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Coming soon: ViTalent, Flanders’ new pharma training center

As the demand for highly trained talent in Flanders’ flourishing pharma and biotech industry is growing, sector federation essenscia and various partner organizations have decided to build a new dedicated training center by the end of 2021. ViTalent will be the first of its kind in Flanders and will be situated in the Niel science park near Antwerp. There, around 1,500 m² of new practice-oriented infrastructure will house, among other things, a clean room and training zones with specialized equipment and packaging lines.

Pharma lab

Developing highly trained talent

“The pharmaceutical industry has been doing very well in Flanders for years,” explains Frank Beckx, CEO of essenscia. “There are a lot of large investments going on – and as a result, the demand for well-trained employees is on the rise. However, the specific working conditions in pharmaceutical environments – which involve clean rooms, special clothing and stringent requirements regarding hygiene and punctuality – demands a great deal of adaptability from new employees.”  

“That’s why,” Beckx continues, “at the request of all different sector players and stakeholders – both employers and trade unions –, we conducted a feasibility study for the development of a sector-specific training center. Supported by the Co-valent fund, this state-of-the-art training center – called ViTalent – will optimally prepare existing and new employees to ensure that they can keep up with the influx of new technologies in the sector. We will focus our training offer primarily on technical profiles for operational functions in lab, production and packaging environments.”  

Job simulator

“ViTalent will be a true-to-life job simulator that enables aspiring pharma employees to get a realistic taste of what it means to work in pharma,” Beckx adds. “People who are already active in the sector will also be able to benefit from ViTalent’s offering. After all, pharma innovation is advancing really fast – and this requires constant training in order for employees to keep up.”  

The training center focuses on three main target groups. Firstly, companies will be able to rely on ViTalent to train their existing and new employees. Secondly, ViTalent will be working with Flanders’ public employment service to train jobseekers. Finally, students from secondary schools, universities and universities colleges will also be able to get acquainted with pharmaceutical jobs in practice.”

Various initiators

On the initiative of social partners and with the support of sectoral and joint training fund Co-Valent, a feasibility study and business plan have been drawn up for ViTalent in 2017. This happened in close collaboration with sector leaders Janssen Pharmaceutica, MSD, Novartis, Pfizer and Sanofi.

More info

Reported by
Planet Future website:
4 May 2020

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