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REC Life Sciences meeting considers the possibility of a future 'skills crunch'

REC Life Sciences meeting considers the possibility of a future 'skills crunch' 

Holding its first general meeting of 2012, REC Life Sciences, the group for recruiters working in the life sciences industries, hosted an expert panel on the growing skills shortages facing the industry.

Chas Hubbard from Cogent, the science-based sector skills council, gave a presentation informing the group of the steps being taken by his organisation and across Government to improve the supply of qualified, skilled scientists in the UK, followed by a broad-ranging panel discussion.

Commenting, REC Life Sciences Chair Lawrence Levy said: “The Government is taking the skills issue very seriously, as the range of activity outlined by Cogent shows. From apprenticeships through the Growth and Innovation Fund, to employer ownership of skills pilots and beyond, much is being done to improve the skills pipeline.

“It is important now that the industry, and the recruitment sector servicing it, engages with these plans and works in tandem to do as much as possible to strengthen the supply of skills from the British system.

“However, a serious concern remains over the tightening rules on skilled immigration. With the new restrictions on the post-work graduate visa, a major source of talent for life sciences companies will disappear. There will be a gap of at least five years before the benefits of current efforts to improve skills in the native population are felt, making it less attractive right now for such companies to base themselves in Britain.

“Already our members are reporting that they have to work on a pan-European basis, as there is not enough demand for life sciences staff in the UK to sustain their businesses. This should be seen as a serious warning signal by the Government.”

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