Chemistry apprenticeships just the start

Tue, 12 Mar 2013 16:21:00 GMT

Successful chemistry apprenticeship scheme could now be rolled out across the University

Olivia Jackson, Helen Winsmore and Adele Garside

Helen Winsor IPOS Analytical Manager (centre), is pictured here with the first two apprentices to take part in the University's pre-graduate scheme Olivia Jackson (left) and Adele Garside (right)

A RESEARCH lab at the University of Huddersfield has launched an innovative apprenticeship scheme which fast tracks young people into a science career. 

The research unit named IPOS (Innovative Physical Organic Solutions), which carries out chemical analysis on behalf of a wide range of industrial partners, has appointed its first two apprentices and is planning to appoint a further pair in September.  The recruits work four days a week in the IPOS suite of laboratories and one day a week they study for a University of Huddersfield BSc degree in chemistry, which they will complete over five years. 

“So they are studying while they are working and at the end of the five-year apprenticeship they will have the industrial experience that we require for our business,” said IPOS Analytical Manager Helen Winsor, who explained the origin of the scheme. 

“Four members of the IPOS team, including me, have worked in industry, and were sponsored in our studies, so we thought it would be nice to offer someone the same opportunity,” she said.

The IPOS apprenticeship scheme is being monitored by senior figures at the University and if it is deemed a success – as expected – then it could be rolled out by other departments, added Helen. 

The first two apprentices are Olivia Jackson, aged 20, from Almondbury and Adele Garside, aged 21, from Lindley.  In addition to their one-day-a-week degree study they have received on-the-job-training in many analytical techniques, such as liquid chromatography, gas chromatography, mass spectrometry and rheology.

Olivia Jackson and Adele Garside  

Already they are carrying out routine analysis on behalf of firms in sectors such as agrochemicals and pharmaceuticals and they enjoy working in the state-of-the-art IPOS lab, which is an Agilent Technologies Centre of Excellence.  The multi-national corporation is acknowledged as one of the world’s premier measurement company in fields including advancing electronics, communications, life sciences and chemical analysis. 

Adele studied for her science A-levels at Huddersfield’s New College, but initially did not apply for a university place. 

“I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do so I thought I’d take a year out, but then I heard about this apprenticeship and it was too good not to apply for!” she said. 

Olivia developed a keen interest in chemistry during A-level studies at Greenhead College in Huddersfield.  She had applied for a standard degree course, but when she heard about the apprenticeship scheme she decided that was the option she would go for. 

Both the apprentices enjoy the first-class facilities of the IPOS labs and are particularly enthusiastic about the real-world relevance of the work they are called on to do.

Back to news index - All Stories