CASTL Elevate graduate story: A blessing in disguise - Ehis' story

CASTL Elevate graduate story: A blessing in disguise - Ehis' story

The past year has brought a world of change into Ehis Otubor’s life: He got married. He relocated nearly 8,000 kilometres. He changed careers. It’s been a time of joy, excitement, uncertainty, and challenge. And all things considered, it’s worked out wonderfully. 

Ehis’s decision to come to Canada was largely the result of his wife’s academic pursuits at the University of Prince Edward Island, where she is enrolled in the MBA program. However, despite having a successful IT career in his native Nigeria and other parts of the world, he found opportunities on PEI hard to come by. After completing a short-term contract and with no new options on the horizon, he knew he would have to broaden the scope, as well as the category, of his search.

Ehis stumbled upon the Elevate program – CASTL’s national 6- week training initiative aimed at advancing Canada’s biomanufacturing sector through comprehensive training - while researching opportunities online. Although Ehis’ education and experience was in computer science, he was intrigued and applied to the program. 

Elevate is powered by Upskill Canada, and is part of the first wave of partnership programs that are taking an industry-informed approach to supporting workers in Canada’s fast-growing biomanufacturing sector. Support from Upskill Canada will allow CASTL to train up to 400 new biomanufacturing workers with the in-demand technical and essential skills training for careers in this innovative sector.

“I submitted my resume, interviewed, and that was that. I knew it was going to be a challenging transition, but I jumped at the opportunity.”

And yes, switching from IT to biotechnology presented a fairly steep learning curve. But Ehis was not to be outdone. He gave it his all, putting in the hours not just with the prescribed course work, but also with his own extracurricular studies to strengthen his knowledge and confidence in the biosciences field. Furthermore, the Elevate instructors went above and beyond to support him.

“They made it easy. John and Hardik [CASTL trainers] checked in with me regularly to make sure I knew what I was doing, that I understood the training material, and that I was making progress. They were really helpful.”
In addition to technical instruction, the Elevate team includes experts who supported Ehis in the “soft skills” that are essential in any competitive job market.

“Jenny and Shelley [from NineBox HR] were really great,” he says. “They helped me compose my resumé, encouraged me to pursue job opportunities, and coached me in preparing for interviews.” 
The hard work paid off.

“It was really an amazing journey. In the space of just two weeks of completing the program, I had a job offer. Two months after that, I got a promotion.”

Ehis currently works on the production floor at Island Abbey Nutritionals, which produces natural health and specialty food dietary supplements for international markets. He enjoys the work and is eager to continue his learning and education to advance his career in the sector.

“The shift from IT to biotechnology has really been a blessing for me. CASTL and the Elevate program are doing great things, helping to fill the talent gap for the sector while also giving individuals a direct path to interesting and stable employment. The training and support they offer ensure people stand out with potential employers.”
In sharing his experience, Ehis hopes to encourage others to look into Elevate and the bioscience sector. 
“Anyone considering the Elevate program shouldn’t think twice. Grab the opportunity with both hands. It offers invaluable training, connections, and support."

So while the last year may have been one of tremendous change, it’s also been one of tremendous success.
“PEI has been good for me. It’s provided a nurturing environment for my studies as well as personal and professional development opportunities. I extend many thanks to everyone at CASTL for helping me get to where I am today.” 

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This article is part of a series that celebrates some of the many success stories that have emerged from Elevate, CASTL’s national biomanufacturing training program. Designed for young workers, new Canadians, and others seeking out career opportunities in Canada’s biosciences sector, Elevate teaches the technical skills needed to fill entry-level positions in this fast-growing industry. 

Applications to the Elevate program are open, apply here to take part in one of our upcoming cohorts.

The program is made possible through funding from Upskill Canada, powered by Palette Skills, and the Government of Canada.

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