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Forging links with employers through teacher externships


Six science teachers from different schools across the North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) area visited MSD pharmaceuticals in Cramlington on Monday 16 December. They were keen to find out more about career opportunities within advanced manufacturing in the area and observe how the science curriculum is applied in the world of work.

The day started with an introduction to the company from MSD’s managing director, who gave an overview of the business’s key priorities and the challenges they face when it comes to recruiting staff with the skills and qualifications they need. 

The teachers were then taken on a tour of the MSD site where they saw medicines being manufactured, and visited the laboratories where the medicines are tested for quality assurance. This was a great opportunity for the teachers to see how the practical skills and theory they teach their students is used in industry.

After the tour and a light lunch the teachers had the opportunity to spend time one-to-one with some MSD staff. The staff shared their own career journeys and the teachers had an opportunity to ask in-depth questions and discuss how they could use what they had seen on their visit to develop a curriculum-based project for their students.

The day finished with some time with the HR team, learning more about MSD’s recruitment processes and the skills and qualifications they look for, giving the teachers a better understanding of the career opportunities available locally, and enabling them to feel more confident when advising students of their options.

“I found it extremely interesting and though provoking, and I am certain that it will have a positive impact on my students. The day was really well organised and everyone involved was a fantastic ambassador for MSD,” said a teacher from Jarrow School, who took part in the visit. 

“Off the back of the visit I am writing a scheme of work which will hopefully teach students parts of the science curriculum, while focusing on how drugs are designed, manufactured and quality controlled. It will also teach them about career opportunities and about the other skills necessary to be successful in the world of work. This will really help Jarrow School in widening and embellishing our curriculum.”

A representative from MSD said: “I would recommend the teacher externship programme to other employers. We need to give teachers the information on our industries so they can provide current and clear details to students who may be interested or do not know which organisations to look at for job opportunities. We must support our local communities and schools as this is our future workforce.” 

Teacher externships across a range of industries are currently available to secondary schools and colleges in the North East LEP area. If you would like to find out more, then please email [email protected]