In part three of our five-part series on BioTalent Canada’s leading edge training courses, we spoke with the people at the Immigrant Employment Council of British Columbia (IEC-BC) about their experiences with the program.
When BioTalent Canada was in the testing phases of its Essential Skills Fundamentals and Technical Skills Fundamentals courses, it was important to get as much stakeholder feedback as possible. This led to BioTalent Canada approaching one of its valued partners, IEC-BC.
IEC-BC is a non-profit organization that connects employers to immigrant talent. One of their programs, Facilitating Access to Skilled Talent (FAST), offers a comprehensive set of online tools and resources to help skilled immigrants become better prepared for work in Canada and connect employers with Internationally Educated Professionals (IEP). The majority of FAST clients come from India, Nigeria and the Philippines. BioTalent Canada felt IEC-BC could offer an interesting perspective in that IEPs represent an important audience for BioTalent Canada.
In addition, BioTalent Canada’s new training courses were a perfect addition to the suite of tools that IEC-BC offers.
“FAST has an online competency assessment tool that can help individuals get a better sense of where their skills and competencies are with regards to Canadian standards,” says Iona Santos-Fresnoza, FAST Program Lead at IEC-BC. “We tested the BioTalent Canada training courses from a user perspective, because our participants are people with experience and skills in the biotech industry from overseas.”
How do internationally acquired skills translate to Canada
One of the key pieces of information IEPs are interested in understanding is how the skills they’ve acquired in their own country compare to the skills required in Canada for the same role. Employers sometimes share a similar curiosity.
“Our FAST participants are some of the most brilliant people; they have master’s degrees, PhDs.,” says Farizan Razie, Coordinator at IEC-BC. “Some of them have 10 to 20 years of experience. But this experience doesn’t always translate well to a Canadian context, and that is where BioTalent Canada’s programs and FAST come in.”
Ideally, these specialized training courses alleviate any concerns an employer may have in that regard. Once completed, individuals get a certificate that designates them as BioReady™. That distinction carries a lot of weight and helps bridge the gap between immigrant and employer.
“The BioReady designation helps employers recognize the competencies that newcomers are able to demonstrate,” explains Santos-Fresnoza. “And it has worked for participants. We have clients who’ve said that getting the BioReady certificate was actually a crucial piece in their getting hired.”
These courses were designed with the goal of better preparing talent to contribute to the workplace right away. They help shorten the time it takes to onboard a new employee or get existing employees that extra bit of know-how.
Helping improve workplace diversity
But another important value proposition is helping immigrants get hired. There is no downside to creating a diverse and inclusive workplace. Especially in Canada, a country with a population that consists of 21.9% immigrants (according to StatsCan 2016 census data). Immigrants can bring a lot to a company and knowledgeable employers understand that employing immigrants that bring global industry perspectives makes good business sense.
And as more and more of IEC-BC’s clients complete the courses and enter the Canadian workforce, more employers will see the true value that IEPs can bring to an organization. It’s this shared goal that makes the partnership between BioTalent Canada and IEC-BC a strong and fruitful one.
“It’s really valuable to have the addition of the BioReady designation and the essential and technical fundamental skills,” explains Santos-Fresnoza. “To be able to offer that to our clients I think is really significant in terms of the holistic approach that we want to put forward. We want employers to see how many talented individuals are here and using these tools and help make those connections to employment happen quicker and more efficiently.”
Santos-Fresnoza goes on to share that FAST participants are showing great interest in the BioTalent Canada courses. They complete the modules right away in order to access the BioReady designation or the online courses.
Please contact Joanne Jordan to learn more about how to access the Essential Skills Fundaments and Technical Skills Fundamentals courses.
Funded in part by the Government of Canada’s Adult Learning, Literacy and Essential Skills Program.