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First Cohort of Science Industry Trailblazer apprentices achieve their SIAS Awards

Ten apprentices from leading science-based companies, Lucite International and Pfizer, are the first to successfully complete the new employer-designed Trailblazer Apprenticeship Standard Science Manufacturing Technician (SMT) at Level 3 (Lucite) or the Laboratory Technician Standard at Level 3 (Pfizer).

This follows their rigorous end-point assessment (EPA) by science industry assessment service, SIAS, the specialist body responsible for the EPA of these new style apprenticeships designed by employers.

The newly introduced, and all-important, EPA comprises several methods, including, for example, completing mandatory knowledge qualifications, a review of behaviours, a professional discussion and a final assessment of on-the-job performance.

Jess Bell, Lucite Learning and Development Manager, who was instrumental along with the other science-based employers in getting the new standards off the ground, said: "we were delighted to be part of the development of this apprenticeship and it has proved hugely successful. Our apprentices, Craig, James and Derek have set the bar very high and we look forward to our next apprentices completing the final part of their apprenticeship by next summer.”

Dr Kate Barclay, Director, Pfizer Worldwide Research & Development, said: “we’re very proud of our apprentices for being among the first to complete this new-style apprenticeship. They have all met high standards across many different disciplines; from complex manufacturing of active pharmaceutical ingredients and drug formulation design, to synthetic organic chemistry and analytical research & development.

“They have benefitted from an extensive training programme that allowed us to select the relevant qualifications, combined with EH&S certification, Good Manufacturing Practice and professional behaviours, as well as learning highly specialised technical skills from our internal expertise.

Christine Sakhardande, Head of SIAS, added: “this is a real achievement for these apprenticeship teams and I’d like to congratulate them on successful completion of their end-point assessment. The SIAS award presented following successful assessment is recognised by employers as demonstrating these individuals have met the demanding industry Apprenticeship Standard. Lucite and Pfizer should also be congratulated on their pioneering approach to training.”

The Lucite trio, who completed a year studying at TTE and a year training on site, have now been taken on as full time Production Technicians at Lucite’s Cassel site at Billingham.

The Pfizer apprentices completed their two year apprenticeship within world class research and development laboratories at Pfizer in Sandwich, Kent, supported by either a BTEC in Applied Sciences with East Kent College or their Chemistry HNC with Greenwich University.

The new ‘Trailblazer’ Apprenticeships completed by the talented teams have been designed by science employers to meet the needs of industry. The Trailblazer programme is part of the Government’s reform of apprenticeships to ensure businesses get the skills they need to succeed. A Science Employers’ Trailblazer Group, facilitated by SIAS, is ensuring that employers – including Lucite and Pfizer –  play a genuine leadership role in standards, assessment and quality assurance.