Targeted wage subsidy programs offered by BioTalent Canada have given a significant boost to youth employment in Canada’s thriving bio-economy, even during the pandemic, evidence suggests. In surveys conducted recently, 85% of the young employees supported by these wage subsidy programs had acquired permanent jobs. By addressing skills shortages and giving employers short- and longer-term wage support, the programs have produced an array of success stories, including the innovation of a potentially lifesaving COVID-19 antigen test developed with support from a University of Guelph graduate.
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In its report, Growing the bio-economy – youth in focus, BioTalent Canada details the success of three of its wage subsidy programs. The report validates the effectiveness of the Career Starter Program, the Science Horizons Youth Internship Program and the Science and Technology Internship Program – Green Jobs and makes recommendations about continuing and strengthening components of each. The programs were designed to support employer efforts to hire youth facing barriers to employment, new graduates with little or no experience or new hires in the green economy. All three programs were hugely successful, filling to capacity as employers in Canada’s emerging "green" economy and industry subsectors such as bio-health, bio-energy, bio-industrial and bio-agriculture made efficient use of the subsidies. As 80.7% of companies in the bio-economy have fewer than 50 employees it was clear that wage subsidies had a unique appeal for smaller companies.
"Providing young people with the tools and opportunities they need to succeed in today’s dynamic and growing job market is a priority for our government. The Career Starter Wage Subsidy is an excellent example of how we are helping passionate young people jumpstart a career in Canada’s growing bio-economy. Canada’s prosperity depends on our young people reaching their full potential. When we set them up for success, all Canadians benefit."
– The Honourable Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion
"Youth are shaping Canada’s future with their enthusiasm and hard work. They’re looking for green jobs and internships – we’re providing them with the opportunities to help build our low-emissions energy future."
– The Honourable Seamus O’Regan Jr., Minister of Natural Resources
"We know that the COVID-19 pandemic is hurting young Canadians. That’s why it’s so great to see that 85 percent of youth supported by these federal programs have already landed full-time employment. Through Science Horizons and other programs, we will continue to support young Canadians with opportunities in the environmental field—helping to develop a more diverse workforce and a cleaner economy for future generations."
– The Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Environment and Climate Change
"BioTalent Canada has a mandate to develop and nurture the talent pipeline for the emerging bio-economy job market in Canada," says Rob Henderson, President and CEO of BioTalent Canada. "We are working to create a deep, qualified and diverse pool of next-generation talent to accelerate the growth and success of this dynamic sector."
Jasmine Sollen’s success is one story that stands out. With the help of a Career Starter wage subsidy, funded the Government of Canada’s Youth Employment and Skills Strategy program, she left the University of Guelph with the goal to continue working on an environmental monitoring polymerase chain reaction (PCR) solution she helped develop at the university. Once employed by Precision Biomonitoring, a bio-economy start-up in Guelph, she found herself pivoting to determine if the PCR solution could be used for antigen testing in a COVID-challenged world. Jasmine will be front and centre this month as Precision Biomonitoring proudly marks the commercial launch of this technology. Along the way, she earned a permanent job and the company grew from five to 35 employees. Eight of those positions were filled with the help of BioTalent Canada’s wage subsidy programs, five of them evolving into permanent, full-time jobs.
The Growing the bio-economy – youth in focus report is based on surveys of participants and employers, along with other demographic data, and concludes that employers and job seekers alike benefited from these subsidy programs. Impact stories imbedded in the report put the numbers in context and reflect personal accounts of how the arrival of skilled and energetic young innovators helped companies advance scientific pursuits and grow their businesses.
"The stories featured in this report highlight the real-life impact these programs make on businesses and young careers," explains Henderson. "They are evidence that Canada is home to some of the world’s best and brightest young minds. The future of Canada’s bio-economy will be in very capable hands."
To read the full report: biotalent.ca/youthreport
Funded in part by Employment and Social Development Canada, Natural Resources Canada and Environment and Climate Change Canada through the Youth Employment and Skills Strategy.
BioTalent Canada Youth Wage Subsidy Programs – In Brief
The Career Starter Program provided 50% of the youth’s salary to a maximum of $20,000 in wage subsidies for a three to nine-month placement. It facilitated the transition of barriered youth into the labour market and increased their knowledge of the sector’s needs through recent and practical work experience. 80 employers were engaged with Career Starter, resulting in 130 placements in 40 cities. 87% of participants hired permanently. biotalent.ca/careerstarter
The Science Horizons Youth Internship Program was a wage subsidy initiative to help recent graduates eligible to work in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) fields acquire work experience in jobs linked to the green economy. 83 participants worked in 39 cities between August 2019 and March 2021 and 81% were hired permanently as of March 31, 2020. biotalent.ca/sciencehorizons
Science and Technology Internship Program – Green Jobs was a wage subsidy program for STEM career placement opportunities in the natural resources sector linked to the green economy. The internship supported 75 placements in 42 cities and worked with 75 employers. 87%1 of participants hired permanently. biotalent.ca/greenjobs
About BioTalent Canada
BioTalent Canada is the catalyst for significant and sustainable growth in Canada’s bio-economy. We’re the HR partner of employers, associations, academia, immigrant-serving agencies and service providers in this rapidly evolving sector. Our success is deeply rooted in current, reliable labour market data that helps industry recruit, train and retain the best and brightest. Our dynamic programs remain aligned with government priorities and connect job-ready talent to industry.
Recently named one of the 50 Best Workplaces in Canada with 10-50 employees and awarded a Great Place to Work® Certification 2021, BioTalent Canada practices the same industry standards it recommends to its stakeholders. These distinctions were awarded to BioTalent Canada following a thorough and independent analysis conducted by Great Place to Work®.
For more information, please visit biotalent.ca.
1 Placement rate is for 2019 to 2020 program only.
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The Hillbrooke Group