U.K. targets skills shortage

An imminent skills shortage has spurred U.K. drug makers to form a national academy to aid in the development of manufacturing professionals. Phil Jones, chief executive of the National Skills Academy for the Process Industries, which has been instrumental in establishing the new body, explains that three factors are driving the need for the training to be provided.

First, experience-rich manufacturing professionals who date from the drug-blockbuster era are nearing retirement. Indications are that recruitment and retention of younger workers will be insufficient for their replacement, Jones tells Pharmaceutical Technology Europe magazine. Second, the drug industry's "image problem," as he calls it, yields inadequate academic and practical skills among graduates applying for jobs. Third is a lack of specialist scientific skills in the U.K. labor population.

Jones explains that drug makers have worked with the U.K. Cogent Sector Skills Council to establish the academy. To clarify the needs of the pharma sector, the council and the academy ran a workshop for employers and key stakeholders to develop an action plan.

Among priorities identified: risk-based assessment, operations innovation, and management and leadership in a global industry. Career and education topics also are part of the agenda. 

- here's the interview