Apprenticeships are increasingly being viewed as a valid alternative to the traditional academic career path, with more high-level apprenticeships being developed year on year. Due partly to Science Industry Partnership (SIP), the reported number of apprenticeships hosted by the UK pharmaceutical industry has increased 31% since 2015, from 297 to 388, and by 169% since 2013.
The number of R&D apprentices has increased from 29 in 2015 to 77 in 2017, which represents 20% of all apprenticeships. Outside of R&D, there has been a 13% drop in the number of manufacturing apprenticeships, and a 21% increase in the number of apprentices in engineering. Complementing the rise of IT undergraduate IPs, there has been an 82% increase in the number of IT apprenticeships. There are many other business areas that host apprentices, including in finance and administration areas.
The increase in the number of apprentices training in the UK pharmaceutical industry is encouraging, particularly due to the increase of higher-level apprenticeships. With the recent introduction of the apprenticeship levy in April 2017, and the falling number of apprentices starting in the first quarter of the 2017/18 academic year, it is expected that the pharmaceutical industry will continue to increase its apprenticeship base, taking the lead on the development of more higher and degree-level apprenticeships, at the same time supporting the industry’s ambition to reach 20,000 apprenticeships in the science sector by 2020.