Vocational Education and Training (commonly known as VET) in bioinformatics is sure to be a way for many young people to enter the job market and a good gateway to companies in the healthcare and life sciences sector looking to add junior technicians to their teams, not just PhDs.
Our sector is growing in Catalonia, as are the companies that are moving past the start-up phase to become professional organisations with multidisciplinary teams.
At Mind the Byte, established in 2011, we are a team of 10 professionals, mainly biotechnologists and bioinformatics engineers. This year, we’ve begun working with two VET centres: Escola Gimbernat in Sant Cugat del Vallès, where we are teaching classes as a training company, and Institut Provençana in Barcelona, which offers Dual Vocational Education and Training. Through this programme, we have had the opportunity to work with a second-year student doing work experience in our company as part of their training.
We are particularly interested in Dual Vocational Education and Training, as it combines in-company work experience with academic training. This is so important for our educational model! With this system, everyone wins: contact with companies allows training centres to offer programmes that are more in line with reality, companies cover their needs and students have the opportunity to gain quality practical experience that will make it easier for them to enter the job market.
The Dual VET programme is an educational model that gives future professionals better skills and boosts the competitiveness of Catalan companies. Nevertheless, we’ve read that the II Foro de la Alianza para la FP Dual was held recently by the Bertelsmann Foundation, in Spain, and one of their conclusions was that many of the spots available in companies go unclaimed due to a lack of candidates, which is surprising given the high unemployment rate among young people in the country.