By Whig-Standard  |

BioTalent Canada today released new findings from its most recent bio-economy Labour Market Information (LMI) study. The data in this new brief—The Talent Differential: The case for work-integrated learning in the bio-economy —was collected from a series of three facilitated roundtable discussions, a survey of 573 bio-economy employers in 2020, and an analysis of data from BioTalent Canada’s current wage subsidy programs.

The results indicate work-integrated learning (WIL) such as co-op, work placements, internships, and clinical placements that combine practical work experience with formal classroom learning are a key component of many Canadian post-secondary education models. The programs also offer a key source of talent recruitment for bio-economy employers.

“Students who take advantage of work-integrated learning opportunities have an easier time transitioning to the workforce,” says Rob Henderson, President and CEO of BioTalent Canada. “But this brief uncovers some challenges. While women account for the majority of WIL participants, they remain underrepresented in the workforce. And even though we know that WIL participants transition to the workforce more successfully, participation rates decline as education levels increase, this is troubling for such an effective solution,” he said.

The data presented in this research brief also raises questions about how Canadian bio-economy employers integrate WIL into their human resource strategies. These questions include:

  1. How can bio-economy employers be encouraged to collaborate with postsecondary institutions to further develop WIL opportunities?
  2. How can WIL opportunities be leveraged to provide women with more successful transitions to the Canadian bio-economy workforce?
  3. Because WIL participation decreases as students progress to higher levels of education, would it be beneficial to introduce more WIL opportunities at these advanced degree levels to address these noted skills gap?

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