Australian Biopharma Company Upskill Online


An 11-hour time difference has proved to be ‘no worries’ for a group of staff at Australia’s leading biopharmaceutical company CSL Limited, who have been conferred with a Certificate in Biopharmaceutical Science which they studied online through IT Sligo.

CSL Student Group Conferring 

Ten staff at CSL’s Melbourne facility received their awards at an event on December 20,  which featured video messages from the President of IT Sligo and the Technical and Training Director of the National Institute for Bioprocessing Research and Training (NIBRT), who works in partnership with IT Sligo in delivering educational training programmes. The Certificate Programme in Biopharmaceutical Science was specifically designed to meet the needs of CSL and 11 more staff from CSL are now following in the footsteps of their colleagues and learning online.


IT Sligo is the national leader in the delivery of online learning and, while many individuals who are based overseas have undertaken their programmes online over the last 10 years, this is the first conferral by the Institute of a group of internationally-based students through its educational training programmes.


Programme Manager at the Institute’s Centre for Online Learning, Kieran Tobin, says the link up with CSL demonstrates the international appeal of the Institute’s offerings; “We work with NIBRT in the provision of bespoke educational training solutions across the biopharmaceutical sector in Ireland but this is our first significant move into the international educational training market,” he said. “The success of the programme highlights how internationally transferrable our programmes are and we are keen to build on that potential.”


Dr. Ian Nelligan from NIBRT said; “The establishment of transferrable industry qualifications is a primary area of concern for firms and regulators as the biopharmaceutical industry up skills and cross skills staff to transfer to the biopharmaceutical industry. NIBRT and IT Sligo have  jointly developed a range of biopharmaceutical retraining courses that have now become the standard for the industry in Ireland, which is one the major biopharmaceutical exporting hubs in the world.”


Tim Hughes, Senior Director Biotech Manufacturing at CSL said: “The knowledge our graduates gained from the Certificate in Science in Biopharmaceutical Processing (Level 8) course shows in their improved ability to work in the multi-disciplinary work groups that are common in bioprocessing. Despite the substantial geographical distance and time zone differences between Ireland and Australia, we were pleased with the results delivered by IT Sligo’s distance learning program.”


Student Profile


New Zealander Ursula Macaskill has worked at CSL’s Melbourne facility for three years. She works as a Manufacturing Associate in its new Biotechnology Manufacturing Facility, which is the first of its kind in Australia and is entirely based on single-use technology.

Studying online helped her to  juggle studying with work; “I found online learning to be convenient and flexible. I could listen to the lectures when I wanted to and if I missed something I could always rewind and listen again,” she said. “Given the time difference between Australia and Ireland it wasn’t feasible to listen to the lectures live, however most of my lecturers offered real-time tutorials which were brilliant.”

The Certificate in Biopharmaceutical Science gave her a good understanding of how the industry operates, she said; “Coming from a purely academic research background into this industry I knew the bare minimum about topics such as Validation, Quality Systems and Regulatory Affairs,” she said. “By increasing my understanding of the industry, I’ve been better able to orientate myself within my role which will help with future career development. I think the course has accelerated my professional knowledge and development by at least 18 months.”


To learn more about online learning at IT Sligo contact the Centre for Online Learning at CSL_LogoTM_RGB