Life and Health Sciences – engaging with employers

CCEA has responded to the needs of the growing Life and Health Sciences sector in Northern Ireland by introducing a unique and innovative A level in Life and Health Sciences, for first teaching from September 2016. The sector, comprising of 130 companies and employing approximately 23,000 people, generates around £800m in sales per annum, accounting for approximately 25% of Northern Ireland’s economic output.

The new qualification is a response to the findings of a key report by the Northern Ireland Science Industry Panel. The Matrix report on Life & Health Sciences in Northern Ireland (2015) identified that the vast and expanding Life & Health Sciences sector requires a highly skilled scientific workforce for projected future job growth. CCEA has responded to the needs of the sector and its current recruitment shortfall by working collaboratively with key employers to design a very relevant and engaging qualification.

The new qualification has been developed in consultation with the major companies such as Almac, Norbrook and Intelesens and will give students an opportunity to develop critical skills demanded by a growing industry.

Students studying the course will cover various science disciplines, developing a range of transferable skills including investigative and research skills, evaluation, statistical analysis, critical thinking and interdisciplinary team working. Career paths include analytical chemistry, industrial pharmaceuticals, nursing, radiography and biomedical science.

This new industry-driven course complements the existing suite of CCEA qualifications. It demonstrates a clear progression pathway from Key Stage 3, developing skills and capabilities. The provision of this course also represents an excellent opportunity for teachers to deliver a fresh, innovative and industry relevant qualification. The qualification can be offered as a Single or Double Award applied qualification.

For more information on A level Life and Health Sciences contact Gavin Gray at

You can read more about this qualification in an interview with Gavin in the latest edition of the Vision magazine – out now.

Vision Magazine - Edition 2 Issue 2 - Spring 2016

Note to Editors

Media enquiries to MarComms, Mobile 07718 424 373, Email