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Abcam’s apprentices: ‘We support them all’

Some of the Abcam apprentices working at the firm's Cambridge Biomedical Campus building. Picture: Keith Heppell
Some of the Abcam apprentices working at the firm's Cambridge Biomedical Campus building. Picture: Keith Heppell

With the future of work often couched in terms of apprentices, it’s worth taking a look at Abcam, which has expanded its team of apprentices from two to 37 in the last two years.

In 2019, Abcam announced ambitious plans to continue its growth over the next five years, “influencing and serving more life scientists to discover more faster”. Achieving this growth requires significant investment, especially in talent. And working on Cambridge Biomedical Campus is a hugely attractive proposition at any stage of a career.

“There is no ‘typical’ apprentice,” says Abcam’s talent development manager, Fiona Smith. “Our apprentices represent the diversity of the Abcam business. We have 18 different apprenticeships standards ongoing, from entry level to degree.

“Abcam apprenticeships are not all about science either. Of course we have three amazing apprentices working towards their lab tech qualifications at the moment but our fastest-growing demand is in the digital space. We are seeing a growing interest in data science, data analytics and digital marketing which will help us deliver excellence to our customers.

“We also hope to be able to extend this and offer artificial intelligence, bioinformatics and other new standards as and when they are approved. Our apprentices are incredible in what they bring to Abcam. They have impact right from the get go bringing new ideas, new thinking and ways of working.”

Abcam's new headquarters on Cambridge Biomedical Campus
Abcam's new headquarters on Cambridge Biomedical Campus

The talent pool includes:

- Charlotte and Mercedes (learning and development level 3 ) have helped to transform the way customer experience teams are onboarded, trained and upskilled

- Adam Masterson (infrastructure tech 3 ) has added a lot of value to the IT help desk, driving up customer satisfaction

- Yasmin Woodfield delivered a project on employee engagement (HR level 3)

- Jade Smith won the East Region Apprentice of the year award in Lab tech 4.

“As we grow our presence through outreach, work experience and internships in partnership with Form the Future, Cambridge LaunchPad and In2Science, we hope to attract even more diversity to Abcam,” said Fiona. “This is a very exciting time to be joining Abcam.

“We not only recruit apprentices, we also offer our existing employees the chance to become an apprentice and learn something new. We have always invested in developing our people through the Abcam Global Career Development Fund. The new management and leadership standards and senior leaders mastership/MBA apprenticeships have increased our ability to upskill more of our leaders and future leaders, and offer more flexibility in the way they achieve their qualifications. This was one of the reasons why Abcam was ranked as one of Glassdoor Best Places to Work 2020.

“We offer any standard that meets the job requirement and will work with the student to choose the most appropriate provider, some at office location, some block release or day release. We support them all.”

This week is National Careers Week and Abcam is one of many Cambridge companies keen to reach out to those seeking to work in a supportive environment.

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