Almac’s PATHWAY™ Points Students in Right Direction for STEM Careers
October 21, 2014
Over 500 students from across Northern Ireland will learn about the merits of pursuing a career in STEM subjects from world renowned scientists at Almac during the company’s Schools Outreach Programme this year.
Pathway™ programme which promotes STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) as the route to an exciting career was launched at the leading pharmaceutical development firm’s Craigavon headquarters today.
Through the initiative A level and AS level students will take part in tours of the different divisions of the company and meet scientists with varying backgrounds from across the Group, while others will take part in three day work experience placements.
Almac also has strong links with the local universities and each year offer placements to around 60 students on degree and postgraduate courses.
Alan Armstrong, Chairman and CEO of Almac, said: “As one of Northern Ireland’s leading businesses in the life sciences sector, we believe that we have a responsibility to encourage young people here to consider STEM careers which help to grow a dynamic and innovative economy.
“It’s important to us to welcome these students, tell them about what our business does and encourage them to continue studying STEM subjects as they provide an excellent grounding for many careers.”
Stephen Barr, Managing Director of Almac’s Sciences business unit, who oversees the Pathway™ programme, said: “Our STEM Ambassadors play a key role in the success of our Outreach programme. They are Almac employees who are keen to promote STEM subjects and the associated career pathways and they deliver presentations to school groups, facilitate onsite visits and host work experience placements.”
Pupils from the first schools taking part in this year’s outreach programme included those from Lurgan College, Our Lady’s Grammar School in Newry and Shimna Integrated College in Newcastle.
The initiative has been backed by the Department for Employment and Learning. Permanent Secretary of the Department, Derek Baker said: “For the future success of our economy it is vital that we encourage our young people to study STEM courses and educate them about the career opportunities available in the STEM-related industries in Northern Ireland.
“It’s reassuring that a leading, global company like Almac is working with so many young people through its Pathway™ programme to give a valuable insight into what the company does, the interesting jobs that people there perform and the potential routes students can take to pursue successful careers in the sector.”
John Finlay, a chemistry teacher at Lurgan College, said: “We’ve been taking part in Almac’s Schools Outreach Programme for several years and we feel it is a very valuable experience for those studying science subjects.
“We’re keen to provide students with as much career advice as we can in school but seeing the jobs that scientists actually do and having the opportunity to talk to them and tour Almac really helps increase their knowledge about the opportunities that studying science can offer. Several of our students have been inspired to continue their science studies at university level after taking part in the outreach programme.”
The outreach work is part of the company’s CSR strategy which also focuses on charity fundraising and environmental improvement. Over £20,000 has been raised for local charities, including Marie Curie, CLIC Sargent, Autism NI, Southern Area Hospice and Angels of Hope in the last year.