heard some key messages regarding the skills required within this sector, visited TC Biopharm and spent the afternoon collaborating to produce over 30 classroom resources.

A practitioner said:

“The day was fantastic! Having the time to chat with representatives from industry was a real eye-opener for me. I did not realise how many firms are willing and excited about taking on school leavers. I am really excited about this because quite a lot of my pupils are school leavers who will not pursue further education but could still have a rewarding career in Life Sciences industries right here in Scotland!”

An industry representative said:

“It will be critical as the sector expands for companies within Life sciences to continually engage at an early stage with educational bodies and the public sector; raising awareness to grow and develop a skilled workforce.” 

A follow up session is planned for this cohort with further regional events being planned to support practitioners teaching National Qualifications in STEM subjects (in particular Biology, Mathematics and Computing Science) to develop their understanding of the links from their subjects to this growth sector.