Laboratory Scientist Degree Apprentice

Cogent Skills
Slough, Berkshire
£16,000 per annum
10 Oct 2018
10 Nov 2018
Science / Research
Role Type
Apprenticeship, Degree
Start Date
24 months+

We’re seeking highly motivated scientists to join the Discovery Biology department. Training in the Protein Expression & Purification group, you will learn to perform lab-based tasks to support the drug discovery process. It is an opportunity to work in industry-leading labs at the cutting edge of drug discovery whilst studying for a degree.

The Protein Expression and Purification group at UCB’s UK Discovery Research Hub in Slough currently looking for highly motivated trainees to join their scientist apprentice scheme. Over the course of the 3 year apprenticeship you will have received extensive training in techniques such as mammalian cell culture, protein expression and purification and you will work as part of a team developing manufacturing processes for the delivery of novel biological drugs to treat human diseases.

During your apprenticeship you will also be assigned your own mentor to provide help and advice.

This represents a great opportunity to train  as a cell  culture scientist and work in industry-leading laboratories at the cutting edge of drug discovery. 

Tasks typically involve:

  • Performing experiments under supervision in order to produce data to support drug discovery
  • Carrying out tasks accurately and following strict methodologies to carry out analyses
  • Recording all laboratory work to the agreed standards
  • Ensuring the laboratory is well-stocked and resourced
  • Helping interpret and present results in collaboration with other colleagues
  • Keeping up to date with technical developments, especially those which can save time and improve reliability
  • Following and ensuring strict safety procedures and safety checks

Degree Training:

As part of the apprenticeship you will also be given time to study for a degree in Biological Sciences from the University of Kent through distance learning

During you study time (1 day/week) you will be expected to study on line modules, produce course work and enter for final examinations. Additional work maybe required in the evenings and weekends to complete the course to a satisfactory level. Over the 3 year apprenticeship, you will be expected to achieve a foundation degree (equivalent to 2 year of a full-time degree course).  

About UCB:

The UK premises of UCB are located in Slough, Berkshire. The site at Slough houses the immunology research hub and the head office for the UK commercial organisation. Antibody research and early antibody development functions are also located in Slough alongside some manufacturing and corporate functions.

There are three buildings on the Slough site, housing around 600 staff.

UCB was founded in 1928 and was originally a chemicals manufacturer with a separate pharmaceuticals division. By the 1950s the focus of UCB had shifted to prescription medicines.

In 2004, UCB acquired Celltech, the UK’s leading biotechnology company, which brought expertise in antibody-based drug discovery to the company. Schwarz Pharma was acquired in 2007, bringing its own portfolio of neurology and urology products.

In 2009, a new biologics R&D centre was opened at the Slough campus. The research hub in Belgium concentrates on CNS therapies while the UK research focus is on immunology. Here, UCB is researching drugs for conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus and osteoporosis. The site is renowned for its capabilities in antibody-based drug discovery and early development.

UCB now focuses on severe diseases within immunology and CNS. UCB is active in a number of therapy areas including epilepsy, movement disorders, rheumatoid arthritis and allergy. UCB’s medicines are making a real difference to the lives of people all over the world and some of our products are among the leaders in their fields.

UCB is a top five investor in UK pharmaceutical R&D*, investing over £230 million in 2010. Globally UCB invests more than 20% of its sales revenue into R&D.

In the UK, UCB's R&D, Commercial and Corporate functions are located in Slough, Berkshire.

UCB employs around 600 staff in the UK, of whom about 400 are engaged in research and development activities.

The company supplies over 40 UK-approved medicines.

Working Hours

Monday to Friday, 9.00am - 5.30pm with one hour unpaid lunch break.

Requirements and prospects

Desired skills

  • Good oral and written communication skills
  • Good numerical and IT skills
  • Excellent team player - ability to get along with colleagues and work as part of a team
  • Drive, enthusiasm and ambition with a can-do approach
  • Flexible attitude to work - ability to adapt to changing demands and requirements
  • High degree of integrity and trust
  • Ability to multitask
  • Problem solving skills
  • Demonstrate a progressive attitude towards developing their knowledge and skills.
  • High attention to detail

Personal qualities

  • Willingness to be trained and developed
  • Ability to use own initiative
  • Flexible approach to work
  • Well presented, polite and well spoken
  • Punctual
  • Trustworthy
  • Hardworking
  • Honest
  • Adaptable

Desired qualifications

  • Five GCSE's at grade C and above including mathematics and English (or equivalent)
  • Will have, or are predicted, A levels equaling 80 new UCAS points including Biology and Chemistry at grade C or above
  • Equivalent qualifications are also considered with a minimum requirement of 80 new UCAS points
  • Whilst qualifications are important, we are looking for people who have a genuine desire and motivation to drive their own development are team players and want to make a difference to the lives of patients suffering with severe disease

Future prospects

  • Because of the technical experience you will gain from this role, you will gain skills which many graduates have yet to develop. If you demonstrate practical ability in addition to problem solving ability there are limitless opportunities for progression within the Life Sciences sector. Apprentices who complete the first three years to a high standard will be considered for an extension to the contract

Things to consider

The individual will be working within a laboratory environment and must therefore adhere to site dress code procedures and personal hygiene standards during testing activities (e.g. correct use of PPE such as laboratory coats and glasses; and removal of all jewellery and make-up upon entry into controlled clean room areas). The individual will be required to handle hazardous materials (e.g. chemicals, microorganisms) and so must adhere to the relevant procedures. The work pattern involves day and shift working dependent upon the needs of the business. All applications to be made through Apprenticeship vacancies. Do not contact the employer.

It is expected that the successful candidate will either reside or be able to relocate to an easily commutable distance from our Slough offices.

Training to be provided

  • Training to be provided will be a mixture of on-site training, e-learning and block release with the  University of Kent
  • Fd Sc Applied Bioscience (Foundation Degree) with potential to progress to BSc (Hons) Degree in Applied Bioscience
  • Training to be part of contracted hours making up the working week

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