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UTC Swindon Student Joins Firm’s New Apprenticeship Scheme
A global pharma contract development and manufacturing organisation is developing a pipeline of new talent with the support of UTC Swindon.
Patheon provides an end-to-end supply chain solution for pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical companies. With a UK base in Swindon, the company serves more than 400 clients around the world.
The company first made contact with UTC Swindon as it prepared to re-launch its apprenticeship programme, after a gap of around 15 years. Samantha Romanek, Senior HR Business Partner at Patheon, explained: “Like many companies, we have an ageing workforce and we were keen to use apprenticeships to recruit and grow new talent within the organisation.
“Having decided to recommence the apprenticeship programme, we made contact with local schools and colleges to promote the opportunities available. We were aware of UTC Swindon and its specialism in engineering and this seemed the ideal place to start.
“When we visited the UTC we were struck with how the students were being prepared for the workplace. It had a more business like working environment than many other schools and colleges. The students attended for a longer working day and were involved in delivering presentations to external visitors, which developed their confidence and communication skills.
“Following the recruitment drive, which included advertising via the National Apprenticeship Service website, the majority of our shortlisted candidates were from the UTC. During the assessment day the UTC Swindon candidates performed strongly in terms of their maths skills and teamwork and it was clear that they already had a grasp of engineering skills and concepts.”
Following the recruitment drive, Patheon offered Gareth Wilson, a UTC Swindon student, a place on this year’s apprenticeship programme. Gareth will now begin the four-year apprenticeship programme in summer 2017. His route to employment followed a decision to join UTC Swindon after completing his GCSEs. He said: “I was attracted to studying at UTC Swindon because of the engineering specialism. I attended an open day and was impressed by the professional atmosphere and the engineering facilities and equipment. These were much better than you would find at a typical school.”
While at UTC Swindon, Gareth has been studying a BTEC Level 3 in Engineering and an A-level in Maths. He said: “I was thinking about moving onto university after completing my course, but discovered the apprenticeship programme at Patheon when they came to deliver a presentation. This offered the opportunity to continue studying, while working and developing skills in the workplace. It means I can achieve a further qualification while earning money and I will have much more practical experience than I would if I came out of university after three years.”
Patheon’s initial contact with UTC Swindon is set to lead to a greater partnership in the coming year. This will include delivering an ‘engineers of the future’ project and supporting A-level chemistry students, as well as returning to promote further apprenticeship opportunities.
Samantha said: “I can really see the value in a school like UTC Swindon. The facilities are incredible and the learners seem to develop a more mature, business like outlook, which stands out. As an engineering employer, it is good to see young people who have decided that this is the route for them and have taken a decision which will give them the best possible start.”
UTC Swindon is a school for 14-19 year olds which specialises in engineering, taught alongside the national curriculum. Their next open event for students interested in joining in September is on Saturday 24 June, 10am-2pm; please register to attend online at www.utcswindon.co.uk/events.