An Education on Biomanufacturing

23 Nov 2015

On November 13th, CPI opened its doors of the National Biologics Manufacturing Centre to regional teachers and careers advisors, to showcase the rewarding careers that are available in the development and manufacture of new medicines.

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One of the key objectives of CPI biologics is to train and develop the workforce to match industry demand, it is therefore essential to be able to communicate what we do effectively in order to inspire the workforce of the future. The workshop was geared to science teachers and careers advisors, coincided with a plea from the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) to help fix the manufacturing skills gap.

ABPI’s recent survey shows that many biomanufacturing professionals will retire in the next few years, and are not being replaced. That trend has to be reversed to support industry and allow the UK to capitalise on its huge academic capability in life science research. But if students don’t understand what Biomanufacturing is and what career options it offers, how will they choose to join our industry?

After a brief introduction to the products and the industry, we asked Supply Manager, Jonathan Hutchinson to interview four of our scientists about their backgrounds, jobs, and career aspirations. For the audience, this was the most powerful part of the programme. Some teachers admitted afterwards that school students tend to think of scientists as boffins’ or nerds’. CPI’s diverse range of scientists were considered a breath of fresh air to the stereotype.

After the teachers toured the centre’s labs, an expert panel answered questions on biologics careers, emphasising the non-academic skills; teamwork, communication and outside interests. Our industry is looking for well-rounded individuals who have plenty of initiative and can fit well into multi-disciplinary teams.

STEM events will continue, as these teachers send their students to learn more about biomanufacturing careers. We hope to inspire Britain’s future scientists to join our industry, where skilled people are always needed, and we look forward to engaging with them in the months and years ahead.

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