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Published: 2nd August 2023

The SIP Ambassador Experience. The Sustainability and Innovation workstream

The SIP Careers Taskforce is a group of early career professionals from diverse backgrounds who share a passion for science-based careers.
Jake Brett
Jake is an Associate Scientist at GSK and the lead for the Taskforce’s ‘innovation and sustainability’ workstream.

The Taskforce provides energy, direction and resources to the SIP’s careers outreach activities and supports the SIP Ambassadors, who work with young people, parents, teachers and careers advisers to promote the many careers available within the science-based industries.

I’ve work at GSK’s research and development facility in Stevenage in Hertfordshire for almost five years. I joined the company after finishing my A-levels and began working towards a degree apprenticeship, which I’ll finish this August.

I work in the field of cell biology and drug discovery, helping identify which small molecules could be useful in developing drugs and then passing on our findings to a team of chemists.

I got involved with the SIP careers taskforce since its inception just over a year ago as I wanted to do something through which I could have a positive impact to the wider industry. Previously, I’d been a SIP Ambassador and found the experience so rewarding that I wanted to continue giving something back to the industry.

I’m really passionate about helping other young people find out more about the range of careers available and the different routes into them. I think it’s so important to be able to make an informed choice about your future.

In particular, I was drawn to the sustainability and innovation theme as this is an area I’m personally committed to. Through this theme, we aim to showcase how science and technology can help make the world a better place. We try to highlight the jobs and skills of the future, with a particular focus on green skills.

As we all try to play our part in reducing emissions and working towards net-zero, green skills are set to become even more important in the future, across every job in every industry – something which is explored in depth in the findings of Cogent Skills’ new report, ‘A greenprint for skills for the low-carbon industries’, which is based on discussions with more than 40 employers across a range of sectors.

In my experience, young people tend to be really engaged in new technologies and the importance of the green agenda – but I think there’s still a gap between their enthusiasm on the one hand, and on the other hand knowing how to gain relevant skills and find the jobs which will make the most of their talent in these areas.

That’s why we produce a number of resources to point people towards ways in which they can gain these skills, as well as keeping them up-to-date with the latest developments and events across a number of industries.

I’m also doing more in-depth pieces of work with other SIP members – for example, I recently interviewed someone at another science-based company who is leading the way in making laboratories more sustainable.

We’re also working on creating new resources for SIP Ambassadors to use at outreach events, including student worksheets. This will increase the awareness of green skills across the Ambassador community, which will in turn help young people and those advising them on their careers make informed choices.

I know how daunting it can be when you finish your formal education and then have to make a decision about your next steps in life.

I hope that through the work we’re doing with the taskforce, young people just starting their careers will be inspired to think about how they can play a part in helping the science and technology industry have a more positive impact on the climate.”

We are always looking for new members in the Sustainability and Innovation workstream. If you’re knowledgeable about how you or your company is adapting for a greener future or passionate about highlighting pathways into sustainable STEM careers, contact Rachel Brickell

Future Ready

Cogent Skills is sector based, working with companies from across the Science and Technology Industries embracing Life Sciences, Industrial Sciences and Nuclear.
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