Occupational Standards for Biotechnology
Biotechnology is a diverse, evolving industry which continually needs knowledgeable and skilled workers to advance scientific and technological development, support national economic growth, and improve the quality of life. The sector’s research component requires scientists, technicians, engineers and researchers with expertise in areas such as bioinformatics, biofuels, clinical data research and animal care. For commercialization purposes, experienced professionals in regulatory affairs, quality assurance, contract manufacturing project management, plant management and other departments are in demand by the sector. This fusion of science and business in bio-economy expects from its workforce a special combination of technical and entrepreneurial skills.
The Competency Group has worked with the sector council, BioTalent Canada, on projects involving the development of competency profiles and Essential Skills profiles, and occupational language analyses for critical occupations in bio-economy. Our team produced competency profile scopes and descriptions for 10 occupations: Chief Executive Officer, Regulatory Affairs Specialist, Intellectual Property Officer, Vice President of Manufacturing, Clinical Research Data Specialist, Contract Manufacturing Project Manager, Bioinformatician, Animal Care Manager, Quality Assurance Manager, and Biofuels Plant Manager. We validated these competency profiles with industry experts across the nation. These profiles were made available to the industry to help improve workforce recruitment, management and retention. (Download summaries of these competency profiles on the BioTalent Canada website.) A related project entailed the comparative evaluation of transferable skills between medical and biotechnology occupations to expand the industry’s base of potential job candidates.
Our team completed a gap analysis of skills required in the key occupations by Canadian biotechnology companies. The gap analysis used the validated National Occupational Standards as benchmarks for comparison with the skills being addressed in relevant Canadian university and college programs. The findings are intended to bridge the training gaps and match the skills requirements for biotechnology occupations.
We also analyzed documents to generate a list of potential language uses and tasks specific to 22 occupations within the bio-economy. We conducted primary research to validate the specific tasks performed by the practitioners of each occupation. The findings were compiled into a language assessment overview document.
Through The Competency Group’s development of competency profiles and occupational language analyses for vital occupations in bio-economy, BioTalent Canada has achieved the following goals:
- Established competency profiles that are industry-defined and relevant to its unique needs;
- Identified sets of skills and competencies that are transferable from related occupations and industries; and
- Released comprehensive skills profiles and skills checklists in key bio-economy occupations. These online documents provide the full set of skills and competencies that could be required for each occupation and the tasks associated with the functions. These tools are available for the benefit of employers, prospective employees, educators and students. They can be used for skills development planning, developing appropriate curricula for educational and training programs, professional advancement, career transition, resume building and other purposes.