Back to BlogThe importance of graduates in the growth of the scientific sector in Scotland.

Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) skills are crucial to the sustainability and growth of Scotland’s Life Science industry. 2016 was an excellent year for the industry.  Over £30 million was invested by a variety of companies, as well as expansions by the multinational companies that are already located here, namely GSK, Johnson Matthey and LifeScan.

Despite this, Scotland continually faces a shortage in the numbers of readily available candidates to meet the demands of these high specialised roles. Whilst Scotland has a number of universities that provide excellent Science Degree programmes, some say that there is not enough being done to make graduates industry-ready upon graduation.

An effective way to tackle this issue is to provide students with an industry placement during their degree. Ideally taking place in the 3rd year of their degree.  Short-term placements of 3-6 months have the potential to make the world of difference to a graduate and their career aspirations.

A placement will provide exposure to highly regulated environments (whether it be GMP, UKAS, etc.). It will also give graduates the opportunity to apply the undoubtedly high level of technical knowledge gained during the first few years of their degree. Subsequently,  graduates will have a clearer idea as to what route they would like to go down, whether it be QA, QC, R&D, and Production etc.

It’s crucial for universities to build and develop relationships with these companies throughout the country. In the long-term, this will create mutually beneficial relationships.  It will also see an increase in the number of people deciding to pursue a STEM related degree upon leaving secondary school. This, in turn, will lead to further investment from Life Science companies and create an even more buoyant industry.


First People Solutions are experienced in recruitment programs from graduate level to mass recruitment of experienced staff. Whether you are a scientist looking to progress your career or an employer looking for help or assistance in recruitment – please contact our Managing Consultant, Sam Shaw for a professional approach to your next steps.

Sam Shaw

+44 141 270 5006