A leading science educator in Cornwall has said the county is “punching above its weight” with the launch of a brand new route into a career in science without the debt associated with traditional Higher Education.
The new Laboratory Technician and Laboratory Scientist apprenticeships are an alternative way in which people can forge a successful scientific career, earning while they learn.
Scientific professionals play a vital part in UK public and private sector organisations, yet many employers find it difficult to recruit and retain good laboratory technicians and scientists.
As a result, The Cornwall College Group (TCCG) and CCB created a steering group with The University of Exeter, Imerys, the Wheal Jane Group and various secondary schools to have an input into the development of these brand new programmes.
Director of Science & Environment at the College, Mark Nason said that Cornwall has one of the lowest rates of people attending university, “so these apprenticeships represent an important and completely new way to launch scientific careers without the concerns over amassing the associated debt with higher education”.
“Cornwall is really punching above its weight with options like this,” he continued.
“It allows employers and training providers to develop the core academic knowledge and practical skills needed by the sector, in partnership. There is significant demand for science technicians within Cornwall and further afield, with many scientific and technical employers paying over and above the national minimum apprenticeship wage (under 19) and national minimum wage (19 and over),” he added.
Aimed at adults, learners aged 16 to 18 and those already employed in scientific settings, the Level 3 Laboratory Technician apprenticeship is an in-depth, practical approach to becoming a registered science technician, whilst being employed full-time in a laboratory setting and attending college one day per week.
The Level 5 Laboratory Scientist Higher Apprenticeship is suitable for school leavers and adults wishing to undertake scientific work-based learning in a wide range of organisations. The four potential pathways allow apprentices to become specialised to match their own interests and the needs of their employer, namely analytical science, chemical science, research and development and life sciences.
Jonathan Cresswell, Apprenticeship Programme Manager at The University of Exeter, said: “We have been working closely with the Cornwall College Group to deliver a variety of prestigious apprenticeships, and are hoping to recruit talented individuals to help support our teaching and research staff.
“The Level 3 Laboratory Technician apprentice will have an exceptional, unrivalled, scientific experience and will build a wide range of transferable skills working in our Technical Services team.”
Uniquely, if you wish to remain in full-time employment and continue to study science to postgraduate level, Cornwall College are able to offer progression all the way from the Level 3 Apprenticeship through a Higher Apprenticeship, part-time undergraduate science degree and part-time taught or research Master’s degree.
Apprentices study a recognised scientific qualification learning on the job and in college supported by cutting edge online laboratory simulations.
A launch event for the apprenticeships is taking place on 24th May for employers looking to find out more.
Held at the Penhaligon building, Cornwall College Camborne, the event will take place from 4pm to 6pm.
There are already five vacancies for lab technician apprentices, including with Exeter University and Imerys.