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Collaboration Between Medicines Discovery Catapult and Cheshire & Warrington LEP Will Help Region’s Students Pursue a Career in Life Sciences

The Pledge LEP 22/03/2022

Initiative to support British Science Week

Medicines Discovery Catapult (MDC) has partnered with the Cheshire and Warrington LEP and the Pledge Partnership for a school engagement programme, which aims to inspire the region’s future scientists.

Based at Alderley Park, MDC is focused on reshaping drug discovery, transforming great UK science into better treatments for patients, through partnership.

The initiative – announced in support of British Science Week (11-20 March) – has seen MDC sign-up to the Cheshire and Warrington LEP’s Pledge Partnership, with an ambition to inspire the next generation of budding scientists and the development of new critical drug discoveries, to meet unmet patient need.

Initially running across spring and summer 2022, the collaborative approach will engage hundreds of pupils – across half a dozen schools – region-wide.

MDC scientists will share their expertise, delivering interactive lessons, culminating in a video lesson before the summer break, which will be made available to thousands of youngsters across all of the region’s schools.

The Pledge Partnership puts the region’s employers at the heart of inspiring and informing young people about local career opportunities, whilst also enhancing their understanding of what skills and qualities employers are looking for.

Half a dozen schools across Macclesfield, Crewe, Chester and Ellesmere Port and Northwich will be taking part in MDC’s interactive sessions, with Greenbank School – a school for secondary age pupils with social communication and complex learning difficulties – the first to sign-up to take part.

Dr Nicola Heron, Chief Business Officer at MDC said:

“Speaking from personal experience, a career in the life sciences sector is a highly rewarding path, with a huge range of opportunities on offer.

“Our aim, in partnership with the Cheshire & Warrington LEP, is to educate local school-age children about the opportunities on their doorstep, and demonstrate how a career in life sciences could be a rewarding proposition.

“This programme is not just beneficial for the students, it’s important for the sector too. The future of the UK’s drug discovery industry relies on the innovative minds of forthcoming talent. It is our responsibility to nurture and inspire the next generation of scientists, to ensure that the UK remains a leading force in drug discovery, for the benefit of patients both now, and long into the future”.

Trevor Langston, Pledge Lead from the LEP said:

“We’re delighted to announce the partnership with MDC. When we engaged with employers across the area, a good deal reported that applicants didn’t have the appropriate skillsets required, and in speaking with schools, many children don’t appreciate the scale of the businesses on their doorstep and the opportunity for careers in the region.

“That’s what inspired the formation of the Pledge Partnership – and what we hope the school’s initiative with MDC will achieve in the coming months – so children and parents can have a better understanding of making informed decisions.

“We’ve now got every secondary school and college across the region engaged with us in the programme, supporting more than 50,000 students. The Pledge aims to help individuals make informed decisions about gaining qualifications and skills that match the opportunities available locally and build awareness of employers and sectors within the Cheshire region.”

The partnership follows a site visit to Alderley Park from the Cheshire and Warrington LEP, which saw 120 years ten students from Macclesfield Academy learn about the facility. As part of this visit, students heard from MDC Lead Scientist, Dr Malcolm Haddrick, who introduced the students to the possibilities of a career in medicines discovery through an interactive presentation.

Find out more about MDC here.