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Biomedical engineering Apprenticeships

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Helping you find a career in the Biomedical engineering industry

The role of a biomedical scientist is to work alongside doctors and nurses to help diagnose and treat diseases. Most biomedical scientists in the UK work for the NHS, but there are also biomedical roles in the private healthcare industry, as well as for other public and private bodies (for instance the Food Standards Agency or pharmaceutical businesses). There are biomedical science opportunities in the NHS throughout the UK, including within Hospital Trusts, Public Health England and NHS Blood and Transplant.

Biomedical science in the NHS is split across 3 disciplines: infection sciences, blood sciences, and cellular sciences. There are also biomedical scientists working on genetics and molecular pathology.

The NHS Scientist Training Programme (NHS STP) is the UK’s major training scheme for biomedical scientists. To be eligible for the NHS STP you need to complete an accredited degree qualification in an approved subject – apprenticeships offer the opportunity to do so while getting hands-on experience in laboratories within hospitals, while also covering the fee costs for studying.

Work as a biomedical scientist is mostly laboratory-based, although there are occasionally opportunities to work directly with patients alongside clinicians, however there are strict guidelines about what level of contact you are permitted to have with patients.

Biomedical scientists can expect to:

  • Conduct standard and specialised laboratory testing on a variety of biological samples

  • Work with clinicians to understand their patients’ needs and prioritise your workload in the laboratory

  • Support the development of new testing methodologies

Skills & interests required for a career in Biomedical engineering
Biomedical scientists will need to have scientific laboratory skills, including the ability to work across a variety of different instruments. You will need to be accurate and able to work quickly while maintaining high standards of delivery.

Biomedical scientists will need to be passionate about using their scientific laboratory skills to help patients or to make breakthroughs in treatment methods.

You will also need:
  • Good written skills

  • Good verbal communication skills

  • To be able to work flexibly as part of a team

- Ability to Work Under Pressure
- Commercial Awareness
- Motivation
- Problem Solving
Biomedical engineering apprenticeships & other career progress routes for school leavers
The NHS Apprenticeship programme for biomedical science takes place over a 4-year period, during which you will spend part of your time completing academic study at an accredited university (typically equivalent to 1 day’s study per week), and part of your time getting work experience in some of the different disciplines of biomedical science (for instance Clinical Microbiology or Immunology).

Once you complete the apprenticeship programme, you will be eligible for the NHS STP programme, which is a salaried fixed-term contract covering a three-year period. After registering on the STP you will need to complete the Institute of Biomedical Sciences (IBMS) Diploma in Biomedical Science and Diploma of Specialist Practice. There are opportunities for further study in both an academic context as well as training programmes provided by the NHS.

Once you have qualified, careers in the NHS are quite structured. You will have the opportunity to climb up the different pay bands through displaying your technical skills and knowledge, as well as practical experience. It is possible to specialise in particular medical disciplines (e.g. Endocrinology), or to transition to a Clinical Research role.
Tips for getting into the field
Arrange a meeting with your careers advisor to discuss your interest in becoming a biomedical scientist. You may also want to consider trying to arrange a placement as a laboratory assistant through your local FE College.

Biomedical science roles are recruited by individual NHS hospital trusts, find local NHS hospital trusts to you and check their careers pages for information about Apprenticeship schemes they may offer.

Even if your FE College doesn’t have links with a particular NHS hospital trust, you should approach a local hospital diagnostic/medical laboratory to arrange a visit and to get a feel for the sort of work and working environment you will be involved in.
What do Biomedical engineering professionals get paid?
Salaries in the NHS are based on set pay bands, which are reassessed on an annual basis:

Beginning your apprenticeship training programme you will earn £15,000, which can increase to £22,000 as you gain more experience during the training programme.

Once you qualify your salary will be in the range of £22,000 to £28,750 (Band 5).

Progressing to Band 6, you can earn between £26,500 to £35,600 (Band 6).

In Band 7/8a, you will be a Senior Biomedical Scientist, earning between £31,600 to £48,500.

Consultant Biomedical Scientists can earn significantly more.
What qualifications do I need for a career in Biomedical engineering?
A-levels x3 – BBB, including Biology; or BTEC Extended Diploma

120 UCAS Tariff points from three A-levels or equivalent qualifications including an A-level grade B equivalent in Biology and GCSEs - English and maths minimum grade C/4.
Read more about the Biomedical engineering industry
Biomedical engineering industry bodies

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