Understanding skills requirements and connecting the right training is key to developing a skilled STEM workforce
nexaSTEM builds interdisciplinary connections between people, organisations, industries and sectors to address critical areas of STEM skills need.
The technical landscape is always changing - driven by many new and innovative technologies appearing at pace. This requires continual adaptation of educational curricula and training offerings to keep up, and poses significant challenges to continually up-skill the existing workforce.
nexaSTEM is working with partners to develop skills strategy and deliver solutions to skills gaps through educational offerings, short course training and the development of apprenticeships.
strategy & standards
Supporting employer groups with strategic workforce development, as well as developing new training standards and apprenticeships.
training & education
Working with partner organisations to produce new training and education courses to meet future skills needs in data-driven life sciences.
Addressing challenges in access to training across key skills gaps through the development of online training materials and learner support.
Supporting employer groups with strategic workforce development, as well as developing new training standards and apprenticeships
bioinformatics (level 7) apprenticeship
Working with Cogent Skills, nexaSTEM coordinated the development of the Level 7 Bioinformatics Scientist degree apprenticeship standard. The trailblazer group comprised Unilever, GSK, Medimmune, Astrazeneca, Fujifilm Diosynth, Eagle Genomics, Covance, Envigo, UCB, Kymab, EMBL-European Bioinformatics Institute, The MRC, Genomics England, the ABPI, and the Royal Society of Biology. View the Bioinformatics Scientist standard here.
catalogue of higher-level STEM apprenticeship standards
The table below is generated from STEM route (Engineering & Manufacturing, Digital, and Health & Science) apprenticeship standards at higher levels (4,5,6,7) available at the Institute for Apprenticeships. The table is searchable and sortable - you can click on the name of the standard to jump to the details at the IfA website
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national occupational standards
Working with Cogent Skills, nexaSTEM coordinated the development of UK National Occupational Standards for job roles in Health Economics and Bioinformatics. Links to the subject-specific units from the NOS suites are below.
supporting industry strategy
nexaSTEM has supported Cogent Skills and the Science Industry Partnership, as a Higher Education Consultant. The activity helped their work to address higher level skills and training gaps in the life science and industrial sciences workforce by supporting ongoing work in industrial placements, degree programmes, working with accreditation bodies, and particularly development of higher level Apprenticeships and National Occupational Standards.
Working with partner organisations to produce new training and education courses to meet future skills needs in data-driven life sciences
nexaSTEM (Lee Larcombe) provides classroom teaching and training on courses run by the EMBL-European Bioinformatics Institute. These include "Introduction to multiomics data integration", "Data resources and bioinformatics tools for immunologists", "Bioinformatics for Principal Investigators", the BioEXCEL "Foundation skills for HPC" summer school and co-organising (and mentoring on) the joint EMBL-EBI/Wellcome Trust "Summer School in Bioinformatics". (View upcoming EMBL-EBI training here)
genomics & precision medicine
nexaSTEM is supporting the Welsh Assembly Government's recent strategy development for Genomic & Precision Medicine in Wales by working with Bangor University to deliver an MSc programme in Genomic & Precision Medicine. Working with the University to give early input to the strategy consultation process has resulted in the commissioning of courses in Wales to develop the Welsh NHS workforce. (Visit the course pages here).
bioinformatics: MSc & apprenticeships
nexaSTEM (Lee Larcombe) has supported Masters-level bioinformatics education at both Cranfield University and the University of West London - providing subject matter expertise, input on course/content development and carrying out classroom teaching. Links to the course pages are below - including the new Cranfield bioinformatics apprenticeship programmes.
Addressing challenges in access to training across key skills gaps through the development of online training materials and learner support
supporting Python learning
The popularity of Python means that many are trying to learn, either as a first programming language, or from experience of other coding languages. nexaSTEM has built the Python Code Generator (pycogen) - a visual tool to quickly generate a Python program by dragging blocks together and see the Python code being built. Whether you are new to programming and Python, helping a learner, or just in need of a visual cheatsheet to support your existing Python skills, try pycogen by clicking here - or the logo.
As part of a national training needs review carried out by ELIXIR UK, a need for more scientific training was identified in the area of structural bioinformatics. nexaSTEM has been working with key groups in the structural bioinformatics community to develop workflow-based training materials. These are particularly designed to aid biological scientists to make use of computational approaches for the functional exploration of protein structure. Try the workflows using the links below:
learning & choosing statistics
Learning to use statistics properly, or even choosing the right approach when designing experiments remains a challenge for many. As part of the StaTS project, nexaSTEM provides a site to help you take the next steps to improving your statistics skills by providing a signpost to information, resources and training opportunities. Key to this is our decision making tool, designed to help you think about the data you intend to collect from your experiments, and guide you on the selection of statistics approaches suitable for its analysis. (Try it by clicking here - or the logo)
Building connections across disciplines: learners with training, novices to peers & expert mentors, employers & stakeholder groups
nexaSTEM was formed in 2016 by Lee Larcombe as a vehicle to continue his previous work supporting education, training and skills development for life scientists - predominantly in bioinformatics and associated statistics, and quantitative skills.
Lee began his scientific career in the lab, with an undergraduate degree in Genetics from QMUL and later, a PhD from Cranfield University. He moved into bioinformatics, eventually leading to the post of Lecturer in Genetics and Computational biology at Cranfield where he was the course director of the University's MSc in Applied Bioinformatics. His career has now spanned academia, industry and research – and he has broad experience of teaching and training, including development of training strategy. He has developed and delivered material to, as well as assessed students in bioinformatics, molecular biology and clinical research fields. He has supervised 5 research students to completion and over 60 MSc student research projects - often with industry collaboration. (Background via LinkedIn)
Lee’s research has focussed mainly on functional genetics, and data integration for the study of oncology and the discovery of novel targets for the development of immuno-oncology therapeutics. As well as owning nexaSTEM, he owns Applied Exomics Ltd - a contract R&D company specialised in bioinformatics and data integration support to biotech and pharma companies.
The skills landscape today faces critical needs and challenges, but also presents many exciting opportunities to deliver innovative solutions and impact the work of thousands of scientists across the sector.
If you are interested in working with me to improve opportunities for learning in the life sciences please get in touch. nexaSTEM is based at the Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst, UK.