Biological Sciences

Building solid foundations for the next generation

Staff from the SynthSys Centre for Synthetic and Systems Biology and the School of Biological Sciences hosted two Foundation Apprentices during the summer.

Ally and Nicole visited the Edinburgh Genome Foundry, hosted by Scott Neilson (centre)
Ally and Nicole visited the Edinburgh Genome Foundry, hosted by Scott Neilson (centre)

Foundation Apprenticeships are a relatively new scheme that provide senior school students an opportunity to carry out some workplace learning in more vocational subjects.

During June, Ally and Nicole were hosted by the labs of Professor Lynne Regan and the School’s Biological Teaching Laboratories respectively. 

Here Dr Louise Holyoake, a postdoctoral researcher in Lynne’s lab, tells us more.

“Ally came to work in our lab group for three weeks in June as part of her foundation apprenticeship at Fife College.

The time taken to show Ally how to do tasks was rewarding as she quickly learnt how to do these tasks with minimal input from myself.

During her stay, Ally made media and protein gels for our lab group and I quickly learnt to trust the care that she put into her work.

The apprenticeship (which was from Monday to Thursday during school hours) provided Ally a good opportunity to chat to other lab members and understand the different roles that members play within the group.

She had opportunities to see the type of problem solving that can come up day to day and shared her thoughts on how to approach these.

We discussed how instructive it was to see the skills she had learnt in classes at College used in our lab."


A Foundation Apprenticeship placement gives the opportunity for someone who has so far been in full time education to gain some work experience. This helps students with choosing their future career paths as well as making them more employable.

Taking on a Foundation Apprentice should not be taken lightly as they do require full time supervision and a well-planned programme of work. I would however highly recommend it and the Regan lab will definitely be taking on another student next year.

Dr Louise HolyoakePostdoctoral researcher, Professor Lynne Regan's Lab

Related Links

Foundation Apprenticeships