Spotlight on Jens Dekeyser, Project Manager

Jens has worked for Scitech for 8.5 years. He joined as a Project Engineer before being promoted to Project Manager. He forms part of a small, yet highly specialised, team that form Scitech’s European arm of the business.

“Scitech Antwerp differs to the services provided by many consultants. We support the client as a team, and not just as an individual. We take on complex projects and divide the work between our multidisciplinary team according to who has the right expertise for the task in hand. It is the responsibility of the Project Manager to align between this internal and external team.”

Jens has enjoyed this approach, as it has given him the opportunity to take on more roles and gain further expertise than is typical at other organisations. “It has helped me to gain insight and learn from some of the more experienced members of our team – many of whom have 20-30 years experience,” he explains. “ We also work collaboratively with experts from our UK offices via the various digital collaborative working tools we have.”

Jens admits that it was a “big leap” to progress from Project Engineer to Project Manager. It was a large increase in responsibility that could prove daunting, but it was something that he took in his stride.

“It was a steep learning curve but the projects I have worked on have been really interesting. For example, we had a project to set up five new secondary packaging lines at a facility in the Netherlands, I have managed several laboratory renovations and overseen factory acceptance tests for clients”.

Jens’ work with Scitech has seen him travel to many different countries across Europe and also in the US. “Our consultancy work means that we regularly make on-site visits and have face-to-face meetings with clients and suppliers. For certain projects, we have to perform detailed site investigation surveys or perform factory acceptance tests, which is always nice to step away from usual office based activities.”

As a father to two young children, it is important for Jens to have a good work/life balance. “I wouldn’t want to be constantly away on overnight trips now,” he explains. “Luckily, we have a really good culture and everyone is understanding of people’s outside responsibilities – this is a real benefit. We all support each other and work together to get the job done.”

Jens has also benefited from Scitech’s career development programme which ensures that each member of staff has a dedicated training budget and a career progression plan. “There’s always opportunities for training; I try to do at least one official accreditation a year and there are opportunities to do shorter courses and training certificates.”

Jens has recently been certified as an Associate from the Project Management Institute – a training course he says he was encouraged to undertake by his line manager. He is also looking to gain formal qualifications in Business Economy.

“Everyone at Scitech is encouraged to gain new skills and to stay up to date with the latest best practice within their field. It not only benefits us as individuals, it is a huge benefit to our clients and ensures we can deliver the first class work that Scitech is known for.”

Major milestone for Scitech growth as new Manchester Hub opens

We are delighted to announce the opening of our new Manchester office which will form a hub in the North to continue to provide consultancy, design, engineering, construction and validation services to pharmaceutical, life sciences and advanced technology companies.

This exciting development marks a significant growth in Scitech’s success and demonstrates our commitment to providing the highest quality of service and support to our clients in the North of England and Scotland.

The new office will allow us to expand to support the growing number of companies operating within pharmaceutical, life science, high value manufacturing, research, emerging technologies and highly regulated industries.

The opening of the Manchester office is a major milestone in the growth of the company and an indication of our commitment to providing the best possible service to our customers.

Dave Grant, Managing Director, said: “We are excited to be expanding our business base into the North of England and Scotland. We are confident that our new office in Manchester will allow us to extend the high level of service, reliability and expertise to which our clients are accustomed. It’s great to be investing in new talent, growing our local delivery team.”

See our services section to learn more about the services we offer.

Scitech donates computer equipment to Sri Lankan schools

Ray Charlton, a founding member of the Scitech team, recently visited Sri Lanka to volunteer for the charity Child Action Lanka, taking several laptops, headphones and mobile phones donated by Scitech.

Ray, who retired from Scitech in 2020, pledged to volunteer with the charity after hearing how many children across the country are deprived of education and suffer from poverty.

Ray explains: “The poverty experienced in Sri Lanka is a result of many factors; including the recent war and the financial crises which has been exasperated by lack of tourists (due to terrorist bombing in 2019 and Covid). Sri Lanka is a very class-based society and the lowest/ poorest suffer the most. There is no welfare safety net.”

Child Action Lanka (CAL) is focused on ensuring that vulnerable children everywhere have a chance of a better future. They try to ensure their basic nutritional and health needs are met, and that their primary and higher educational requirements are supported. CAL provides support to mothers and families who have suffered domestic violence and abuse, believes in the empowerment of girls and women, and funds the work of its staff supported by volunteers.

Children use the computer equipment donated by Scitech

“All children over 5 years of age attend state schools but teaching stops at 1pm,” explains Ray. “Wealthy families often pay for addition tuition, which poor families are unable to access. CAL supports these poor families by providing a lunch and additional lessons in mother tongue (Sinhalese or Tamil), English, Maths and basic computing.”

Ray, along with five other volunteers, travelled to the capital city Columbo to meet with charity staff and hand over the donated equipment. During his trip, Ray travelled to several of the charity’s education centres across the country to teach computer skills to children.

Ray with some of the children he supported while volunteering

Ray said: “When Scitech heard I was going to work with CAL in Sri Lanka they offered me several laptops, headphones and mobile phones, which have been put into immediate use. The laptops were needed to equip their pupils with IT skills and maximise their chances of employment when they leave at 18 years old.

“Together with a friend, we taught the children how to use MS PowerPoint to create a one-page CV and some children gave a presentation to the class, something they had never done before. We then took this format to the other centres we visited. The children we worked with were so keen and enthusiastic to learn; it was a delight. The experience of the trip has been wonderful; in seeing what can be done with the vision and energy to make a change and a positive difference to the lives of children”

Simon Howard, Business Infrastructure Director, said: “We were delighted to be able to support Ray and the fantastic work that Child Action Lanka is doing to improve the lives of disadvantaged children. We always look for opportunities to recycle any of our computer equipment when it needs to be upgraded and this was certainly a good opportunity to do so while also getting insight into the difference that such a small gesture on our part could make.”

To support Ray visit his Just Giving page – Ray Charlton is fundraising for The Epiphany Trust (

Read more about Ray’s trip.

Celebrating women at Scitech this International Women’s Day

Today (8 March) is International Women’s Day, a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. We would like to mark the occasion by celebrating and recognising the achievements of our female colleagues and pledging to continue to support women within Scitech and the wider life sciences and engineering sectors.

We are committed to increasing equality and diversity at all levels across the organisation and have introduced family friendly practices to retain our female talent and support them so that they can fulfil their potential.

We are proud to have five women already in leadership positions. Our Design and Engineering Director is a woman and two of our engineering teams are led by female managers. We also have two female colleagues in other leadership positions. A total of 7 of our female managers are undertaking leadership and management development this year.

We provide further support through our successful Women at Scitech group – a support network specifically for our female colleagues designed to ensure their unique needs are met and their voices are heard.

Our focus is not just on our female colleagues, but also on making a positive impact on the wider sector by encouraging the next generation of women into STEM careers. We regularly attend career days at schools, colleges, and universities to talk to students about the many possible career possibilities there are and the opportunities we have at Scitech. Our female engineers regularly support this, providing a visible role model as female engineers.

We know there is more to do in order to achieve equity for women within the sector and we will continue striving to make a positive difference because it is only by working together that we will truly #EmbraceEquity.

Spotlight on Biva Mathias, Senior Mechanical Building Services Engineer

“When I was at school, engineering wasn’t really talked about and if it was, it was in relation to car mechanics. It wasn’t a career that any of my peers or teachers discussed and so it wasn’t really on my radar,” explains Biva. “I had a love of design and wanted to be an architect. However, at university I became interested in building services engineering and the environmental design and sustainability elements.”

During a summer placement before her last year at university, Biva gained greater insight into the various disciplines involved in the construction industry. “My placement was invaluable, not only as it led to an offer of employment following my final year, but in giving me experience of what the workplace was really like. There is a big leap from what you are taught at university to what the reality of the workplace.”

Biva’s early career saw her travel the world as a building services engineer, with many projects across the Middle East. However, after a decade providing design and engineering services for new education and hospital facilities, she found herself looking for new challenges.“

After several years, you find that this work can begin to become repetitive. The designs are often very similar and so, although each project would come with its own idiosyncrasies, I found I was no longer being challenged.”

It is at this point that Biva began looking at other sectors that could provide greater challenges, which led to her role at Scitech. “The pharmaceutical and life sciences industry provides much more opportunity to specialise and to problem solve on individual projects.

The clients that we work with are using such high-tech, cutting edge equipment and require such stringent control so our designs require greater technical consideration. I also love the fact that because Scitech is a design and build company, I get to see each project through to completion. I have been with Scitech for three years and in that time have enjoyed visits to our varied projects at client sites across the UK.”

Biva admits that she found the increased regulatory requirements daunting at first, but she threw herself in at the deep end and was reassured by the knowledge that she had a supportive team on hand to offer advice. “I think the best way to learn is just to put yourself in there and ask questions so that’s what I
did. I have never been the type of person to want to be spoon fed; I find I learn much faster if I am seeking out the answers for myself.

“I feel very lucky, as Scitech has such a supportive culture and everyone works really well together. There is a great rapport across the various teams.”

It wasn’t until Biva entered the world of work that she realised how few women held technical roles within the design and construction industry.

“There is a lot more emphasis now on encouraging women into STEM roles. I didn’t really give it much thought when making my career choices and have been lucky that I haven’t felt any disadvantage. I suppose, subconsciously, I may try to prove myself more when I’m in a predominantly male team. I am lucky that there are several females on the senior management team at Scitech, including the Building Services Engineering Team lead, so I feel I have a good support network. Scitech also has a ‘Women at Scitech’ group which unites all of the female staff to discuss how we can make improvements for women at the company and how we can influence the wider sector, which is fantastic. I really hope we can
help to encourage more women into the sector.”

  • Visit our careers pages to find out more about working at Scitech.

Employee-owned: what does it mean?

As an employee-owned (EO) business, all our colleagues have a stake in our future. We don’t have external shareholders; instead our colleagues are stakeholders who each benefit from a distribution of our company profits.

Why did Scitech choose to become employee-owned?

In 2012, we became a 100% employee-owned company. This ensures that we will always retain the values that are so important to us and, as we grow, it is our customers and employees that continue to benefit.

What benefits does this bring to Scitech employees?

As well as benefiting financially from the distribution of profits they receive, research shows that members of employee-owned businesses are more engaged, more fulfilled, and less stressed.

As an EO we are self-governing which means we can be flexible and make business decisions quickly that can benefit customers and colleagues. , This enabled us to bring forward a part payment of the 2022 profit distribution to our colleagues to assist with the cost of living crisis. This is in addition to several health and wellbeing initiatives we continue to develop for our mutual benefit.

How does Scitech’s employee-owned status benefit its clients?

At Scitech, our reputation is built on talented people who deliver on our promises to our clients. We take great care and pride in every aspect of our work with everyone contributing as part of a team. As employee owners, colleagues feel more motivated, and driven to succeed to deliver for our customers.

These benefits are also reflected in research which shows that employee-owned companies have demonstrated they can achieve higher productivity, greater levels of innovation and are more resilient to economic turbulence.