‘Lifelong learning is the future!’

March 27th 2019

ULB HeLSci, the Université libre de Bruxelles’ continuing education centre, is celebrating its tenth anniversary this year. We have met with Arnaud Termonia, head of continuing education at ULB, to talk about the achievements and projects of a structure that has become a central part of the Biopark.

You created ULB’s continuing education centre in Health & Life Sciences (HeLSci) in 2009. What are your proudest accomplishments?
Arnaud Termonia: ‘Life sciences are an area in which technologies are developing at an especially rapid pace. Our courses were initially designed to help ULB researchers quickly acquire new technical skills, but very soon we fell victim to our own success, with people from outside the University wanting to sign up to our courses! We decided very early on to meet this new demand coming from researchers in other universities, industry experts, teachers in secondary schools and higher education, job seekers, etc.: today, we train 1,800 to 2,000 people each year.’

How has ULB HeLSci benefited from opening up to the ‘outside world’?
‘Casting a wider net ended up being a very positive experience, and it has helped us develop and diversify the training courses we offer. Being in contact with people with diverse backgrounds lets us keep up with the latest technologies and identify the actual needs of those working in the field. In fact, we develop our courses following an ecosystem model, in the biological sense of the word: this means an environment that fosters communication and collaboration between people who can have wildly different profiles. I would like to thank Michel Goldman, Nathalie Gobbe, and Bruno André for their invaluable assistance in launching our projects.’

What training programmes do you currently offer, and to whom?
‘Our course catalogue includes over 70 short training courses and 35 academic certificates. We also offer specific training programmes for job seekers. Our programmes are offered both in the Biopark and on the Erasme campus, in Brussels, and are designed for anyone who wishes to add to their initial training or professional experience in order to take on new challenges. Employers are now seeking out professionals who are willing and able to continue learning throughout their lives. I am certain this trend will gain momentum in the future.’

What are your current and future projects?

‘Our development is structured around five main activities:
  • Promote the socio-professional integration of job seekers.
  • Enhance academic knowledge on a variety of topics such as immunotherapy, biostatistics, biotechnologies, the burnout phenomenon, etc.
  • Innovate in teaching, including by continuing to develop digital learning.
  • Ensure wide and international visibility, in order to recruit and retain talents.
  • Expand our courses to patients.’