As a sidebar to a piece by Alex Scott in this week's C&EN on new approaches to UK graduate chemical education, a short article on getting apprentices into a lab technician programs:
In another initiative designed to meet industry’s skills shortfall, life sciences companies and chemical firms have come together in a newly developing Science Industry Partnership (SIP) to build scientific talent across the sector in the U.K. Led by GlaxoSmithKline and featuring about 200 firms including Actavis, Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies, and SABIC, SIP will learn in the coming weeks whether it has been successful in securing $52 million in public funding for a variety of skills enhancement programs across the industry.
SIP’s vision is to develop a new “skills system” starting with high school students through to graduate and postgraduate students. “It’s all a matter of developing tomorrow’s scientists today,” says Nigel Brooksby, chair of the Life Sciences Skills Strategy Board, a division of Cogent, the U.K. skills body for the science industry.
...The introduction of the program comes after a period that has seen apprenticeships decline in number and where, particularly in life sciences, firms have found it difficult to recruit individuals skilled in certain fields.
“Technician level is where we really need trainees,” says John Holton, strategy director for Cogent. U.K. companies have to keep refilling the pipeline with newly trained technicians because of the amount of poaching that goes on by competitor companies, he says.I sure wonder why they're going to competitors. I wonder if it's because they have higher pay? I'd hate for UK companies to have to raise pay, too. Much better to refill the pipeline. Yes, that's it.