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Earlier this year, the Wilson Review highlighted a new scheme, kite-marking for degree programmes, as a system of industry recognition that would highlight to students potential employability provided by degree level programmes and bring employers closer to curriculum development.

Over the past year the Society of Biology has been in discussion with the Sector Skills Council, Cogent, and Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) to feed into the development of the kite-marking scheme.
The Plan for Growth Implementation Update announced yesterday that "Where professional accreditation exists, Sector Skills Councils will not now be expected to facilitate the kite-marking of individual courses, but to work with professional bodies on accreditation. Where there is no professional accreditation, SSCs are leading further work to establish the best way forward.”

Dr Mark Downs, chief executive of the Society of Biology, commented: “We welcome this decision, particularly the opportunity to work with the Sector Skills Councils to define the specific role of the kite-mark. All parties will be seeking to engage with employers in order to develop a kite-marking scheme that provides the greatest benefit to the sector.

“The Society will be looking into the most appropriate way to integrate this with the Degree Accreditation Programme which highlights degrees that equip students with the knowledge and skills to excel in life science research.

“It is vital to bridge the skills gap between study and employment in the life sciences sector; this is one of the key aims of the Degree Accreditation Programme. We look forward to working closely with the Sector Skills Council in the future to take actions to further reduce the skills gap.”

After completing a successful pilot, the Degree Accreditation Programme received significant funding from the UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES) in order to expand to all areas of the biosciences and across the UK. The Accreditation Programme was developed to address the skills gaps highlighted by the bioscience industry in the UK. More information about the Degree Accreditation Programme can be found here.