CASTL Partners with Future Skills Center to Launch National Study on Biomanufacturing Skills and Training

In collaboration with the Center for Future Skills (CCF), the Canadian Alliance for Training and Skills Development in Life Sciences (CASTL) has launched a national biomanufacturing skills and training study. This initiative aims to gather critical labor market information and identify future training priorities specific to the Canadian biomanufacturing industry. Partnering with BioTalent Canada, the project, titled “Knowledge and Insights for Future Proofing Biomanufacturing Training,” will conduct a comprehensive national survey of the Canadian biomanufacturing sector. The findings will guide industry, educators, and policymakers in aligning resources, programs, and curricula to meet the future needs of the growing biomanufacturing sector in Canada.

As a leader in biomanufacturing training in Canada, CASTL is excited to launch this project, says Penny Walsh-McGuire, President and CEO of CASTL. “By gathering labor market intelligence on emerging trends specific to biomanufacturing, we will be better equipped to respond to industry needs and engage our training and education partners, as well as our network of stakeholders. This will ultimately support sector growth and capacity building through talent.”

CCF has played a pivotal role in establishing CASTL, first as a regional entity and now as a national organization focused on training and skills development in biomanufacturing. The six-month project, with funding of $249,500, will allow CASTL to collaborate with Canadian companies to identify labor market trends, emerging training priorities, and the introduction of new technologies and related skills. The research outcomes will serve as a foundation for future training programs, new partnership opportunities, and improved delivery models for CASTL and other industry stakeholders.

“The need for biomanufacturing in Canada has never been greater,” says Robert Henderson, President and CEO of BioTalent Canada. “To remain competitive in this growing sector, businesses will need to recruit and retain people with the specialized skills required to work in an ever-changing field. BioTalent Canada is proud to partner with CASTL on a project that will establish an evidence-based talent development blueprint to track evolving biomanufacturing needs.”

The project also includes a case study examining best practices in upskilling for new technologies in biomanufacturing. Using data from the national study, the case study will highlight best practices and the return on investment of personalized employer-sponsored training, as well as the methods CASTL employs to train a select group of workers for new processes in preparation for facility expansion.

The project will culminate in a national workshop on biomanufacturing, hosted as part of BIOTECanada’s BIONATION 2024 event in Ottawa. BIONATION is a unique federal policy-driven event that allows the Canadian biotechnology industry and government officials to explore the sector’s achievements, prospects, and the significant social and economic benefits of a strong national biotechnology ecosystem. The workshop will present research findings and case studies, providing a forum for exchanging and mobilizing knowledge, ideas, and recommendations to create a qualified, sustainable, and scalable workforce for the biomanufacturing sector in Canada.

“A strong and concerted commitment to long-term skills development is essential as we work to close the skills gaps in Canada,” says Noel Baldwin, Executive Director of CCF. “We are excited to continue our partnership with CASTL and BioTalent to help future and current Canadian biomanufacturing workers strengthen their technical skills. This project is crucial to ensuring that professional training in this growing and evolving sector remains relevant and future-proof.”

The “Knowledge and Insights for Future Proofing Biomanufacturing Training” project is funded by the Government of Canada through the Future Skills program.

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