Skills & Training

Scotland’s ATMP & Vaccine sector is growing rapidly and in light of the pandemic, is fulfilling an urgent need. With approximately 50 companies operating directly and indirectly within the sector, a skilled workforce is required to sustain the anticipated growth.  A dedicated Skills and Training Strategy has been developed, which has been endorsed by the Life Sciences Scotland Industry Leadership Group and has paved the way for a unified pan-Scotland effort to recruit and train this workforce. 

Find out more what activities are underway and how you can engage with us. 

National Training Centres for Advanced Therapies

ATSTN Primary logoFrom April 2021 The Scottish Universities Life Sciences Alliance (SULSA) and Roslin Cell Therapies (RoslinCT) will be coordinating both practical and theoretical training in areas including Gowning and Cleanroom Behaviour, Environmental Monitoring and Control, Cell Processing, Analytical Techniques and Up/Downstream Processing. This training is to be delivered as part of the new Advanced Therapies Skills and Training Network (ATSTN) funded by the Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult. Training will be available to industry staff, academics and those enrolled in Further and Higher Education. To register interest in this provision please contact our Training Coordinator

Catapult logo

The funding secured for this project is thanks to a collaborative effort between SULSA, Skills Development Scotland, Scottish Enterprise and our 4 training providers.

Our training packages and providers are below:

5-day Practical and Sterile Manufacturing Course

2-day Practical Introduction Course to Downstream Processing

Bespoke 3-day courses based on Industry need

5-day Blended Introduction to basic techniques and GLP/GMP working

In 2021 the Graduate Employability Masterclass program has been delivered across 12 Universities in Scotland, with 30 companies in total delivering invaluable insight and knowledge to over 200 students a week over eight weeks. The scheme, developed in 2014 by Ronnie Palin (SDS) and Kevin Moore (the Glasgow Economic Leadership Board), provides an insight into the Life Science Industry Sector to our Life and Chemical Science Undergraduates. In 2020 the Scottish Universities Life Science Alliance (SULSA), in partnership with the Scottish Universities Chemistry Pool (ScotCHEM), joined the fold. The Research Pool’s established networks across Universities and our Scottish Innovation Centres has enabled this scheme to grow significantly this year. Read full press release here.

The scheme will run again in 2022, to get involved contact

Masterclass by ThermoFisher

Life Science undergraduate and postgraduate students from The University of Dundee, University of Abertay and University of St Andrews were joined by Paul Blackburn and Claire Healey from Thermofisher on February 10th 2021 as part of the scheme. This masterclass provided insight into the later stages of the process from concept to commercialisation.

“At Thermo Fisher Scientific we are passionate about attracting and developing talent to continue our mission to make the world ‘Healthier, Cleaner and Safer’. We discussed the satisfaction of enabling customers to advance cell and gene therapies and also being a direct contributor to managing the Covid pandemic (via testing, treatments and vaccines). These classes provide an excellent forum for attendees to really think about the many different opportunities suppliers offer and the different routes to career success.”
Paul Blackburn PhD, Cell Culture and Cell Therapy TSS Leader EMEA Region

Masterclass by Charles River

90 students from across Edinburgh University, Edinburgh Napier University and Heriot-Watt University heard from Kim Ritchie and Emma Garrell from Charles River on March 3rd 2021. The students learned about the importance of data and regulatory processes and the vital role of QA in the advanced therapies and vaccine sector.

“At Charles River we regularly look for new talent to join our various departments and I hope by showcasing just a few of the lesser-known career paths available we have given them some inspiration for pushing their careers forward.” Emma Garrell, Senior Team Leader, Toxicology Admin & Reporting.”

The Advanced Therapies Apprenticeship Community (ATAC) is the first apprenticeship programme designed specifically to train and upskill individuals to develop, manufacture and deliver innovative therapies at scale. Delivered by the Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult, UK ATAC provides support to both the apprentices and businesses undertaking a Modern Apprenticeship within Life Sciences.

Find out more about a Modern Apprenticeship in Life Sciences and the ATAC programme.

advanced therapies apprenticeship community and Catapult

The Future

Like many, the sector has faced unpredicted challenges of COVID-19 at the same time as navigating the skills implications of the UK leaving the European Union.  These challenges have reinforced the need for the sector’s workforce to be resilient, flexible and responsive.  Skills development will continue to play an important role in both enabling growth within the ATMP & Vaccine Development sector whilst simultaneously ensuring resilience to overcome any future challenges.  

For general skills enquiries please contact Sarah Hunt , Key Sector Manager for Life and Chemical Sciences, Skills Development Scotland. For information about the ATSTN and Graduate Employability Masterclasses please contact Alison Dun.

To find out more about how to equip your workforce with the skills for the future, visit: