London’s Knowledge Quarter (KQ), in partnership with Camden Council, launched a new programme to tackle the growing shortage of higher apprenticeships in STEM on Tuesday 16th of February.
New “KQ Apprenticeships” were formally announced by Councillor Georgia Gould, Cabinet Member for Young People and Economic Growth, at a reception marking the one-year anniversary of the Knowledge Quarter.
Developed with a group of employers in the Knowledge Quarter including the Francis Crick Institute, London BioScience Innovation Centre and Health Science Laboratories, the scheme will launch later this year training young people as laboratory technicians, providing young people a pathway into the area’s world-renowned life sciences sector.
The scheme will later expand to other important STEM sectors within the Knowledge Quarter, particularly the area’s growing digital sector but also within science, technology and the creative industries.
In 2014/15 there were 500,000 apprenticeship starts in England, but in London only 1,840 were classified as “higher level” which led to qualifications at a level equivalent to higher education.
The “KQ Apprenticeships” hopes to bring several businesses under one programme to create economies of scale and to establish a brand that both companies and apprentices can feel confident in. As well as being paid, they will be fully funded for a foundation or bachelors’ degree in biomedical sciences from the University of Westminster.
Councillor Sarah Hayward, Leader of Camden Council said: “We want to make sure that Camden residents can benefit from and contribute to the exciting new opportunities being created by the Knowledge Quarter. We’re aiming for an education and skills programme that will offer career paths and is ambitious, flexible and able to adapt to changing employment markets.”
Roly Keating, Chair of the Knowledge Quarter Board said: “The unique concentration of knowledge-based industries and organisations within the Knowledge Quarter allows us to work collaboratively to invest in the next generation of talent. London’s knowledge economy will ultimately benefit by providing high-skilled opportunities to young people and the Knowledge Quarter will continue to play a role in the delivery of this programme as well as future apprenticeship schemes.”
About the KQ Apprenticeships:
- Apprentices on the pilot programme will take a 4.5 year course and earn either a foundation or a bachelor’s degree as well as gaining work experience.
- They will study on the University of Westminster’s Biomedical and Physiological Sciences programme.
- Recruitment will take place in late 2016 with the first apprentices starting in 2017.
- Camden students have already been able to benefit through work experience placements in October 2015 at London Bioscience Innovation Centre (LBIC) and The Francis Crick Institute.