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Southern Regional College (SRC) in partnership with Newry based Norbrook Laboratories Ltd. have won the ‘Employer Innovation Award’ at the Apprentice of the Year awards, held in Belfast City Hall this week. The award presented by the Department for the Economy (DfE) recognises the pioneering work of both organisations in developing the first higher level apprenticeship in Applied Industrial Science in Northern Ireland.

SRC has been working with Norbrook Laboratories Ltd. for over 10 years in the delivery of a range of training solutions as part of the company’s workforce development programme. This work initiated by the late Lord Ballyedmond and the College’s Chief Executive, Brian Doran led to a commitment to build a partnership where Norbrook could 'grow their own' talent pool through the development and promotion of higher apprenticeships in Applied Industrial Science.

Pictured at the Award Ceremony are from left: Brian Doran, Chief Executive, Southern Regional College; Elizabeth Moran, Learning & Development Manager, Norbrook Laboratories Ltd; Dr Lillian Cromie, Director of Science, Norbrook Laboratories Ltd; Darran Morgan, Learning & Development Coordinator, Norbrook Laboratories Ltd, Deirdre Murray, HLA Applied Industrial Science Coordinator, Southern Regional College.
Pictured at the Award Ceremony are from left: Brian Doran, Chief Executive, Southern Regional College; Elizabeth Moran, Learning & Development Manager, Norbrook Laboratories Ltd; Dr Lillian Cromie, Director of Science, Norbrook Laboratories Ltd; Darran Morgan, Learning & Development Coordinator, Norbrook Laboratories Ltd, Deirdre Murray, HLA Applied Industrial Science Coordinator, Southern Regional College.

The Higher Level Apprenticeship programme has been designed with the specific aim of producing highly skilled, practically competent, laboratory technicians and analysts. To date Norbrook has employed 33 apprentices and the programme is now well established and used by a number of other leading life and health science companies such as the Almac group and Randox Laboratories.  The collaborative partnership that exists between Norbrook and SRC has also led to the establishment of the Life and Health Science Sector Partnership for Northern Ireland.  The Sector Partnership chaired by Norbrook’s Director of Science, Dr Lillian Cromie has been responsible for the development of a number of degree level apprenticeships in science  that now offer progression pathways through to degree and postgraduate apprenticeships in conjunction with the Southern Regional College, Ulster University and Queen’s University Belfast.

Speaking at the awards ceremony, Brian Doran, Chief Executive at Southern Regional College, said “The College has worked closely with Norbrook Laboratories to design and deliver an innovative higher apprenticeship in applied industrial science that addresses the needs of both the employer and apprentices.  The development of these new degree apprenticeships is critical to the future growth of the pharmaceutical industry in Northern Ireland.  The College’s science team has worked closely with personnel from Norbrook to design an innovative curriculum and support structure that underpins the new apprenticeship.  The College has led the way in the use of new technologies to provide flexible delivery and support to apprentices be that in their work place or at home.  I am delighted to be here today, with our colleagues from Norbrook, to accept this award in recognition of the work that we have progressed in recent years”.

Elizabeth Moran, Learning & Development Manager, Norbrook Laboratories Ltd. said “Collaborating with Southern Regional College for over 10 years, has helped us to develop innovative, specialised training solutions, to provide our people with enhanced skills and knowledge, helping Norbrook to continually deliver to our customers. The collaborative development of the Higher Level Apprenticeship in Applied Industrial Science (Chemical Science) ensured the content of the programme was directly aligned to the skills required by Norbrook. A testament to the success of the programme over the last number of years is that it has been adopted more widely across the Pharmaceutical Industry in Northern Ireland. The apprenticeship developed by SRC has provided a flexible and accessible model which has enabled our apprentices to effectively apply their learning’s from the College to their role in Norbrook Laboratories”.

The Department for the Economy’s Permanent Secretary, Noel Lavery added his congratulations to the winners.

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