Sector Deal for Skills
Government has worked with the Science Industry Partnership (SIP) to form the initial elements of this first phase of the Sector Deal.
There will be further opportunity to take forward this partnership working in future phases of the sector deal to ensure the UK skills base continues to meet the diverse needs of the sector.
The Life Science Industrial Strategy highlighted how the emerging field of data science, particularly bioinformatics and clinical data analytics, is moving at pace across the sector, including within the NHS. Regulatory affairs was also considered an important area for development and the Strategy recommended an increasing role for apprenticeships in addressing skills gaps in these fields.
Industry is already developing apprenticeship standards in these priority subjects (the bioinformatics standards are expected to be ready for starts next year, with medical and chemo informatics to follow).
DfE will work with the Institute for Apprenticeships (IFA) to prioritise development of standards brought forward by employers in the Life Sciences sector and identified as a priority through the Sector Deal process. DfE will provide guidance to the IFA on these priority areas, alongside other considerations that the IFA has been asked to take into account, such as the critical development of improved standards to replace old “framework” apprenticeships and development of standards for T levels, work which underpins overall reform.
Government will work with employers to monitor the impact of the Apprenticeship levy and continue to analyse all apprenticeship starts (by place and sector subject area), assessing the impact on other types of employer investment. This will be complemented by the sector’s activity, with the Science Industry Partnership and ABPI conducting surveys of apprenticeship uptake in the sector.
The Science Industry Partnership is also rolling out a regional approach to meeting industry’s skills needs, starting with a group in Cambridgeshire that will enable employers and local skills partners to drive a local approach to skills delivery, including: involvement in apprenticeship standard development; collaboration on apprenticeship delivery; access to the SIP STEM Ambassador Programme and more. With nearly half of businesses reporting a shortage of STEM graduates as being a key factor in being unable to recruit staff, this industry-led STEM Programme will showcase the vast array of careers in science-based industries, to students in schools and colleges in the area. SIP is keen to take forward this approach in other priority areas, including Oxford and the North West, with Government helping to establish ties with local employers, schools, LEPs and the Careers and Enterprise Company as needed.
Government will work with the Science Industry Partnership, to ensure alignment with the new Skills Advisory Panels (SAPs), which will comprise of employers, colleges and government. SAPs will produce robust evidence driven analysis of skills supply and demand to inform Local Industrial Strategies and post-16 skills provision.
Government is also committed to ensuring that the NHS can build and maintain the clinical excellence and capacity required to support outstanding translational research.