The VCCC Alliance is delighted to have been awarded the ARCS 2022 Innovation Award (Organisation) for the SKILLED Clinical Trials Internship Program. The award acknowledges an organisation which showed creativity, resolve and resilience to solve what seemed like intractable issues in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.
The program - delivered in conjunction with the Parkville Cancer Clinical Trials Unit - is now into its fourth year and was deliberately designed to address the shortage of skilled clinical trials professionals in Victoria, a major limiting factor in the expansion of clinical trial activity and ultimately patient access to trials. The program addresses this need in two ways:
- it builds the capacity of the Victorian clinical trial sector with a specific focus on regional clinical trial units, and
- it creates a pathway for scientists to enter the clinical trials workforce.
Structured for success
Science graduates complete a supervised 40-week competency-based training program on-site at a metropolitan or regional clinical trial unit, where they develop their knowledge, experience and skillset to be job-ready by the completion of the internship.
Interns are divided into two streams – Study Coordinators or Clinical Trial Assistants – and they employ high-level research skills to identify and implement process improvement projects, as well as create efficiencies within their assigned clinical trial unit.
By the end of 2022, 77 job-ready interns will have graduated from SKILLED, and current data suggests more than 86% of these interns will gain employment within the clinical trials sector. In 2021, 20 out of 21 interns were employed into the sector. These figures represent a real boost to the existing workforce gap.
SKILLED Program Manager Chris Packer said the award was another testament to the success of the program.
“SKILLED was created to address a gap in the clinical trials workforce in Victoria, and each year we see more job-ready interns gain employment in the sector,” she said.
“The feedback we receive from both interns and sites is overwhelmingly positive and that’s evident through our Net Promoter Scores, where we rate from ‘Excellent’ to ‘World-class’, so we know the program is structured to achieve that goal of ultimately delivering more trials to more Victorians.”
VCCC Alliance Head of Education Michelle Barrett emphasised the importance of the program’s success given the workforce shortage on national stage.
"To be recognised as innovators by an organisation like ARCS is a really proud moment for the VCCC Alliance, and it’s reinforced the need and opportunity for us to continue to grow SKILLED and expand beyond Victoria to bring the benefits of clinical trials to more communities."
"A huge shout out to Marian Leischke, Manager of the Parkville Cancer Clinical Trials Unit, who first developed this concept and was a driving force in getting it off the ground."
The VCCC Alliance would like to thank our program supporters and sponsors for their ongoing contributions: MTPConnect, the Victorian Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions, the Victorian Department of Health and Bristol Myers Squibb.