UK’s Education Secretary joins CGT Catapult to celebrate apprentices 

UK Department of Education

The UK’s Education Secretary Gillian Keegan attended a meeting with the Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult (CGT Catapult) to discuss the role of apprenticeships in the advanced therapies industry. 

The meeting, which took place at Teesside University’s National Horizons Centre in Darlington during National Apprenticeship Week, highlighted how apprenticeships are upskilling people all around the country and providing valuable support for the advanced therapies industry as it continues to grow. According to an industry survey carried out on behalf of CGT Catapult in 2023, the advanced therapies sector is expecting its workforce to grow by 63% by 2028, and apprentices are an important part of this growth.    

At the National Horizons Centre, Keegan met with apprentices and businesses that are currently taking part in the CGT Catapult’s Advanced Therapies Apprenticeship Community (ATAC), including Pharmaron, FujiFilm and CPI. The ATAC programme, which was set up in 2018, is designed to train individuals to work in the advanced therapies industry. It was the first apprenticeship programme internationally to have this focus and, to date, 345 apprentices have enrolled across 58 employers.  

Keegan said: “The northeast of England has a great tradition of industry and innovation, and apprenticeships are bringing that can-do spirit of hard graft into the 21st century, enabling people to pursue careers at the cutting edge of science and technology without necessarily needing to take on student debt.” 

Matthew Durdy, Chief Executive of the CGT Catapult, said: “Apprenticeships provide excellent opportunities for people of all ages to gain hands-on experience and the skills they need to progress in their careers, including within the advanced therapies sector. For employers, apprenticeships are a fantastic route to upskill their workforce and ensure they have access to the expertise they need to support future growth.” 

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