Bespoke Web Based Learning

IT Sligo is committed to providing courses relevant to the needs of industry. We have a proud history of collaborating with local, national and international employers in the design and delivery of work based learning (WBL) programmes.

WBL programmes are bespoke courses designed in conjunction with an employer or group of employers for their employees. Assessments are linked to making improvements in the workplace. These programmes are delivered at a time, place and pace that suits the employer.

To find out more about WBL programmes, please contact Niall McEvoy


MSD, Brinny, Co. Cork – Online Bespoke Programmes

From 2011 up to the present time IT Sligo, in partnership with the National Institute for Bioprocessing Research and Training (NIBRT), have offered a range of online, work-based learning programmes in Biopharmaceutical Science to MSD staff at their Biopharma processing facility at Brinny, Co. Cork.

In the intervening timeframe some 60 members of MSD staff have undertaken the study of these online, work-based programmes that are designed, developed and delivered by a team of experts from both IT Sligo and NIBRT. The programmes being offered vary from entry-level 6 ‘Higher Certificate’ right up to ‘Masters’ level 9 to cater for individuals with minor or more advanced educational qualifications and progression requirements.

Fergal O’ Donovan, Tech Ops Director at MSD Brinny with Ian Nelligan, Training Director, NIBRT and Kieran Tobin, Online Programme Manager, IT Sligo.

Fergal O’ Donovan, Tech Ops Director at MSD Brinny with Ian Nelligan, Training Director, NIBRT and Kieran Tobin, Online Programme Manager, IT Sligo.

The Bio-Sterile Leader (EMEA) at MSD, Mr. Fergal O’Donovan, has benefited from the online bespoke offerings both as an employer as well as a student. Fergal completed the flagship online level 9 ‘MSc. in Biopharmaceutical Science’ in 2013. Fergal believes that continuous education, personnel development and upskilling are key enablers to success in today’s competitive environment.

“Finding the time for professional development and further education is hard but the programmes that NIBRT and IT Sligo offer are of excellent value and greatly facilitate the balance between ongoing education and the demands of the work place. From personal experience, I can say that the IT Sligo / NIBRT distant learning programmes are flexible, value add and industry friendly”

Fergal O’Donovan, MSD


GSK Global Corp. – Online Bespoke Programmes

Third-level colleges are working more closely all the time with industry to provide graduates with specific skills. Upskilling existing employees in areas of need gives the employees a chance to develop their skills while in employment.

One example of such a collaboration is the level 7 ‘BSc. in Pharmaceutical Science’ degree programme offered to GSK (GlaxoSmithKline) employees worldwide through IT Sligo. The two-year course,which is delivered online, has two modules covering areas where GSK are struggling to find suitably skilled people. Hence the need for this employee development initiative. Given that GSK manufactures skin products at its facility in Sligo, there is demand for workers skilled in colloidal science and pharmaceutical manufacturing.

Dr. Russell Macpherson, director of new product introduction and product technology at GSK, says colloidal science was the particular area they found it difficult to find skilled workers.

It’s an area that maybe doesn’t get a lot of focus in scientific education. The science that gets used in a chemistry degree or scientific degree touches on colloids or emulsions, but what doesn’t really get built on is how that science translates into industry,” he says.

GSK wants its employees not only to manufacture the products but also to understand the science behind the product itself and the manufacturing process.

When we are launching new products, we work very closely across the company, so our research and development people and the manufacturing site all need to know the science of the product and process” says Dr Macpherson.

The course, which is offered to GSK employees and is fully funded by the company, has been running since 2013. It has been available to employees in Ireland and Britain, and is now being opened up to GSK employees around the world. Workers study outside working hours. Paid study leave is also funded by the company in the run-up to exams.

Dr Macpherson explains one of the benefits of the work-study relationship is that, from the first day, the students are able to bring back the theory from the course and use it in the workplace.

“You are not waiting for someone to finish a two or three-year degree programme and then come and work for you. You are actually getting them as they are, on the journey, and that is of huge benefit to us as the employer. For companies that realise they have to invest in their staff both for the company’s needs but also to retain the better talent, online learning is a very flexible medium. It doesn’t impact on their work performance. A lot of their study is done in the person’s own time, very effectively.”

Dr. Russell Macpherson, GSK