Belgium, it is no longer a secret, has recognized competence in the medical and biotechnological fields. This growing ecosystem is therefore constantly looking for specific profiles to help it grow. But here it is: some positions remain vacant for lack of qualified candidates.
It is with this in mind that Biowin announces the launch of Urgence Talents, “a new initiative aimed at addressing the challenges posed by recruitment in the biotechnology and medtech industry in Belgium. For the first time, public and private actors are joining forces to address the specific and urgent needs of companies looking to recruit talent in the biotechnology and health”indicates in a press release the Walloon health center.
A study that leaves no room for doubt
The creation of this plan follows a study carried out in 2019 and 2020 on the needs of companies in these sectors. “The results of the study show the scarcity of very different profiles at different levels of education (masters and highly qualified or specialized degrees) in large, medium and small companies. The most sought after specific profiles include scientists, project managers, engineers, technicians production, operators and developers”add project managers. “2,400 full-time equivalent jobs (FTE) would be needed to meet hiring needs in the biopharmaceutical and medical technology sector for the period 2020-2023. After the Covid-19 crisis and its aftermath, 800 FTEs are still needed per year .”
There’s no time to waste then. The triennial project launched on Wednesday will focus on three areas: developing a talent recruitment strategy and increasing the available talent pool, centralizing industry recruitment and training requests and developing solutions (in partnership with companies, operators and network), and, finally, increase synergies between continuing education actors to stimulate and strengthen collaboration.
“With the Urgence Talents project, we are laying the groundwork for the launch of the EU Biotechnology Campus scheduled for 2025. Through these two ambitious initiatives, I am convinced that the sector will be able to face the challenges of detecting the right skills and enriching them.” from a talent pool”said Philippe Denoël, Chairman of the Board of Directors of BioWin.
A first cooperation between private and public actors
The project also has the merit of having brought together the vital forces available, the initiative mixing private actors (with market-leading companies such as GSK, UCB, Univercells, ThermoFisher, Takeda and Janssen) and public (through the support of the Walloon government).
“Our ambition is to collaborate at national and European level to find short-term solutions to the talent shortage in the life sciences industry. This sector needs strategic impetus to support innovative healthcare companies in Wallonia and the economic growth of Wallonia. Region hiring and training the best specialists in their field”commented Willy Borsus, Minister of Economy, Research and Innovation.
The consortium will also collaborate with Forem, the Walloon Public Employment and Vocational Training Service, the “Walloon Competence for the Future” initiative, regional training operators and the EU Biotechnology Campus.
Awaiting the arrival of the Biotechnology Campus in 2025
Still aiming to centralize vital forces, the EU Biotech Campus (EBC) should open its doors in Gosselies by 2025. “This is a new campus that brings together in one place a multi-operator, multi-partner and business accelerator professional training center dedicated to the development of talents, skills and professions in the biotechnology and healthcare industry”explains Biowin. “The campus will provide state-of-the-art infrastructure and services to students and job seekers, academics, spin-offs, start-ups, scale-ups and multinationals.”
Behind this project are Didier Malherbe, president of BCI-Pharma and vice president of the Union Wallonne des Entreprises (UWE), and bio.be/essenscia, the federation representing the biotechnology and life sciences industry in Belgium. “The aim is to create state-of-the-art infrastructure, attract the best Belgian and foreign experts and provide adequate infrastructure, so that a wide range of partners can offer their services.”