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New Salary Support for Biotech SME's

(July 28, 2003, Ottawa, ON) - Vitesse Re-SkillingTM Canada Inc. is pleased to announce a new initiative in conjunction with the Vitesse Biotechnology Re-Skilling program for Internationally-Trained Professionals (VBP-ITP). The program, known as the Vitesse Human Resource Assistance Program (V-HRAP), provides salary support for companies that provide a 3-4 month work placement to VBP-ITP students. The Ottawa Life Sciences Council (OLSC) is actively supporting the program by providing logistical support. The VBP-ITP has been developed with the funding support of the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities, Access to Professions and Trades. The V-HRAP is made possible through a contribution made by the National Research Council Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC-IRAP).

The VBP-ITP is an extremely competitive program, and the students selected to the VBP are carefully screened against stringent criteria to ensure a high standard and to maintain the quality of the program. More specifically, students accepted into the program undergo individualized, university-credit training and can compete for industry work placements. Upon successful completion of the program the students receive a joint certificate with Vitesse and a participating Canadian university.

"Vitesse fills a vital role in our education market, " says Ken Lawless, President and CEO of the OLSC, "bringing career-oriented professionals, educators, and industry partners together and collaboratively shaping individualized training solutions. The result is a highly targeted source of 're-tooled' professionals who mix new and existing skills for the knowledge-based economy. In this program, Vitesse is targeting critical needs in the biotechnology industry by leveraging an international pool of quality professionals."

"Under-utilization and under-employment of immigrants is well researched and documented. The 1996 Canadian census shows that immigrants to Canada, despite many of them being highly qualified, suffer from a significant earnings deficit of approximately $15 billion compared to Canadian-born and trained workers. The Vitesse program helps bridge the gap by addressing issues of foreign academic credentials, English language skills and deficits in understanding Canadian workplace culture, " explains Taras Hollyer, Program Manger of Biotechnology and Life Sciences at Vitesse.

Companies select students prior to their entry into the program. Together with the student and an academic advisor, courses are selected in a way that does not repeat a student's prior learning. Furthermore, companies are able to guide the student's course selection to ensure a match with work placement skill requirements, significantly enhancing the ability of a VBP-ITP student to contribute to a company's success.

"The NRC-IRAP contribution to the V-HRAP wage program is a clear signal of the importance of programs such as ours, and the involvement of NRC-IRAP strengthens its role as a key resource in moving the Canadian biotechnology sector forward," adds Taras Hollyer. "The support of the OLSC has also been a key factor in the success of many Ottawa-based initiatives, and having them involved further enhances our program's visibility and quality."

"It can often be difficult for a small firm in any business, much less biotech, to find the people it needs with the right blend of skills and knowledge", adds Dr. Tony Rahilly, Regional Director for NRC-IRAP in Ontario. "By working with immigrants to bring their skills in line with industry needs, Vitesse helps make an underutilized resource -- the knowledge and skills of immigrants -- available to our biotech small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs)."

"Using the Vitesse approach, everyone wins," says Arvind Chhatbar, President and CEO of Vitesse. "The company gets exactly the person it wants and the student receives industry-specific re-skilling TM in addition to university-credit courses and a Canadian credential. Vitesse's objectives are to rapidly integrate new immigrants into the Canadian Industry."

Vitesse is an independent, not-for-profit organization, created by the National Research Council (NRC), University of Ottawa and Carleton University. Since 1996, Vitesse has re-skilled TM over 300 scientists and engineers into software engineering, photonics, biophotonics, DNA technology, bioinformatics, and microelectronics fields. The success of the Vitesse model lies in its ability to bring career-oriented professionals, educators and industry partners together and collaboratively shape cost-effective training solutions.

The first intake of V-HRAP is scheduled for September 2003, with students available for work placements in January 2004.

For more information, please visit Vitesse's website at www.vitesse.ca or contact:

Taras Hollyer
Program Manager of Biotechnology & Life Sciences Programs
Vitesse Re-SkillingTM Canada Inc.
t. (613) 746.3595 ext. 224