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Young people are facing a uniquely important time as they set out on their chosen career paths. With the Scottish Government’s Young Person’s Guarantee to ensure that all 16 – 24-year-olds have the opportunity for work, education or training, apprenticeships are a great way for businesses to take a chance on new talent.

Since 2018, The Advanced Therapies Apprenticeship Community (ATAC) has been providing opportunities, not only for young people who are taking their first steps in the advanced therapies industry, but also for those already in the industry with the ambition to advance or explore new avenues. The initiative was funded by the Government’s Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund as a part of their modern industrial strategy through UK Research and Innovation.

It has been supporting companies and apprentices by providing complementary support on meeting standards, providing onboarding and training opportunities, helping with recruiting, accessing the wider industry network, providing complimentary training activities, and providing regional contacts.

Apprentices bringing new perspectives

Scottish apprentices can progress their advanced therapy careers with ATAC’s SCQF Level 7 Modern Apprenticeship in Life Sciences.

The ATAC programme also creates a community by holding a number of activities, including networking events (which are now being held in a pandemic-friendly way online), which have attracted many industry leaders as guest speakers.

Employers from over 30 companies across England and Scotland are already committed to supporting ATAC apprentices who are either starting out or progressing through their careers.

The companies that have decided to join the ATAC initiative are not only backing the development of talent, but they are also benefiting from having apprentices as a part of their workforce, bringing new perspectives and developing staff in-house.

Participating businesses are enjoying having new members on their team and have also benefited from part-funding from the Scottish Government for the training and assessment for their apprentice.

Growing and sustaining a skilled sector

Many of ATAC’s employers have also taken on apprentices as a means to fuel skills in their companies as they are growing and expanding, utilising the contributions from their talented new employees while providing hands-on work experience.

In an industry that is predicted to require 400 – 600 new employees, ATAC has already supported over 130 apprentices, 22 of whom are based in Scotland, who are all a part of growing and sustaining a skilled life sciences workforce.

While COVID-19 has been disruptive for many, some of ATAC’s apprentices have been at the heart of the UK pandemic response as they work and learn alongside the teams that are developing and trialling the vaccines.

This programme is building the skilled workforce of the future, in a growing industry, and providing opportunities for both companies and talent to progress.

Find out more

Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult is a centre of excellence in innovation, with the core purpose of building a world-leading cell and gene therapy sector in the UK as a key part of a global industry.

Visit for more information on ATAC.

Laura Bennett is the HR and Learning and Development Lead for ATAC in Scotland.

Visit for information on support available to take on an apprentice.

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