As a business at the forefront of the pharmaceutical outsourcing sector, we are continually growing and evolving resulting in us requiring more employees with specific skill sets. The GO Wales programme has allowed us to recruit such candidates with strong attributes, allowing Biotec Services to reinforce its strategic aim. One of Britain’s fastest growing export businesses is working closely with the Welsh Government and the higher education sector as it strengthens its skill base for further expansion.
Skills prove the right tonic as drug handling specialists plan for growth
Bridgend-based Biotec Services International, which specialises in temperature-controlled storage and distribution of drug supplies for international clinical trials, employs just over 60 people, nearly half of them graduates.
This represents a sevenfold increase since 2005, during which time turnover has also rocketed, from £600,000 per annum to nearly £10 million.
The team at Biotec runs a tightly-controlled global operation supplying carefully labeled and coded samples for critical drug trials in dozens of countries across five continents. The operation is further complicated by the fact that batches of test samples must also include placebos and competitor drugs already on the market.
The company places great emphasis on developing the skills of its people to meet these challenges, particularly project management skills throughout the operation.
To strengthen such skills further the firm works closely with the higher education sector. For example it appointed Uday Pathapati, a Swansea University MSc graduate in management and finance as a project manager following a 10-week placement under the GO Wales programme.
GO, which stands for Graduate Opportunity, funds graduates to undertake projects in Welsh businesses in order to build their experience and give the businesses concerned the benefit of their academic training. Uday undertook a project to streamline financial processes at the firm and impressed his bosses enough to land a permanent post.
The enterprise has also worked closely with the Welsh Government to aid its recruitment. To date it has engaged five staff through the Jobs Growth Wales programme. Following six-month placements, during which their salaries were funded by the Welsh Government, the firm has appointed them to a variety of key positions on its growing team.
As a business at the forefront of the pharmaceutical outsourcing sector, we are continually growing and evolving resulting in us requiring more employees with specific skill sets. The GO Wales programme has allowed us to recruit such candidates with strong attributes, allowing Biotec Services to reinforce its strategic aim.
Biotec, which gets 85% of its business from overseas and works through a global network of 24 approved depots, has also been building the skills of its aspiring managers so they can sustain this global operation. In order to hone their leadership and management skills, Biotec has been tapping in to the LEAD course delivered by Swansea University.
To strengthen skills across the rest of the workforce – including at supervisor and operator level – the firm is now in talks with the University of the Heads of the Valleys to design company-specific learning courses.
Said company chief executive, Keren Winmill: “We have trained many people internally but we are looking more at what we can do with outside skills providers. This is particularly true in the area of project management, which is crucial to our industry.”
The firm’s need to upskill its staff is expected to keep on growing as it continues to expand and take advantage of new market opportunities in sophisticated areas such as oncology drug trials, stem cell research and gene therapies.