Enhancing employability for STEM students through improved understanding of the industrial-commercial context

The Biopharma Skills Consortium (comprising the Universities of Reading, Surrey, Brighton, Kent, Portsmouth, the Open University and the Royal Veterinary College) recently made a successful bid for HE STEM funding to develop resources to improve STEM students’ awareness of the industrial-commercial environment and the relevance of their education to employment within it. All with the aim of easing transitions to industrial placements and graduate employment to the benefit of students and employers.

To kick start the project, a practice sharing event on placement and skills development here at Reading in February saw 15 academic and placements staff from across the Consortium come together to share innovative practice and to identify key areas where students could benefit from training pre-placement and pre-employment to better effect their shift from lecture room to workplace, from academic laboratory to commercial research environment.

“Meeting employer expectations” was identified as an area where additional preparation prior to going out on placement or into employment can really help students to:

  • Understand the differences between academic and work based learning and how their employer will be expecting them to operate in the workplace
  • Recognise and evaluate any tension between their personal values and those of their host organisation
  • Understand health and safety issues and good laboratory practice and how this might differ from how they operate in an academic lab


  • Be digitally ready for the workplace….

The project team would be particularly grateful for pointers towards existing training materials and resources around digital literacy and information retrieval in the workplace that you might be using or are aware of that could be adapted and shared with students on open access.

Please contact Helen Williams at h.e.williams@reading.ac.uk with any suggestions or if you would like to find out more about this project.


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