“Meet the future workforce and talk to them about your business”

Almac Group is an established contract development and manufacturing organisation that provides specialised drug development services to over 600 pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies worldwide.

The Group has exhibited at Skills Northern Ireland since the event was launched in 2016. Recruitment Manager Aisling McConaghy spoke with Prospects Events, who organise Skills Northern Ireland, and explained why they will be back again for 2018.

Why did you decide to exhibit at Skills Northern Ireland?

Almac has exhibited at Skills Northern Ireland for the past two years.  We recognise the exhibition as an ideal platform to showcase our company, engage directly with young people regarding the vast career opportunities available across the Group and to network with other similar companies. We felt we could help encourage students that had an interest in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths) subjects to continue studying these at GCSE / A Level and beyond, with a view to pursuing a rewarding and fulfilling career in the pharma industry.

As a major STEM employer, we are only too aware of the challenges facing us as a result of skills shortages in certain areas and we wanted to promote the fact that a qualification in a STEM subject presents a clear advantage in the modern job market. Studying, and gaining, a qualification in a STEM related subject will undoubtedly boost students’ future employability and earning potential.

Tell us about your stand at Skills Northern Ireland. 

The vision for our stand was to bring STEM subjects to life and showcase elements of the work that is undertaken at Almac. We wanted our stand to have a wow factor, be engaging and draw attention of attendees to stop with us to find out more about Almac and what we do.

We had live eye-catching demonstrations using dry ice designed to simulate some of the scientific work in our laboratories and a tablet feeder which was designed and built by our in-house engineering team. To encourage interaction with attendees, we carried out face fit testing with visitors to the stand. We even brought some of our lab coats to try on so attendees could see themselves as part of the Almac family!

What is the benefit of attending Skills Northern Ireland as an exhibitor?

The event allows us to exhibit the work that Almac does in pursuit of advancing human health. It affords employers the opportunity to speak to a range of students and their influencers about future subject choices and career aspirations.  This is important as most students embark upon a particular career path as a result of advice received from parents and teachers. By talking with students and advising them on the variety of roles we have in our organisation, we hope we can broaden their horizons to consider alternatives to traditional career paths and inspire them to develop the skills and knowledge needed today by industry and the NI economy.

What do you think young people, families and career leaders get out of visiting Skills Northern Ireland?

Often, it can be difficult for young people and their families to understand the different career paths in the STEM arena. We see this event as a great opportunity for these groups of people to come and meet with employers and educators in an informative and fun setting.  Industry in Northern Ireland has so much to offer and the event showcases skill areas we want to encourage young people to think about.  It allows young people to have informal conversations with employers and the actual people performing these roles to get a whole new perspective into their areas of interest.

What would you say to another organisation thinking of exhibiting?

I would encourage any organisation considering taking part in the next Skills Northern Ireland event to book now! We have seen the event grow in the past few years, so can only anticipate this year will be even bigger and better.  It is a great opportunity to get out, meet the future workforce and talk to them about your business. As an employer, it also provides you with a forum to network with others in your field and see what they are doing.   If you can influence even one budding Engineer or Scientist to pursue further study in a STEM subject, it is well worth it.

Find out more about exhibiting at Skills Northern Ireland here.

Find out more about visiting Skills Northern Ireland here.

Find out what’s on at the event here.