MemoBIO, an effective refresher programme!

March 26th 2020

Candice Leblanc

Last year, ULB training centre HeLSci launched MemoBIO, a module intended to widen the pool of applicants eligible for lab technicians training programmes and, therefore, the pool of potential recruits for companies in this sector. Early results are promising!


The biotech industry is struggling to recruit enough lab technicians. And this is not for lack of training opportunities! The ULB HeLSci training centre is offering three relevant training programmes. Despite this, the pool of eligible applicants is shrinking. ‘We have gone from fifty candidates per session in 2012 to about 15 in 2018’, observes Christelle De Beys, in charge of training programmes for job seekers at ULB HeLSci.


Developing learners’ backgrounds

What’s more, some potential applicants—who might have made excellent technologists—do not have the educational background required to sit the training programmes’ selection exam. ’This is why we have launched MemoBIO in 2019', continues Christelle De Beys. 'This online resource module provides basic knowledge of chemistry and biology. It also includes exercises that will enable participants to (re)learn how to do dilution calculations.'


Positive results

This pilot experiment, initially offered as part of the BIOPOLY training programme, was successful. ‘Thanks to this module, a number of applicants were able to qualify for an interview, including dietitians, a speech therapist and even an accountant!’ says Christelle De Beys. ‘This gives us a larger pool from which we can select applicants that best fit each company’s values: qualities we value include willingness to learn, ability to commit to a long-term project, team spirit and so on.’


Applicant testimonials

Applicants who have used MemoBIO were also pleased with the results. ‘This module was really helpful’, says a participant. ‘I was able to refresh things I had forgotten due to lack of practice.’ ‘The programme is very well designed!’ says another. ‘The videos are lively and engaging. I especially liked the lesson on solutions, which helped me understand a topic I had struggled with during my studies.’


Companies open to atypical profiles

MemoBIO has thus enabled job seekers without qualifications, as well as people switching careers, to pass the test and, eventually, find a job! ‘A former accountant was hired immediately after the programme’, remembers Christelle De Beys. ’This is a sign that today’s biotech companies are willing to hire employees with less conventional backgrounds. Knowing this, we are currently working on enriching these modules and making them widely accessible. This should help us widen the pool of applicants for these positions with a shortage of labour.


In practice

Interested in training as a technologist with Job seekers from Wallonia must register with FOREM Formation (0800 939 47), and job seekers from Brussels must register with (0800 555 66).