submitted by the PEI BioAlliance
The PEI bioscience cluster is growing at a rate that outpaces any other industry in the province. The recently launched PEI BioAlliance Strategic Plan outlines goals to continue this growth, including increasing bioscience sector employment, driven by private enterprise, to 3,000 persons by 2025.
Within the last year, the cluster grew by just over 353 employees. The following are the percentage of categories of jobs that have been advertised during that time:
- 50 percent Production
- 20 percent Scientist/Research
- 15 percent Quality Assurance/Quality Control
- 15 percent Business Administration
The demand for production roles grew from 40 percent to 50 percent of total advertised jobs within the past three years. High demand is fully expected to continue for production roles.
Examples of production job titles
- Process Engineer/Steward/Technician
- Production Technician
- Extraction Technician
- Packaging Associate
- Aquaculture Technician
- Maintenance Technician
- Warehouse/Shipping Technician/Associate
To meet the growing demand for talent, there is a critical need for more skills, training, and infrastructure. The Canadian Alliance for Skills and Training in Life Sciences (CASTL) is delivering on this economic demand by providing world-class training that will result in a rich talent pool of individuals who are work-ready and prepared to enter, thrive, and meet the needs of the Canadian bioscience industry.
Funded by Future Skills Centre, ACOA and the Government of Prince Edward Island, CASTL programming will provide technical skills training for those new to the sector as well as those already employed in the sector who are looking to enhance their competencies.
Earlier this year, CASTL, in partnership with Holland College, launched a 12-week reskilling program to train individuals to move into entry-level roles in PEI’s bioscience sector. Two cohorts of participants have already completed the program, benefiting from theoretical and hands-on learning, on-the-job training at bioscience companies, and opportunities for employment within the sector.
Examples of scientist/research roles
- Analytical Chemist
- Research Scientist
- Research Associate/Technician
- Lab Technician
- Quality Assurance/Quality Control roles: QC Chemist, QC Technician/Technologist, QA Associate/Coordinator/Technician.
Business administration roles
- HR Manager/Associate/Coordinator
- Business Analyst
- Accounting Manager/Technician
- Sales/Business Development Representative
- Marketing Manager/Associate or Operations Manager.
Recruitment efforts for a growing sector
To continue recruitment efforts, the PEI BioAlliance is expanding the bioscience network through career fairs, outreach activities, and one-on-one meetings with job seekers, with interested applicants reaching out almost daily. These new contacts are added to a career news mailing list and their resumés to the BioAlliance online resumé library, which is regularly shared with employers.
Retention is good. The BioAlliance has access to national salary and benefits information to ensure the PEI bioscience cluster is competitive. Bioscience companies on PEI have been working hard at building great work cultures and HR practices, with one local company being recently named as among the top employers in Canada, and two are top Atlantic employers.
Rural-based bioscience companies have implemented creative HR strategies to attract and retain employees. Companies have been hiring more HR professionals. Through bioscience cluster HR working groups/virtual huddles, companies have the opportunity to share best practices, and this collaboration is helping to build better broader HR practices, which supports retention.
Additionally, recently CASTL announced that they have signed a commercial agreement with Ireland’s National Institute for Bioprocessing Research & Training (NIBRT) to be the exclusive provider of NIBRT licensed training programs in Canada. This means that Canadian bioprocessing companies and partner academic institutions can access world-class bioprocessing curriculum and hands-on training to upskill their employees and educate future sector employees.
Introducing youth to bioscience
This summer, CASTL collaborated with STEAM PEI (science, technology, engineering, art and math) to organize province-wide bioscience camps for kids ages 7 to 12.
This year, the PEI BioAlliance also made presentations to university classes, which were virtual this past year, and will be collaborating with CASTL and STEAM PEI to promote more opportunities and programs to highlight bioscience educational pathways and careers to youth.
How to find out more about career options in bioscience
Job seekers are encouraged to review available job opportunities at www.peibioalliance.com/job-postings
For specific questions about bioscience career opportunities, job seekers can request a meeting with Vivian Beer, Manager, HR Strategy.