Laboratory Apprenticeships launched by Minister Bruton

The Minister for Communications, Climate Action and the Environment, Richard Bruton T.D. today (Friday the 2nd of November) launched two new apprenticeship schemes for BioPharmaChem Ireland, the Ibec group that represents the biopharma and chemical sectors, along with their industry led consortium and lead academic provider, Institute of Technology Tallaght.

The apprenticeships form part of the government’s wider national strategy and is in direct response to the Expert Group on Future Skills Needs report published in 2016. The report recommended the development of new apprenticeship programmes for the biopharma industry with the aim of opening a vocational route into careers within the industry and thus bridging the identified skills shortages across the sector.

Speaking at the launch, Minister for Communications, Climate Action and the Environment, Richard Bruton T.D. said: “I’m delighted to be here today to launch these two new Laboratory Apprenticeships and I congratulate all involved- the Institute of Technology Tallaght, BioPharmaChem Ireland, the industry consortium, and all employers who are participating. Both apprenticeships offer fantastic opportunities for participants in the sector, to ‘earn while they learn’ and receive an excellent education while also gaining relevant work experience in some of Irelands leading companies. This government has set the ambition to make Ireland’s Education and Training Service the best in Europe within a decade. Growing the number of people choosing apprenticeships and expanding the number of programs available to them is key to achieving this ambition. We launched a plan in early 2017 to increase registrations to 50,000 by 2020. Today’s launch of the new laboratory apprenticeship directly contributes to the realisation of this ambition.”

Laboratory Apprenticeship Manager Orla Reynolds said: “The laboratory apprenticeships offer candidates the unique opportunity to earn nationally recognised qualifications while also gaining invaluable hands on work experience with world leading companies operating in Ireland. Developed by industry for industry, these laboratory apprenticeships address and tackle industry skills gaps and shortages. Such apprenticeships are an unrivalled opportunity for companies to access a new talent pipeline and drive business growth.

“We’re seeing an unprecedented demand for experienced laboratory personnel across not only the biopharma and chemical manufacturing sectors, but also medical devices and diagnostics, food and drink and analytical testing laboratories. A trend that is likely to grow with 4,000 new jobs to be added in the medtech sector and 8,400 jobs in biopharma by 2020.”

Andrew Hayes, HR Director, Helsinn Birex Pharmaceuticals and chair of the Laboratory Apprenticeship Industry Consortium added: “For many, a traditional college education can be undesirable or even unachievable for a variety of personal reasons. Our new Laboratory Apprenticeships provide a bona fide alternative pathway to gaining national qualifications that can kick start progressive careers in a booming and expanding industry.”

Matt Moran, Director of BioPharmaChem Ireland, added: “This apprenticeship programme opens up a whole new route into the industry for school leavers keen to follow careers in this exciting sector. I look forward to seeing this vocational route bearing fruit for the sector and for its future employees.”

The two academically accredited apprenticeship programmes launched today:
    Higher Certificate in Science – Laboratory technician (2-year Level 6)
    Ordinary Bachelor of Science Degree – Laboratory Analyst (3-year Level 7)
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