Clinical Professional’s Training Academy: Have We Found a Cure for the Plague…?

Clinical Professionals Group CEO, Yvette Cleland, comments on the “growing plague” currently affecting the life science industry:

Approximately a year and a half ago, Clinical Professionals launched their Life Sciences Academies, with the aim to fully fund, train and then support 12 months of CPD for some of the UK’s brightest life sciences graduates, many of which now have debts in the region of circa 50K on leaving university. However, the life sciences industry continues to offer huge barriers to entry, consistently asking for “3 years’ experience” for CTA’s and CRA’s. Where exactly does the Pharma/CRO industry think that experiences come from? Around 15 years ago when the world started being outsourced, pharma simply stopped investing in training and development for entry level staff. CRO’s have never picked up the pace in this area whilst managing continuing margin erosion.

There are currently 14,000 open jobs for Contract Research Associates (CRA’s) on a leading global jobsite. The requirement for these positions is also expected to increase by 1.52% each year. In simple terms we will be looking in the US and Europe for circa 6,000 new CRA’s each year. John Lewis, spokesperson for the Association of Clinical Research Organizations (ACRO) notes the greatest global shortage is for clinical trial associate (CTA) and clinical research associate (CRA) roles. So it’s “out there” we are in crisis and as Ed Miseta, Editor of Clinical Lead put it “there is a growing plague” for Pharma and CRO’s.

sept_training_academyClinical Professionals has been aware of this growing plague for several years. Managing a life sciences staffing business gives a unique perspective of staff fluctuations and skills shortages across a whole range of functional areas. When we launched our Life Science Graduate Academy 18 months ago, CRO’s demonstrated little if any interest and pharma was slow on uptake. Cynicism was rife and yet neither CRO nor pharma were launching any credible investment or strategy to bridge this gap and yet continue to bemoan the cost of hire and lack of supply. The cost of hire is of course inflated on skill shortage.

After a very painful start dealing with cynicism, a lack of engagement (and an industry walking blindly into a continuing global shortage of staff within life sciences), the programme has now placed over 40 graduates into industry. Our initiative has now been adopted by global pharma, NIHR, small forward thinking CRO’s and has the support of EMIG, CCRA and the Science Council. Not to mention the numerous graduates who have given praise for attending the course:

“I liked the fact that I gained a well rounded education in many different relevant areas, and I think this will help in a graduate entry job, as I have more knowledge about potential career paths, and can understand more about what is happening, even if I am mostly working on administrative work.”

In 2017 we will place at least 100 graduates from Life Sciences creating much needed supply of high quality staff. Over 500 graduates apply for every program we run. We bear the total cost of the training and development and industry needs to step up to the plate and allow the graduates, who wish to commit to a career in life sciences, the opportunity many of our current leaders in industry had when they embarked on their career. If most Biopharma companies adopt the phrase “meeting unmet medical needs” they should also support those who are meeting the unmet training and development needs and help cure the skill shortage plague.

For more information about the Training Academies please email or alternatively you can call us on 0118 959 4990

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