Realising the digital potential with skills & training


I’ve been in my current role as Key Sector Manager for Life and Chemical Sciences at SDS for the past 11 months and it would be fair to say that period has been an extraordinary time. 

But obstacles and crisis situations such as the COVID-19 pandemic can also create opportunities within our industry for agile and forward-thinking businesses, so it is important that we recognise the excellent work that has been achieved in the face of an avalanche of challenges. 

The theme of the eagerly awaited virtual event, The Scotsman Life Sciences Conference 2021 (2 December) is the Covid Legacy; highlighting how businesses have adapted to the ever-changing demands of the landscape and looking to the future.  

With COP26 recently taking place in Glasgow, the topic of climate emergency is also sharply in focus. The Climate Emergency Skills Action Plan was published in December 2020 outlines six skill priorities to achieve a Just Transition to net zero. 

While the document explicitly identifies five sectors acknowledged by Scottish Government as likely to have a significant impact to lower carbon emissions, Life Sciences sector will also play a pivotal role.

Be that in responding to health-related consequences, the decarbonisation agenda, or the wellbeing economy.  

To achieve this ambitious target as well as ensuring COVID-19 legacy and general business growth, it will be crucial to ensure businesses have access to the right people, with the right skills, at the right time. 

So working together with our key partners, IBioIC (Industrial Biotechnology Innovation Centre) and SULSA (Scottish University Life Sciences Alliance) we’re delivering the National Transition Training Fund (NTTF), which is about upskilling and reskilling individuals to enter the Life and Chemical Sciences sectors.   

The training is designed alongside industry to ensure individuals gain both practical skills and theoretical knowledge in demand by industry.   

The IBioIC are delivering the first of those NTTF courses drawing on their existing track record of developing industry-relevant skills training around biotechnology and bioprocessing.  

We’re really excited about participating in The Scotsman Life Sciences Conference together with our partners, IBioIC and SULSA and we will be able to showcase how data and digital is helping to transform skills development and training opportunities for individuals, who are either entering the sector or upskilling people who are currently employed in the sector. 

It’s a great opportunity to shine the spotlight on the strides we’re currently making in terms of the adoption of technology in high value manufacturing and we’re doing that through several mechanisms such as the Advanced Therapy Skills and Training Network and NTTF offering, incorporating new technology like virtual reality training. 

By Sarah Hunt, Skills Development Scotland’s Sector Manager: Life Sciences, Climate and High Value Manufacturing 

Skills Development Scotland are part of the SKILLS: REALISING THE DIGITAL POTENTIAL WITH SKILLS & TRAINING panel at the annual Life Sciences conference, find out more here

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