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Flexible Apprenticeships Life Sciences – Manual Published

Topic : Type : Briefing

A new manual – co-developed by the Department for Education, the Office for Life Sciences and the Life Sciences sector – was published today. This manual sets out how flexibilities in apprenticeships can be used and delivered in Life Sciences to meet the needs of employers and apprentices. It outlines different ways that apprenticeships can be used flexibly:

  • Flexible models for training, so off-the-job training can be delivered to best suit the needs of apprentices and employers, such as through weekly delivery, front-loading, or block training.
  • Accelerated apprenticeships, which can significantly reduce the duration to reflect prior learning.
  • Portable Flexi-Job Apprenticeships (pilot) and Flexi-Job Apprenticeship Agencies which are supporting learners to move between shorter-term employment with different employers including in life sciences.

Life Sciences employers are already making use of apprenticeship flexibilities, including industry employers who co-authored this manual alongside Government. The Department for Education and the Office for Life Sciences are supporting employers to tailor apprenticeships to meet their and apprentice's needs.


“HealthTech apprenticeships offer a valuable pathway for individuals to gain industry-specific skills and knowledge, access career development opportunities, and secure employment within one of the UK’s most exciting sectors. The industry is dominated by small and medium sized businesses, and so flexible schemes really suit the agile nature of the market. We welcome programmes like this that can benefit both employers and apprentices.”

Jane Lewis, Chief Operating Officer, ABHI


“Apprenticeships remain incredibly important to the life science sector as they provide opportunities for people to learn and develop skills in a real-world setting. The flexibility of apprenticeships helps to attract new talent to fulfilling careers and can also work well in upskilling our existing workforce, further career progression and supporting lifelong learning.

“Apprenticeships are especially important in bridging the skills gap currently faced by life sciences companies as they provide a structured pathway for gaining skills while also ensuring a steady supply of skilled workers into the sector. This manual highlights the options available to life science companies who are considering engaging with a solid system already contributing to the talent pipeline.”

Andrew Croydon, Skills & Education Policy and Examinations Director, ABPI


“The UK’s life sciences and biotech industry responds to some of today’s largest global challenges, from developing ideas on climate change and the ageing society to manufacturing vaccines for global pandemics. Access to diverse talent and a highly skilled workforce is fundamental to an innovative biotech sector. Career opportunities in biotechnology are as diverse as they are rewarding.

“Professional and Technical Education are vital in developing future skills and securing a strong talent pipeline. It is great to see apprenticeships becoming more frequently used to attract and retain vital talent across life sciences and biotech. BIA is invested in developing new and diverse talent pathways into the industry to support the UK life sciences ecosystem of start-ups, SMEs and large pharmaceutical and technology companies.”

Dr Kate Barclay, Skills Strategy Consultant, BioIndustry Association (BIA)