Almac Group hosts Ballycastle teachers for insight into industry

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Almac Group, the global contract development and manufacturing organisation, is leading the way in helping ensure that local science teachers are best prepared to equip their students for jobs in the Life Sciences sector.

A number of scientists and technical experts from across the Almac Group have been working with CCEA (Council for Curriculum, Examinations and Assessment) to help create a new GCE ‘A’ Level in Life and Health Sciences – introduced in September this year. The content and specification has been designed specifically to encourage and inspire students to study applied science subjects which will, in turn, support the future needs of the Life Sciences sector.

In support of the specification, Almac hosted 20 teachers from schools across Northern Ireland including Ballycastle High School at its Craigavon headquarters. The visitors were given detailed presentations followed by escorted tours of a range of facilities across the organisation. This provided an invaluable insight enabling teachers to see, first hand, how their teaching within the classroom relates to industry. In addition, the teachers were advised of the broad spectrum of job opportunities that exist at Almac and the necessary qualifications required. A further training event is planned in December for an additional group of CCEA teachers.

Almac host many visits from both students and teachers with over 500 ‘A’ level and ‘AS’ level students from across Northern Ireland taking part in tours of the different Business Units across the company each year and meeting scientists carrying out groundbreaking work, while others take part in three day work experience placements within the organisation.

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Almac also has strong links with the local universities and each year offers placements to around 60 students on degree and postgraduate courses.

Dr Stephen Barr, Managing Director Almac Sciences & Discovery commented: “We are committed to the promotion and encouragement of young people undertaking science related qualifications and are pleased to be hosting these events. I believe it is important that teachers are able to see the live application of learning and understand the variety of career opportunities available to continue to inspire their students. We are pleased to be working with CCEA to help today’s learners with the skills required for tomorrow’s industry.”

Gavin Gray, Education Manager – Life and Health Sciences at CCEA commented “CCEA are delighted to have had support from Almac and a range of industry stakeholders in developing our new GCE Life and Health Sciences qualification. The qualification was developed in response to substantial workforce needs for the pharmaceuticals and wider Life & Health Sciences sector in Northern Ireland as highlighted in the Matrix Report 2015. The Continuous Professional Development support for teachers, which Almac provided at today’s event, has provided teachers with an unique industry insight which will enhance their subject knowledge and enrich their teaching experience and the experience of Life & Health Sciences students in schools.”