WIT and Biopharmachem Ireland launch Laboratory Apprenticeships

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 The first intake of students in the Laboratory Apprenticeship programme currently being delivered by the Department of Science at WIT

The first intake of students in the Laboratory Apprenticeship programme currently being delivered by the Department of Science at WIT

Apprenticeships are for both school leavers interested in science, and industry employees looking to upskill or train in a laboratory environment

Biopharmachem Ireland the sector that represents the Biopharma and chemical sectors launched the Laboratory Apprenticeships programme in the southeast in collaboration with Waterford Institute of Technology as part of the Department of Education and Skills wider national strategy.

The launch at the WIT Arena in Waterford was attended by Minister for Training, Skills, Innovation, Research and Development, John Halligan along with business leaders and academic staff of WIT and the new apprentices.

Academically accredited apprenticeship

The two academically accredited apprenticeship programmes are the Higher Certificate in Science – Laboratory technician (2-year Level 6) and the Ordinary Bachelor of Science Degree – Laboratory Analyst (3-year Level 7).

The laboratory apprenticeships are extremely varied in that they combine paid on the job training with academic study. These programmes are suitable for Leaving Certificate students who wish to pursue a career in science, and current industry employees looking to upskill or train in a laboratory environment. It is an outstanding opportunity for students to acquire real and practical experience while earning money. In addition to this, the programmes have proven very beneficial for Irish employers. Taking on a laboratory apprentice allows companies an unrivalled opportunity to compete both nationally and internationally by growing their talent pipeline and ensuring students gain valuable, hands-on experience from day one.

Unique opportunity

Minister Halligan explained “Apprenticeships give groups of employers a unique opportunity to contribute to the creation of programmes that closely match the needs of their sectors and to secure the supply of skills for the longer term.  For learners, apprenticeships enable the acquisition of the theoretical knowledge and workplace skills that are the foundation for a rewarding career.  The Laboratory Technician and Laboratory Analyst programmes offer valuable qualifications and workplace experience with some of Ireland’s and the world’s leading companies in the biopharma sector. Over the course of these excellent programmes, apprentices will have the opportunity to build careers in one of Ireland’s most exciting and innovative sectors”. 

New route into the industry

Matt Moran, Director of Biopharmachem Ireland added “This apprenticeship programme opens up a whole new route into the industry for school leavers keen to follow careers in this exciting sector. I look forward to seeing this vocational route bearing fruit for the sector and for its future employees”.

Dr Peter McLoughlin, Head of the School of Science at WIT said: “WIT works closely with industry in the region to create courses that prepare graduates with the skills needs of modern organisations. Tailored training programmes from the fully online Higher Diploma in Computer Science to the Certificate in Pharmaceutical Technology ensure that we are responding to the ever-changing needs of industry. The institute’s involvement in the lab apprenticeship programme is a further extension of how we meet the needs of the region.  Lab apprenticeships are essential to ensuring the growth of the biopharma and food sector both regionally and nationally. Such apprenticeships have the potential to rewrite the Irish third level education landscape. The opportunity for students to move more quickly into industry to gain key workplace skills is at the core of this model.  WIT is delighted to work with our industry partners and Ibec on this exciting new apprenticeship initiative.”

Both programmes were launched in TU Dublin in 2018 and the roll out in Waterford Institute of Technology looks set to be a success with Sanofi in Waterford, Hovione in Cork, GSK and Eurofins Biopharma Product Testing Ireland Ltd both in Dungarvan leading in the recruitment and the promotion of this new exciting pathway into the sector


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