GHP November 2017 - Rejuvenation Dentistry

GHP / November 2017 5 NEWS , According to a re- port published by the Commons Science and Technology Com- mittee , 12.6 million adults lack basic digital skills while 5.8 million have never used the internet at all. This report, and the surrounding media and industry debate, echo our own long held view that digital literacy must be at the heart of the skills discussion - and that there must be a renewed focus on ensuring digital and tech- nology competency in order to maintain a competitive business environment. Keeping the health sector… healthy The UK has one of the strongest and most productive life sciences industries in the world, generat- ing turnover of over £30.4 billion per annum . The pharmaceuticals sector alone accounts for more UK-based business research and development than any other manufacturing sector, accounting for 20 per cent of all business re- search and development . And there is significant opportunity to be grasped, with global health and life science markets predicted to grow up to 10 per cent per annum in the next decade. But the fast pace of this industry’s development means that it’s at particular risk of skills problems - as training and development pro- vision struggles to keep up with progress in the sector. It is essential that the sector con- tinues to have access to a highly skilled manufacturing, research and development, and technical workforce in order to achieve its potential and maintain the UK’s position at the forefront of life sciences - so addressing the pro- ductivity and skills gap is vital. UK-based Intelligent Fin- gerprinting has signed a three-year deal with UK medical device manufac- turing specialist Europlaz to produce critical components for the innovative cartridge element of the revolutionary Intelligent Fingerprinting Drug Screening System. The Intelligent Fingerprinting system works by analysing fingerprint sweat on a single use collection cartridge. Sam- ple collection takes a few seconds and can then be used to screen for the four main drug groups – cocaine, opiates, cannabis and amphetamines – simul- taneously. The new fingerprint drug test – which has been fully trialled and is now available to order – has appli- cations across a variety of screening scenarios, including drug rehabilitation programmes, workplace applications, criminal justice and for use by coroners. The device’s performance is highly de- pendent on two specialised features, its anti-tamper sliding cover which pro- tects the fingerprint from contamination after collection and the sealed reagent release mechanism. Europlaz is a leading contract medical manufacturer specialising in the pro- duction of the highest quality plastic injection moulded components, sub-as- semblies and finished medical devices. The company has worked closely with Intelligent Fingerprinting on the man- ufacturing development of its small, ergonomically-designed and tam- per-proof single use cartridge for drug screening. Key elements addressed by Europlaz in the process include preci- sion moulding to create a ‘living hinge’ that supports the cartridge’s buffer clip, as well as a number of high quality fea- tures for the cartridge’s secure sliding cover. “Our ground-breaking technology de- pends on the highest standards of quality and accuracy, and Europlaz has already proved to be an essential part- ner in the design and development of our innovative, tamper-proof fingerprint collection cartridge,” commented Dr Jerry Walker, Intelligent Fingerprinting’s CEO. “Europlaz brings proven injection moulding skills and impressive clean room facilities to our partnership, and we now look forward to extending our relationship as we scale up our man- ufacturing following the full validation and commercial introduction of our fin- gerprint-based drug screening system.” “With our extensive clean room facilities and over 40 years’ experience in the highest quality precision plastic mould- ing, Europlaz has proved to be an im- portant partner in the development of the innovative Intelligent Fingerprinting Drug Screening System,” added Eddie O’Keefe, CEO at Europlaz. “Now that the Intelligent Fingerprinting system is available commercially, we’re moving on to the next stage of the project as we collectively scale up cartridge man- ufacturing to ensure we meet the price points needed for what will quickly be- come a globalised product.” Addressing the skills gap - the role of education The skills and knowledge that stu- dents have acquired by the time they graduate play an important role in their employability and ulti- mately their success. So it’s per- haps no surprise that addressing this skills gap starts in the class- room - and is absolutely hinged on the investment in, and adoption of, digital technologies at school. Modern learning technologies improve engagement and ena- ble better digital skills acquisition, and are vital for an increasingly computer-based global econo- my. Access to industry standard equipment and teachers who can instil enthusiasm for digital skills is critical to success. Key too are new initiatives like digital degree apprenticeships, which have a firm mandate to equip workers with the skills they need to work in a wide range of graduate-level tech and digital roles. Degree apprenticeships providing cyber security skills are particularly compelling in a climate where cyber attacks are prevalent. Having skilled candidates who can quickly tackle security threats - such as the recent attack on the NHS - is crucial to keeping the sector healthy. Industry collaboration It’s universally agreed that there is need for a joint effort between industry and academia to bridge the gap between employer expec- tations and graduates’ skills. Industry collaboration is crucial. It is in the best interests of employ- ers in industry to be party to a con- tinuous dialogue with educational establishments to build a regular, systematic approach of consulta- tion, action, and reflection. Greater cooperation between industry and academia will enable more effec- The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has long warned of a shrinking pool of skilled workers in the UK. Organisations fromall sectors believe there aren’t enough skilled candidates leaving education tomeet industry’s employment requirements, and that this dichotomy is growing in the face of digital disruption. tive approaches to be identified compared to the hands-off style that has been adopted by much of the industry at present. From guest lectures, to the provi- sion of industry standard technolo- gy in the classroom - to employers having a hand in curriculum devel- opment - a sustainable approach to reforming the way industry inter- acts with educators is required. Training and developmen t Of course, skills development doesn’t start and stop in educa- tion. Employers have a duty to provide on-going training and de- velopment to staff. Seeking ways to improve employ- ee engagement and productivity is a compelling on-going business strategy for achieving greater effi- ciency and helping boost growth - as well as fundamentally improv- ing patient care. Degree Appren- ticeships are a great way to do this and employers in the healthcare industry must think more about what makes staff tick and how they can get the most out of their employees. And, as well as specif- ic on the job training, more must be done to encourage a broad skill set which is useful in a morphing workplace. Joint responsibility for ultimate success So, the responsibility of address- ing the skills gap in healthcare is one that rests on all our shoulders. Schools, colleges, employers and universities, like The Open Uni- versity, all have a duty to ensure digital skills are prioritised, and that training is invested in. Only this universal focus will ensure the on-going success of this fast paced, crucial, industry. Contact Details David Willett, Corporate Director at The Open University