A science apprenticeship which allows students to work and gain a degree at the same time has been officially launched at Southern Regional College (SRC).
The Higher Level Apprenticeship in Applied Industrial Science (Chemical Science) is being offered by SRC and Norbrook and is a two-year course, equivalent to a foundation degree.
Thirteen apprentices began the programme in January and are currently employed by Norbrook.
Employment and Learning Minister Dr Stephen Farry visited the Newry premises of Norbrook to launch the course, where he met apprentice Jill Sanders from Portadown, Brian Doran of SRC and Dr Lillian Cromie of Norbrook Laboratories.
The paid apprenticeship consists of four days working in Norbrook and one day off the job training at Southern Regional College, so participants can earn while they learn.
The higher level apprenticeship provides an alternative to a more traditional university route to higher education.
Dr Farry said, “The delivery of gold standard higher level apprenticeships, such as these, will form a key part of the new skills landscape. The new model for apprenticeships will put employers in the driving seat by aligning with their needs in meeting the growing demand for higher level skills.
“This visit provides me with a valuable insight into the pilot Higher Level Apprenticeship in Industrial Science.
“The development of apprenticeships in priority skills areas such as pharmaceutical and life sciences is vital for the future success of the Northern Ireland economy.”
He added, “The work that the Southern Regional College is currently undertaking with Norbrook Laboratories is an example of how our further education colleges can work in partnership with local business and industry. The development of science related apprenticeships is important for the future of our young people and for the local economy.”
More information on the full range of apprenticeships and skills training is available at the open days in March. Visit www.src.ac.uk or phone 0300 123 1223.