Developing Technician Skills For Emerging Industries: Lessons from the Advanced Therapies Sector in the UK

The Gatsby Charitable Foundation funded a short piece of work, conducted between February and April 2017, to determine barriers to apprenticeship uptake in the Advanced Therapy Medicinal Products (ATMP) sector and building on a previous assessment by Paul Lewis (Lewis 2016a). This recent work was initiated as part of a recommendation contained in a wider skills assessment for the ATMP sector conducted by the Advanced Therapies
Manufacturing Taskforce, led by industry and chaired by Jim Faulkner at Autolus – a leading ATMP company Fourteen companies (Appendix 1) were interviewed, including core ATMP organisations and others with similar skills needs. Many of the core ATMP companies are growing rapidly, with
a forecast doubling of numbers in the next twenty-four months. The output was presented to The Gatsby Charitable Foundation, Innovate UK and BEIS on the 26th April 2017. In summary, organisations are not used to taking on apprentices and support is required to embed apprenticeship thinking in the sector through a partnership between the relevant employers, thereby enabling them to amalgamate demand and coordinate activity.
Increasing the number of apprenticeships in the sector, as it moves into a manufacturing phase, should reduce staff turnover, increase human resource capacity and contribute to anchoring investment in the UK.1 There are currently a small number of levy paying companies in the ATMP sector. However, we anticipate that the ‘non-levy paying’ part of the community may take on apprentices when they recognize the value of doing so, and
procedures are clarified and simplified.

More within