Millions invested to create skilled workforce in life science

Millions of pounds are being invested in training a new workforce to meet the demands of Tayside’s growing life sciences and medical technology sectors.  

A commitment of £1.975 million over the next six years will support the growing Medtech, Biotech and Agritech sectors by providing a trained workforce that can move from college to skilled technical work or upskill as part of their career choices.

Hundreds of students are to be recruited in a new partnership between Dundee and Angus College, Perth UHI and Fife College as part of the Tay Cities Deal.

As part of the project, courses will be designed to enable all levels to get into science, from leaving school to upskilling in their chosen career. There will be different entry and exit points for people to learn skills through industry-driven programmes giving people skills to work as part of the technical skilled workforce.

All 88 schools in the Tay Cities region will be given the chance to promote new pathways and employment opportunities for their pupils. Workshops with the schools will allow children to experience career opportunities in science to encourage more uptake in science-based technical jobs.

A key aim of the new programme is to attract more women and people from deprived areas into science employment and to develop the skills needed by local employers.

Pamela Duke, Head of Curriculum and Quality for Science at Dundee and Angus College, said “This project is a fantastic opportunity to further enhance our close relationships with local science companies, college partners and the universities.

“The project will create additional places on courses, more Modern Apprenticeship places so people in the local area can access training to get them ready for employment.

“At the moment, our courses offer entry into a wide range of degrees, but this project will allow us to work with industry to develop new courses that will specifically focus on the technical skills that employers are looking for. We’re fortunate to also be able to invest in state-of-the-art equipment to allow people coming onto our courses to develop those industry-level skills.”

Students will be given work placements as part of a further partnership with the University of Dundee and the James Hutton Institute.

Professor Nick J Brewer, Assistant Vice-Principal (Education), Dundee University Academic Lead for FE College Articulation and Professor of Biochemistry Education School of Life Sciences said “This initiative is a wonderful opportunity for all of us to work together to create something truly, exciting, innovative and meaningful with real impact for our local area. We are all looking forward to seeing this project take-off!”

Life sciences has been identified as an area of growth and innovation for the Tay Cities region. As projects and programmes in this sector begin to generate economic activity the supply of skills will be crucial to meet demand. It is hoped that the new training investment will help retain jobs and businesses in the region.

To date, there has been no dedicated courses locally aligned to the Biotech, Biotech, and Agritech sectors and this project will develop new ways to address this.

Simon Hewitt, Principal at Dundee and Angus College said, “We have listened to local industry experts to understand what skills are required and formed a partnership with Perth UHI and Fife College to look at our current curriculum provision and to understand where development is needed. This welcome investment will provide new equipment for training in specific skills.”