If Time is Money, You’d Better Get Going
Laleh Bighash, the COO and Dean of Scientific Affairs at AAPS – the Academy of Applied Pharmaceutical Science – is straightforward with her opinion. “When you first enter Canada, you should look for a job in your field. But if you don’t get an interview in 5 or 6 months, it’s unlikely that all of a sudden you’re going to get a job. You need to do something! That doesn’t mean you have to come to AAPS but you need to look at your education and training and figure out how to retrain yourself and get yourself oriented for the Canadian market. AAPS might be your best solution. For others, a public college or a university bridging program may be the ideal route.
“If you’re a Chemical Engineer, going for a Master’s degree or Phd is an option, but a post-graduate degree might narrow your employment options even further by making you overqualified. And if your savings are running out, or you have family, the cost and time required to go back to school for two to four years may not work for you.
“But if you sit around – and I’ve seen this many, many times – if you start doing a survival job, and get used to the money, you set up your lifestyle based on that income…and then you can’t do without the money. You’re trapped!”
So Why Should You Come to AAPS?
Canadian employers need to see you taking steps to upgrade yourself and to understand the Canadian working environment.
The pharmaceutical and the food industries need people who understand chemistry and chemical analysis. AAPS will retrain you – not in engineering – but they will give you new tools to join either the pharmaceutical or food industry. They teach you the rules and regulations affecting those industries in Canada. They give you skills like testing, food safety, quality systems regulations, food or pharmaceutical processing and document creation. Jobs in the pharmaceutical field do not include retail pharmacist or pharmacy assistant jobs – it’s about working with manufacturers.
AAPS also works with packaging you by helping put your resume together and telling you what kinds of jobs you should apply for based on your education, work experience and what you get at AAPS. And then they help you send the resume out to various companies in those industries, get you connected and employed in the industry.
“We have about an 85% success rate in terms of helping students get into relevant jobs,” says Bighash. “Right now there is a lot of hiring in the pharmaceutical industry, so the past 2 terms we’ve had an almost 100% employment rate.”
“If you come to AAPS, you will end up in a pharmaceutical or food industry job – so you really have to have an interest. You will be using your knowledge and earning a better paycheque than people who take survival jobs. When companies come to us – and the do come to us for hiring – they’re usually thinking entry level. An entry level job with no experience usually pays from 35 to 45 thousand dollars a year. That’s a starting salary. If you prove yourself, demonstrate your skills and experience – you could quickly become a director, manager, supervisor…the sky is the limit.”
At What Cost?
“Most newcomers are worried about finances. On the surface, a public college seems cheaper than a private school like AAPS. But if you go with AAPS, you could be employed in eight to ten months, making 40 thousand a year. So instead of spending 5 thousand dollars for a second year at public college, you could be making money by then. So if time is money, you should really get that going.”
“AAPS is approved and accredited by the same Ministry that oversees the University of Toronto and Seneca College,” says Bighash. “So our students are eligible for OSAP – the Ontario Student Assistance Program that offers a combination of loans and grants. We’ll do all the application documentation. If you decide to pay for yourself rather than applying for OSAP, you can talk to us about payment plans. You can pay weekly, monthly, whatever works for you, as long as you clear their account by the time you’ve finished school.”
Outside the Classroom,/h3>
AAPS has free job search workshops for their students every other month. Attendance isn’t mandatory but it’s a good idea. Afterwards they’ll have a one-on-one consultation with you. And then – whenever you get an interview, they like to prepare you. Your success is their success. And AAPS is all about success.