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This month saw a celebration of the bioscience sector’s dedication to developing talent at the inaugural Life Science Skills Awards organised by Cogent – the strategic skills body for the science industries. BIA members Eden Biodesign, Amgen, UCB, University of Southampton and Takeda were among the award winners. One service offered by Cogent to bioscience companies of all sizes is the Life Science Placements Service, which is seeking opportunities to match students with more employers. Pauline Maden, manager of the service, explains the scheme and its benefits for potential employers.

The Life Sciences Industry Placement Service is designed to support employers looking to host industrial placements. Through three key areas; attraction, recruitment and development, Cogent can significantly enhance the placements experience and provide employers with the talented people that their business is looking for.

Cogent is here to help employers to develop home grown excellence and significantly improve the employability skills of graduates in the Life Sciences sector.

We work with businesses that are new to industrial placements through to experienced hosts and businesses that are looking to try a different approach.

The Service Explained….

As a life sciences employer you may receive lots of speculative enquiries about placements and internships, yet taking on a placement student or graduate can seem like one more task that you haven’t really got time for. However, there are many reasons why you should consider offering placements; with the right guidance, providing such opportunities can be very rewarding for employers.

Cogent’s goal is to reverse the declining number of placements offered by industry, making it easier for employers to become hosts.

Step1: The placements team will get a better understanding of your business to help us find you the brightest student talent, most suitable to make a real contribution to your business objectives.

Step2: The second stage involves developing a project plan – based around the job description. Cogent will develop this in conjunction with the employer. Doing this ensures that the placement student is given certain tasks to carry out to support your business and their own personal development.

Step3: Cogent will advertise the placement vacancy online, within university departments to reach the top student and graduate talent and through Cogent’s social media channels.

Step4: Cogent will sift through the applications, build a candidate database, present you with the CVs of the most suitable candidates and following that will advise unsuccessful candidates on your behalf.

Step5: For employers who have issues with headcount, Cogent can employ the placement student on your behalf and deal with all HR and payroll functions.

Following the successful recruitment of your placement student you can expect to hear from us at agreed intervals to ensure that everything is going well.

All placements are paid and students on a year-long placement typically earn between £15,000 and £23,000 per year.

The business case for hosting industrial placements

The value of industrial placements to students and universities is widely recognised, yet the benefits to the host employer can sometimes be underestimated.

  •  Talent pipeline: Industrial placements are required by universities and students to help develop the employability skills in undergraduates. By hosting a placement you a contributing to the development of a future talent pool with the capabilities that the Sector needs.
  •  Future skills: Industrial placements can lead directly to a full-time position, saving you time and the costs associated with recruitment that can have an uncertain outcome.
  •  Staff development: To host an industrial placement we recommend that you nominate a mentor for the student or graduate. This can also be an opportunity for you to develop leadership, coaching and mentoring skills for the nominated mentor or supervisor.
  •  Experience: Industrial placement students will have completed at least two years of their degree course, in which time they have developed skills that will allow them to perform important duties for the host employer.

Contact us: If you would like to talk through the placements service please don’t hesitate to contact us on