BioPharma initiative to train Saudi graduates for pharma sector jobs

Program will provide internships where they will gain hands-on experience

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In line with Vision 2030 and the National Transformation Plan, Research-based Pharmaceutical Companies (RPC), in conjunction with the Saudi Food & Drug Authority (SFDA), SAGIA, the Ministry of Health (MOH), the Ministry of Labor and Social Development, and pharmacy colleges inaugurated the BioPharma Academy initiative on Oct. 31.

The program will train Saudi pharmacy students and recent graduates in the practical workings of the healthcare field, building a broad talent base prepared to meet the needs of the healthcare market.

The inauguration of the BioPharma Academy program was attended by a number of government officials as well as General Managers of RPC member companies. The US Embassy in Riyadh and the US Chamber of Commerce were also present at the event.

Speaking on behalf of SAGIA, Prince Saud Bin Khalid Al-Faisal Acting Governor of SAGIA (Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority), said: “Foreign investment in the Saudi pharmaceutical sector reflects recognition by international companies of the huge potential in the Saudi pharmaceutical market, especially in view of the young and rapidly growing population, as well as the Kingdom’s strategic location as a hub for exports. We are pleased that the Research-based Pharmaceutical Companies are training Saudi nationals and we welcome the BioPharma Academy as a major contributor to building capacities and developing the pharmaceutical sector in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.”

Rami Fayed, Chairman of the RPC and the General Manager of AbbVie in Saudi Arabia, said: “The launch of the BioPharma Academy program is strongly aligned with the Saudi Vision 2030. It focuses on the health care sector as one of the main pillars in the national economy and emphasizes the importance of investing in training and developing Saudi youth. Today, the launch of the BioPharma Academy program aims to raise the bar of the pharmaceuticals sector, as well as support the government’s continuous efforts to achieve the highest quality of healthcare in the Kingdom.”

Fayed further said: “The BioPharma Academy program was launched to fulfill unmet market needs and to synchronize training programs among the RPC companies in order to ensure that students receive more than just academic training if they are seeking employment in the pharmaceutical sector.”

The program focuses on four pillars: Soft Skills Training; Internship Programs, Summer Training and Scholarship Programs, all designed to educate the students on what they can expect and what they should know about the operations and needs of the pharmaceutical and healthcare fields.

The Soft Skills Program focuses on the needs of the individual who seeks to enter the job market. Sponsored by the RPC companies themselves, students will be provided customized instruction on presentation, negotiation and communication skills as well as CV-writing and job interview skills and techniques.

The Internship Program will provide pharmacy and business pre-grads with internships at a specified company where they will shadow specific positions and gain valuable hands-on experience. Students completing this program will receive a Certificate of Completion, which will prove valuable once they begin their job search.

Summer Training involves six weeks at an RPC company. The unified curriculum will concentrate on training in various therapeutic areas, field visits, soft skills workshops and shadowing different positions at an RPC member company. This valuable experience will be a requisite for graduation from pharmacy colleges.

Finally, the Scholarship Program – where students who receive government-sponsored scholarships to study in foreign universities will be interviewed by a RPC member company prior to embarking on their studies. Select candidates will be guaranteed employment upon the successful completions of their studies abroad and their return to the Kingdom. This will guarantee that vital positions in the health care industry be filled with competent individuals.

This report was first published in Saudi Gazette on November 2, 2016

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