York St John blazes a trail to bridge the bioscience skills gap

Published: 11/10/2018

York St John has become the only university in Yorkshire to offer biology based degree apprenticeships, and one of only 4 providers in the whole of England

Laboratory test tubes being filled by pipette

YSJ is the only university in Yorkshire to offer biology based degree apprenticeships

The degree apprenticeship was launched this year to address the direct need for “more laboratory time and competency-based training, plus short and long placement opportunities” as highlighted in a Government review looking into the national issue around the ‘quality and nature of the skills possessed by some graduates’ of STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) degrees.

 The University has already welcomed apprentices from 2 major local companies; Covance, a global contract research organisation and FERA Science Ltd, Employer of the Year 2017 at the Apprenticeship Awards in York.

To mark Biology Week, two York St John degree apprentices from Covance have this week attended the Royal Biological Society Parliamentary Reception at the House of Commons. The event, which included speeches, networking and biology themed entertainment, was to celebrate the biosciences in Parliament during the seventh annual Biology Week. 

Dr Sue Jones, Subject Director for Biomedical Science at York St John, said “Our creation of a degree level apprenticeship programme and creating a streamlined validation process, plus provision of Continuing Professional Development activities for NHS colleagues also promotes greater collaboration between business / healthcare and higher education to produce appropriately educated and skilled employees. In response to requests from local companies, we’ve designed a 4 year route through our programme as a degree apprenticeship. From conception to final approval, the whole process was only 4 months and enabled us to meet industry needs by accepting four level 6 apprentices for this academic year.”

Dr Jones is part of the Trailblazer Group for the level 7 Research Scientist apprenticeships, working alongside  Dr Jim Taylor from the Biomedical Science team to launch a Masters level apprenticeship. The group has won praise from the Institute for Apprenticeships (IFA) for its “significant commitment and expertise” in developing an apprenticeship standard “that meets the needs of employers, provides meaningful training and careers for apprentices and satisfies the apprenticeship requirements”.

Discover the full range of degree apprenticeships offered by York St John University.

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