We are pleased to announce that the Minister for Skills and Science, Julie James, visited Bridgend College on the 17th of October to attend the launch of the new Higher Apprenticeship in Life Sciences and Related Science Industries. The launch event was also attended by businesses which have shown an interest in the programme and 3 apprentices about to start on the programme – Julie Smith (Ortho Clinical Diagnostics), Aled Harding-James (BTG), and Jade Williams (Biocatalysts).

The College is the first organisation in Wales to deliver the programme which will be aimed at those working within the Life Science sector.

The two pathways currently available are:

  • Life Science Technician – Level 4 NVQ Diploma in Laboratory and Associated Technical Activities
  • Food Science Technician – Level 4 NVQ Diploma in Laboratory and Associated Technical Activities

The apprenticeship is made up of qualifications and industrial experience, providing apprentices with the skills and knowledge required to become competent in their chosen job role. It also offers the opportunity to gain professional status as a Registered Science Technician or Engineering Technician.

This Higher Apprenticeship programme is designed for new entrants to roles that use life sciences, chemical science, food science, process development and to provide progression and new skills for existing laboratory, scientific and technical employees.

The Minister for Skills and Science, Julie James said: “Science is the bed rock of economic growth. It’s important for us to introduce apprenticeships into this area. The introduction of Higher Apprenticeships provides us with a range of opportunities. For the first time, we will have a pathway that melts the distinction between vocational and academic learning.

As Higher Apprenticeship frameworks can include HNCs, HNDs and Foundation Degrees, there will be clear progression routes from Foundation Apprenticeship at Level 2 into HE, therefore creating a credible alternative to academic routes. Higher Apprenticeships support employers’ needs and provide an aspirational pathway for people who want to earn and learn at the same time. They present an opportunity for a more demanding alternative to ‘traditional’ full-time higher education, where employers adopt apprenticeships as an alternative to graduate recruitment.”

Matthew Williams, Director of Work Based Learning at Bridgend College said: “We at Bridgend College are delighted to be launching the first Life Science Higher Apprenticeship programme in Wales. As evidenced within the Employment and Skills Plan for South East Wales, Bridgend and its surrounding area is a hotbed for Life Science related industries.

This Higher Apprenticeship will provide apprentices with the high level skills their employers require, enabling them to develop and prosper within the industry. Starting in January, there is still plenty of time for employers to engage in this programme, one of a number of new Higher Apprenticeship initiatives Bridgend College is running this year.”