NTTF Industry-led Practical Experiences in Life and Chemical Sciences

In cooperation with Skills Development Scotland and funded through the Scottish Funding Council by the Scottish Government’s National Transition Training Fund (NTTF), SULSA developed a portfolio of courses and events to up-skill new entrants and re-skill career changers with in-demand skills to support the growing Scottish Life and Chemical Sciences sectors.

Project Evaluation

The Life and Chemical Sciences NTTF project ran from October 2021 – August 2022 and was coordinated by Laura Zoch. If you would like to find out more about the project and the outcomes achieved, please refer to the NTTF Project Evaluation Report.


The Life and Chemical Sciences sectors played a key role in Scotland’s response to Covid-19 and have experienced significant economic growth in 2021. Especially expanding areas like cell, gene and tissue therapy, and vaccine manufacturing demand a highly skilled workforce to support the growing sector. However, there is a significant skills gap around practical laboratory work which has been aggravated by the absence of in-person training at universities and colleges during the pandemic. Data science skills for life scientists, employability skills for graduates and a general lack of knowledge around the animal technician role were also identified as skills gaps by industry.

The Life and Chemical Sciences NTTF project seeked to address these issues by offering training to any resident in Scotland above the age of 18 years who was unemployed, at risk of redundancy or saw their job under threat as a result of COVID-19 or the economic impact of Britain’s EU Exit; who had identified a skills gap in their current job or to return to employment, or had identified a skills gap as part of the ‘Just Transition’ to net zero.


With our industry training providers, we offered short introductory courses which were designed to help the transition of non-biologists new to working in life sciences or for biologists who wanted to refine and acquire new skills to continue their career in other parts of the life sciences sector, e.g. advanced therapies.

The courses increased the knowledge of possible career paths and enabled candidates new to life sciences to decide whether they wanted to pursue a career in a the life sciences industry, added basic experience to their CV and introduced them to potential employers.

You can find an overview of the Life and Chemical sciences NTTF courses below:

Skills Provider Course Dates
Laboratory RoslinCT NTTF Practical and Sterile Manufacturing Skills within a GMP environment




Dundee & Angus College NTTF Essential Laboratory Skills 06.-07.06.2022
Merck BioReliance NTTF Introduction into the life sciences industry with Merck



Animal Technician Dundee & Angus College, University of Glasgow and Charles River Laboratories NTTF Animal Technician course 15.-17.06.2022
SRUC, University of Edinburgh & Charles River Laboratories NTTF Animal Technician course 22.-23.06.2022
Data Science Glasgow Polyomics Introduction to OMICS for LliG staff 6.-10.06.2022
Employability Skillfluence Identify and market your transferable skills 15.06.2022

Effective CV writing for Life Scientists


  EntrustRS Interview preparation 15.06.2022


Virtual Reality

Sponsored by Merck and in co-development with Edify, we are developing an innovative training tool for laboratory skills teaching and training using immersive technologies. This virtualised version of a general biosciences training lab focuses on training staff and students in the Cell Culture process. This includes the cell culture and cell passaging stages. The primary users of the virtual environments and processes will be students and/or trainees higher and further education institutions, and potentially industry trainees and early career professionals.

The final training course will be ready for roll out across Scottish universities and colleges from November 2022. Please contact us to find out how you can use this new teaching and training tool within your institution.


Careers Events

In cooperation with the Glasgow Lighthouse Lab we organised 2 careers events for staff transitioning out of the Covid testing facility. Inviting several life sciences companies from across Scotland, the aim was to retain talent in the sector. The events held in May 2022 connected about 250 Lighthouse Lab staff with 11 Scottish life sciences companies.

The first SULSA Recruitment Day was a showcase of a variety of employers and career paths and highlighted the skills needed to transition into the Scottish life sciences sector. Supported by 13 companies based in Scotland this event brought together 130 attendees from across 13 academic institutions in June 2022.

Tailored employability skills workshops for life scientists were offered to attendees on the day to support their transition into the life sciences sector:

  • Identify and market your transferable skills
  • Effective CV writing for life scientists
  • Interview preparation


The NTTF project allowed SULSA to further develop its skills agenda, identifying public sector, academic and industry partners. As a result, a new skills committee has been established for SULSA which brings together its member universities expertise, seeks to promote good practice, knowledge exchange and cooperation. 

SULSA has also submitted a proposal for the establishment of a skills agency dedicated to Life Sciences with Scottish Government. This new organisation would aim to create highly trained individuals in required areas to enable the growth of the Scottish life science sector through a more joined-up training ecosystem that capitalises on our size and our strengths. By showcasing existing provision of re-skilling and up-skilling demand-led training courses in Scotland and utilising established networks, the organisation would act as a catalyst and would enable identified gaps in training provision to be filled and create opportunities for the development of unique training solutions according to the needs of the sector.