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Training in Life Sciences: Belgium, the place to be

On the occasion of the visit of His Majesty the King, aptaskil highlights the key role of training for employment in the chemical and life sciences sector.

130 training modules for production trades

The aptaskil competence center aims to meet the growing need for talent in the chemical and life sciences sector, and particularly in the biotech/biopharma industry. The center trains up to 4,300 people a year (jobseekers, workers and students) and offers no fewer than 130 apprenticeship modules in production trades, all taught by instructors from the industry! The results are impressive, with a professional integration rate of over 85%. This is good news, given that the number of jobs in the biotech and biopharma sector in Wallonia and Brussels has risen by almost 40% in 10 years, with nearly 5,000 additional jobs.

Improving the sourcing of talent for (bio)production jobs

The chemical and life sciences sector is one of the most attractive in terms of employment, with almost 33,000 jobs in Wallonia and Brussels by 2022. Growth is set to continue in the years ahead. Problem: the gap is widening between what the industry has to offer and the talents available. To meet this growing demand, aptaskil has invested 8 million euros to expand its facilities in Seneffe (Wallonia, Belgium). The competence center now boasts an additional 1,400 m² of infrastructure, including clean rooms and laboratories. In total, 3,750m² are dedicated to industrial training in the field of Chemistry and Life Sciences. This investment has also enabled the development of innovative, digital teaching approaches, which will now be used to train up to 6,000 people a year! The center will also open a new branch in Liège's LégiaPark in 2024.

Isabelle Legentil, Managing Director of aptaskil: "With the extension of its infrastructures in Seneffe and soon in Liège, the modularization of some of its training programs and the arrival of digitalization in both content and pedagogical form, aptaskil has resized its capacities to better meet the growing needs of the Walloon chemical and life sciences industry. The visit of His Majesty the King honors us and clearly highlights the importance of training for access to production jobs in the sector."

A total investment of €11 million

Funding for these 2 initiatives amounts to almost 11 million euros. The chemical and life sciences sector is contributing 4.9 million euros, thanks to a contribution from the sectoral training funds brought together within Co-Valent. The European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), in partnership with Le Forem, has invested 980,000 euros. The European Union and Wallonia are contributing 4.8 million euros as part of the European Recovery and Resilience Plan and the Wallonia Recovery Plan.

Operations and strategy: a complementary approach

In addition to the aptaskil Competence Center, Wallonia has another asset for training players in the life sciences industry and creating jobs: the European Biotech Campus. Located in Gosselies, in the heart of a cutting-edge biotech Biopark ecosystem, the EU Biotech Campus is a multi-operator training center with a business accelerator program. With this new campus due to open in 2025, Wallonia intends to ensure strong and sustainable growth for its now highly reputed biotech valley.

The EU Biotech Campus will provide Belgian and international academic and industrial players alike with state-of-the-art facilities to train students and professionals in the biotech/biopharma sector in essential digital and biomanufacturing skills. It will also have the mission to raise awareness among students by immersing them in the world of STEM, and to support scientific entrepreneurs in developing and consolidating their business skills during a mini-MBA.

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