Learning the basics required to train as a technologist

June 25th 2019

For several months now, training centre ULB-HeLSci has been offering an online training module dedicated to reactivating knowledge in biology. Its goal is to enable more job seekers to join the centre’s professional (re)integration programmes.

Each year, 24 job seekers from the Charleroi area attend a training programme(1) at ULB-HeLSci in order to become lab technologists. ‘There is a shortage of workers in this area’, explains Christelle De Beys, head of training programmes for job seekers at ULB-HeLSci. ‘Biotech companies are always looking for these profiles. Since 2010, in collaboration with FOREM Hainaut, our specialised programmes have trained nearly 200 job seekers. They go on to easily find jobs as lab technologists: the programme’s placement rate is 90%.’

Applicant selection

As these training programmes require basic biomedical knowledge, job seekers who are interested in enrolling first sit a written test and an interview. This ensures that the programme is attended by those who will benefit from it the most. But today’s job seekers do not have the same profile as those from five years ago!

An increasingly diverse audience

Life sciences are experiencing strong growth, and job seekers who have completed 3 years of post-secondary studies are quickly ‘absorbed’ by the labour market. Now, new profiles are entering the fields of biotech and health. ‘The applicants we accept in our programmes include people who have only completed secondary school, or who have academic degrees in other branches of these fields. For instance, physical therapists, assistant pharmacists, nurses, etc.’ Participants who are looking to reorient their careers.

A refresher module

These people may very well be highly motivated, but sometimes they simply do not have the knowledge required to pass the admission exam. After creating a module dedicated to maths applied to the preparation of solutions(2), ULB-HeLSci has recently launched a new refresher module for biology, called Mémo-BIO. ‘The new module offers some 4 hours’ worth of resources (videos, interactive images, quizzes, etc.) and many exercises’, explains Erika Baus, head of science at ULB-HeLSci. ‘Its purpose is to teach participants knowledge that will improve their chances of passing the written test. This will enable job seekers with diverse profiles to train as technologists.’

Soon in Brussels

More recently, technologists have also been in high demand in Brussels. ‘Starting next year, in partnership with Bruxelles-Formation, we will offer a training programme for future biotechnologists that is tailored to the realities of Brussels’ labour market’, announces Christelle De Beys. ‘Brussels’ biotech companies place more focus on service and quality, and the content of our “BIOQUALI” programme will be designed around their specific needs.’?Classes will be held on ULB’s Erasme campus, in Anderlecht.

(1) The programme is 3 months long and followed by a 2-month work placement.
(2) This is not ULB-HeLSci’s first online ‘refresher’ module. ‘The Solution for Your Solutions’ already enabled participants to practise dilution calculations.