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Press release: UK set to take advanced therapies and vaccine manufacturing industry to the next level: the Advanced Therapy Skills Training Network launches today – driven by industry and coordinated by the Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult

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First network of its kind in the UK will open career opportunities and upskill staff, helping to expand the advanced therapy and vaccine manufacturing workforce.

Initiative is set to increase the UK’s health resilience and contribute to the nation’s post COVID-19 recovery.

A nationwide skills development programme funded by £4.7m as part of the Government’s commitment to expand the UK’s expertise in advanced therapies and vaccine manufacturing.

Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult (CGT Catapult) today announces the launch of the Advanced Therapies Skills Training Network (ATSTN). It is designed to reach more people than ever before to propel them towards career opportunities in the advanced therapy and vaccine manufacturing industry by assessing their transferrable skills and providing access to training.

Driven by industry and coordinated by the CGT Catapult, the ATSTN delivers a platform consisting of dedicated online resources and national centres to upskill as well as the opportunity for people to identify how they can enter this industry. This is a significant contribution to ensuring continuous growth of the UK advanced therapies and vaccine manufacturing industry, developing the nation’s health resilience by creating opportunities for current and new skilled personnel.

The ATSTN initiative is funded by £4.7 million awarded from the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) through UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) to help grow the sector by creating economic opportunities for new jobs and industry-driven learning. With the industry workforce expected to double to more than 6,000 by 2024, this investment is continuing the Government’s commitment to expanding the UK expertise in advanced therapies.

Business Secretary Alok Sharma, said:

It is vital that we upskill our workforce to develop and manufacture vaccines and treatments at scale, ensuring the advanced therapy and vaccine manufacturing sectors are stronger and more resilient in the future.

Backed with almost £5 million government investment, this first-of-its-kind skills network will equip people at all stages of their careers to pursue opportunities in advanced medicines and vaccine manufacturing. This will help to create highly skilled jobs across the country while putting the UK in the strongest position to respond to future pandemics.

Kate Bingham, Chair of the Vaccines Taskforce said:

One of the tasks of the government’s Vaccines Taskforce is to ensure the UK has the capabilities to respond to future health crises, and this includes scaling up our ability to manufacture safe and effective vaccines and treatments.

By upskilling and expanding the UK’s vaccine manufacturing industry, this new skills network will help to ensure the UK has the capacity to produce successful vaccines at scale, including for coronavirus, helping to protect the UK population for generations to come.

Matthew Durdy, CEO of Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult commented:

The ATSTN initiative reiterates our commitment to upskill new and existing members of the advanced therapy workforce, building on the success and impact of the ATAC apprenticeship programme. Not only is it rewarding to work so closely with industry to deliver on this need, but it is also extremely motivating for all involved to think that this initiative is going to be the start of so many promising careers and additional job opportunities. We look forward to seeing the success stories from users of this ground-breaking platform

The ATSTN has been designed in collaboration with industry to address its needs to upskill current professionals as well as to leverage skills from other sectors, opening opportunities for people to join the cell and gene therapy industry from different ones. ATSTN users will be able to access learning materials, whether remotely or on-site, from a wealth of expertise across the entire industry, while tailoring their personal learning experience to their own needs.

There are three different components to the ATSTN platform: Online Training Platform, National Training Centres and Career Converter. These components allow users, whether they come from inside or outside the industry, to curate job matches based on their current skillset and identify what training they need to progress in that field.

The National Training Centres, that will provide on-site training, are to be announced later in December.

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