Federal Youth Employment Project Places 125 Graduates in New Biotech Jobs

OTTAWA, Dec. 16, 2013 /CNW/ - BioTalent Canada announced today that due to the high demand for skills in Canada's bio-economy, they have successfully placed over 125 young people in new biotech jobs. This influx of new talent and fresh minds is thanks in part to the federal Career Focus program, funded by the Youth Employment Strategy (YES) of Employment and Social Development Canada.

Career Focus subsidizes the salaries of new graduates, aged 15-30 who obtain new jobs in Canadian Biotechnology companies. Several months ago, the federal government awarded BioTalent Canada $1.5Million for the program for 2013-2014. Due to the popularity of the program and the high demand for skills in the sector, 100% of the funds have already been committed.

"This is by far our most successful program and we have never seen higher demand for it," said Rob Henderson, President & CEO of BioTalent Canada. "Our 2013 Labour Market Research indicates the greatest business challenges for biotech firms are raising capital and obtaining skilled labour. The federal government, through the Career Focus program, is addressing both those needs in a way to which the Bio-economy has strongly responded."

BioTalent Canada's 2013 Labour Market Study "Sequencing the Data" indicates 80% of the companies in Canada's bio-economy have less than 50 employees and 50% of the companies have less than 10 employees.  "These companies have little to no HR departments, and many have indicated they have vacant positions because they lack the skills and capital to fill them," said Rob Henderson.

"The Career Focus program has allowed us to hire 3 individuals," said Derek Glennie, VP Engineering of Spartan Bioscience, an Ottawa Biotech company focused on DNA testing. "We've brought on key talent to help us in our final push to get FDA clearance for our new DNA testing platform. As a start-up company, every penny counts and these types of initiatives really help."

The 2013-2014 Career Focus program has allowed BioTalent Canada to place 125 young people in new jobs in biotech firms across Canada. This is done through a system whereby employer contributions to salaries are matched dollar for dollar to a maximum of $20,000 for initial placements for up to one year.

"Canadian pharmaceutical companies depend upon talented and skilled researchers to continue developing new and better medicines and vaccines," said Russell Williams, President of Rx&D, Canada's Research-Based Pharmaceutical Companies. "Programs like Career Focus provide a welcomed solution for companies requiring additional capital to foster their scientific innovation."

BioTalent Canada has been participating in the Career Focus program since before 2006. BioTalent Canada's success in starting over 390 young people in new biotech careers since 2005 led to a mention in the 2013 Federal Budget.

About Career Focus
The Career Focus Program is a wage subsidy program for bio-economy employers to hire the talent they need and for recent graduates to gain the work experience they require - by subsidizing the salary of a recent graduate. For more information on how this program has impacted Canada's bio-economy visit www.biotalent.ca/success. For the full Spartan BioScience interview visit http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U0Qq4YVZ0z8.

Funded in part by the Government of Canada's Youth Career Focus Program.

About BioTalent Canada:
BioTalent Canada is the HR partner of Canada's bio-economy. As an HR expert and national non-profit organization, BioTalent Canada focuses on building partnerships and skills for Canada's bio-economy to ensure the industry has access to job-ready people. Through projects, research and product development BioTalent Canada connects employers with job seekers, delivers human resource information and skills development tools so the industry can focus on strengthening Canada's biotech business. For more information please visit www.biotalent.ca.

Image with caption: "Derek Glennie, VP Engineering Spartan BioScience, Career Focus Wage Subsidy Program Employer. (CNW Group/BioTalent Canada)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20131216_C4519_PHOTO_EN_34962.jpg

SOURCE: BioTalent Canada

For further information:

Siobhan Williams
Director, Marketing and Communications
BioTalent Canada
613-235-1402 ext. 229
siobhanw@biotalent.ca

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