by Stella Shepard
In 2020, the PEI BioAlliance alongside founding partners in industry, academia, and government, launched the Canadian Alliance for Skills and Training in Life Sciences (CASTL) for learners to acquire the technical and professional skills and the theoretical knowledge to be work-ready in the bioscience sector.
The initiative is bringing together Acadia University, University of Prince Edward Island, Holland College, Université de Moncton, PEI BioAlliance, Natural Resource Council, BioTalent Canada, as well as numerous local and regional businesses to address the future skills needs of the life sciences sector.
“The bio-sector is where some of the world’s most complex problems are being addressed and solved, such as climate change, food security, and vaccine production,” says Christopher Gillis, Executive Director of CASTL.
In the fall of 2020, CASTL announced Financial Awards of $5,000 scholarships to 32 post-secondary students. This Financial Award program will support life sciences students enrolled in co-operative education from Acadia, Université de Moncton and UPEI, who will receive scholarships in their second and third years. “We will be issuing a fresh round of financial awards for the fall of 2021 and will provide information on these program and eligibility requirements soon,” says Christopher.
Marcus Gauthier is a second-year biology major at UPEI and one of the 32 recipients of a CASTL Financial Award.
“After graduation, I was inspired to pursue a career in pharmaceutical research. The Co-op program at UPEI has already opened so many doors for me through connections to members of the bioscience field and has prepared me to enter the workforce through workshops and one-on-one meetings. With the reduced stress of financials, it has allowed me to focus my attention directly in my studies.”
UPEI student Niloofar Seifihesar is also a Financial Award recipient. “Receiving the CASTL Financial Award brought me a great sense of accomplishment. The Co-op program has enabled me to gain many valuable experiences that will be useful for me at this moment, and helpful for my future career.”
For more information about Canadian Alliance for Skills and Training in Life Sciences (CASTL) visit https://peibioalliance.com/castl
For the CASTL video, visit www.youtube.com/watch?v=Odq-PCLEs4c&list=PLnEokp72WBQmmyKh-81CyvBziP43XVHtm&index=7