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Apprentice Levy For Life Sciences: A solution for employing talent in clinical trials

As part of our Clinical Trials Day content, Clinical Professionals Director; Sarah Goddard explains how the Apprenticeship Levy could help kick start a career in clinical trials…

There are apprenticeships that have been running very successfully for some time now within the scientific and manufacturing spaces, but the clinical trials industry has only just started to catch up.  Luckily as a school leaver or graduate you now have a couple of options open to you if this is the route you want to take your career and you are not sure of what degree to do or even if a degree is right for you.

So what is the apprentice levy? 

Put simply, it is a Government initiative to encourage young people into work and to receive training within a certain ‘standard’ or job role, with a view to completing and achieving an end point qualification.  Companies with a payroll of over £3 million have to pay into the pot, but anyone can take from the pot and utilise the funding for training of an apprentice.

Two initial ‘trailblazer groups’ have been set up within the clinical research sector to bring to life an apprenticeship standard.  A trailblazer group comprises of at least 10 employers of varying sizes, who hire people within the standard being produced.  The aim being that the industry lead the hiring standards, as ultimately they know the calibre of candidates they want to hire – defined by knowledge, skills and behaviours.  The trailblazer groups then define a standard, work out an end point assessment, and then have to ensure there are suitable engines available for delivery of training and end point assessment.

Within clinical research there are now 2 options available to potential apprentices, with hopefully more to be developed in future:

  • Clinical Trials Specialist (Project Lead GSK Clinical Director)
  • Regulatory Affairs Specialist (Project Led by TOPRA)

These are both almost at completion with education and training partners and end point assessors being assessed and selected.  There should be apprentices in place in 2019.

What does this mean to you as a potential apprentice?

If you are looking to gain valuable, paid work experience alongside training,  to make yourself highly marketable for future employment and also avoid potential University debts, then this is the best option for you.

Employers constantly demand ‘2 years of experience’ from recruitment agencies or candidates, this has led to Clinical Professionals   asking for years ‘who creates this talent and trains it?’.  So we came up with a solution to the question with our award-winning and fully funded Graduate Training Academy, and now being part of these fantastic apprenticeship trailblazer groups and initiative will only further support our future talent and leaders.

What does this mean to you as an Employer?

Employers are encouraged to find out what funding is available to them as these 2 Apprenticeships complete over the next few months.  You can utilise the levy ‘pot’ to take on some great talent and make your business a real visionary example and forward-thinking, future-proofed place to work. Employers can find out about Apprentice Training Providers here: and also if you cannot hire apprentices directly due to FTE or budget restrictions they can utilise an Apprentice Training Agency to outsource the management and training of the apprentice (but they would still be at the end employer site):  Employers can also get involved in the trailblazer groups by attending meetings or calls – we as trailblazer groups are advocating that more people get educated and involved around these great innovations!

Benefits of Taking on an Apprentice for your Business:

  • Solve recruitment challenges
  • Retain and upskill current staff
  • Offer training tailored to your business
  • 95% of employers offer apprenticeships to maintain or improved future skills levels in the organisation
  • 80% want to improve productivity, 78% staff morale and 71% to bring in new ideas
  • 76% of employers say that productivity has improved
  • Qualified apprentices are 15% more employable than recruits with other qualifications, say employers

Clinical Professionals are delighted to announce that we have been approved as an apprenticeship training provider (ATP) and apprentice training agency (ATA) for levy paying employers so can facilitate the outsourcing of the ‘set-up’ in terms of sourcing talent, employing them and delivering the training (in conjunction with a University). The Academy is also fully accredited by CPD Standards and we are a Science Council Employer Champion.

Organisations that are listed on the RoATP have been through an application process with the ESFA that considers due diligence, capability, quality and financial health to assess their capability to deliver high-quality apprenticeship training.



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