National Apprenticeship Week 2019

National Apprenticeship Week 2019

To mark National Apprenticeship Week, we asked our talented Apprentice Laboratory Technicians, Joe and Karen, to share their experiences of the programme.


Joe Ball

I joined Leaf Expression Systems in August 2017 after finishing my A-levels in Maths, Further Maths and Physics. I chose this route instead of accepting my offer to study a degree in physics because I wanted to gain a recognised qualification and work experience at the same time. I also believe that learning about a topic and then putting that knowledge straight into practice is a great way to learn.

During my time at Leaf I have been taught a lot of theoretical and practical knowledge and techniques like: agroinfiltration, plate streaking, culture growing, protein purification, media/buffer/solution creation, and more. I have also learned a great deal about the safety precautions and training involved and how important safe operating procedures along with risk assessments are in this industry, especially when using expensive and potentially hazardous equipment (if untrained) such as: autoclaves, orbital shakers/incubators, heat stirrers, infiltrators. This is alongside the use of a vast range of chemicals, buffers, solutions and more.

This role has surpassed my expectations and I have learned so much more than I thought I would. It has also developed my skills in areas like team working, communication, planning and research, and self-management to name a few. Overall it has been massively positive experience and I would recommend this route.


Karen Annison

I left school with science GCSEs & A-Levels, I wanted to pursue a career in science, but I wasn’t interested in going to university, so I started looking for apprenticeships within the science field.  I spotted the advert for this apprenticeship which seemed like an opportunity to get a qualification through working as I prefer to learn through hands-on experience instead of working in a classroom.

In the 18 months that I’ve been an apprentice, I’ve learned more than I thought I would, and I’ve been able to put practical techniques that I learned at school into use working within this company. The key things that I have learned include writing SOPs and EHS documentation, as well as key transferable skills such as pipetting and microbiological techniques. I also sit on the EHS committee and I am a first aider within the company. I would like to carry on working in the science sector and progress up the career ladder and work through the different fields within                                                          the industry.




Leaf Expression Systems team presents work at ISPMF conference in Helsinki, Finland

On June 11th, our Process Development Manager Dr Nick Holton and Plant Research Scientist Dr Franziska Kellner travelled to Helsinki for the 3rd conference of the International Society for Plant Molecular Farming.

Dr Kellner gave a presentation on day one of the conference detailing our work on using our plant transient expression system, Hypertrans®, to deliver VLP vaccine products against Rift Valley Fever Virus that are both inexpensive to manufacture and capable of rapid surge production, as part of our grant from the SBRI and Department of Health entitled Development of Virus-Like Particles as vaccines against emerging viral diseases”.

Meanwhile, Dr Holton presented a poster (above) on our recent work around the plant based production of enzyme replacement therapies.