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How can the UK drive cell and gene therapy skills?

participants from 55 buinesses have taken part in apprenticeships
retention rate for the apprenticeship programme
users from more than 250 companies have accessed over 750 learning modules
learners at the three National Training Centres, since their creation 2 years ago

The Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult is placing the UK at the centre of a global cell and gene therapy industry. It is committed to the advancement of cell and gene therapies and has a vision for a thriving industry delivering life-changing advanced therapies to health providers and patients worldwide.

This industry requires a highly specialised workforce which the Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult has predicted will grow by 117% between 2021 to 2026.[1] The types of skills required include cell and gene therapy manufacturing, supply chains, logistics, and quality and process development.   

The Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult has taken the lead on surveying the industry to understand requirements and helped create, nurture and deliver the unique Advanced Therapies Apprenticeship Community (ATAC)[2] focused on the development of new talent, upskilling in the sector and transferability from other sectors. Nearly 300 people have enrolled on apprenticeships organised and supported by ATAC and the programme has a high retention rate at 85%.

[1] ATMP Skills Demand Survey, 2021

[2] Advanced Therapies Apprenticeship Community

In partnership with industry, Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult also developed an Online Training Platform and identified a network[3] of training centres focused on the manufacturing skills gaps for cell and gene therapies. There are over 2,300 active users of the Online Training Platform, which currently contains over 750 learning modules.

The Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult’s Advanced Therapies Skills Training Network has developed a Career Converter, a unique, cutting-edge tool that helps people measure their transferable skills against in-demand roles within the advanced therapies and vaccine manufacturing sectors.[4] In 2022, the Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult opened its dedicated Skills and Training Laboratories in Sycamore House, Stevenage. These laboratories provide access to state-of-the-art equipment and training facilities and aim to help provide a supply of trained talent for the advanced therapies industry. For example, the labs are home to virtual reality (VR) platforms developed in collaboration with UK companies, which allows for staff to be trained in VR simulations before moving into the real lab.

[3] Advanced Therapies Skills Training Network

[4] ATSN Career Converter tool

As the advanced therapies industry in the UK continues to grow, the sector needs a pipeline of trained talent that can support its future expansion and success. Working closely with industry, and through our Advanced Therapies Apprenticeship Community and Advanced Therapies Skills Training Network, we aim to identify the skills and jobs the sector needs, offering training programmes and support to ensure there is a future workforce that allows the sector to thrive.

Stephen Ward
Chief Manufacturing Officer, Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult