The federal government hopes to boost the job-readiness of post-secondary STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) students by rolling out a wage-subsidy program aimed at Canadian biotechnology companies.
The federally-funded Student Work-Integrated Learning Program will provide $6 million in wage subsidies over four years for 1,000 co-op placements for students to gain work experience in Canadian biotech companies, BioTalent Canada, an HR-focused national not-for-profit organization
The wage subsidy program will also include a curricula-enhancement component to better align biotechnology programs at post-secondary institutions with the needs of Canada’s bio-economy employers. The program is funded in part by the Government of Canada’s Student Work-Integrated Learning Program.
Dean Fulford, vice-president of human resources consulting for Stratford Managers Corporation, talks about the nationwide life sciences HR-focus survey his company is conducting with Biotechnology Focus and BioTalent Canada.
The Student Work-Integrated Learning Program is geared towards building students’ job-readiness to enable them to better integrate into Canada’s biotechnology sector and find meaningful employment upon graduation.
“Smaller biotech companies are often reluctant to invest in the training of students with no work experience,” says Rob Henderson, president, and CEO of BioTalent Canada. “Giving students the opportunity to get hands-on experience while finishing their studies will strengthen Canada’s bio-economy by bridging the gap between industry and academia.”
Canadian science graduates often struggle to find meaningful employment in the field of their choice. According to Statistics Canada, young university graduates in STEM across Canada face a 17 per cent unemployment rate. Conversely, 53 per cent of biotech firms in the country reported that they are grappling with a skills shortage, according to BioTalent Canada’s labour market study, Sequencing the Data.
BioTalent Canada connects employers and job seekers. The organization delivers human resource information and skills development tools to help strengthen the country’s biotech industry. Since 2013, BioTalent Canada has injected over $6.8 million into Canada’s bio-economy while helping 168 biotechnology companies hire over 550 new graduates through federally-funded programs.
Employers interested in accessing wage subsidies through the program are encouraged to call BioTalent Canada at 1-866-243-2472 or visit biotalent.ca/Co-opFunds.
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