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Co-op student Joanne Smith at ImmunoPrecise Antibodies

Training a new lab technician takes time. Lots of time. “It’s expensive to train new staff and a significant investment for us in time and staff work load,” says Teri Otto, General Lab Manager of ImmunoPrecise Antibodies.

Strategy to reduce expense

A previous graduate from the Camosun Applied Chemistry and Biotechnology program, Otto has a strategy to reduce the expense: “One of the things we like about taking on an intern from Camosun is that the student’s applied education really fast-tracks their training with us. It also gives both the student and our company an opportunity to check each other out and this can help save on recruiting costs for us.”

ImmunoPrecise Antibodies is a Victoria-based Life Science company that offers a wide range of antibody products and services. It’s considered one of the most technologically-advanced antibody companies in North America.

As a strong believer in the cooperative education process, the company’s staff is made up of several co-op and internship graduate students, having trained 21 students since 1997.

Camosun students ready to work

“Students that come to us from Camosun are ready to work. They’ve had their basic hands-on lab training in the program and come prepared with their notebook and lab coat. The program really prepares them to be trained in the real world,” says Teri Otto.

Co-op student Joanne Smith at ImmunoPrecise Antibodies

Students get work right away

Camosun’s two-year Applied Chemistry and Biotechnology program in molecular science and technology is designed to prepare graduates for employment as technologists in chemical, biochemical, microbiological and molecular biotechnology laboratories.

The work experience internship component in the program happens at the end of a student’s schooling so students can start working right away after graduation. Joanne Smith is a good example of how well the program works.

When Smith wanted to change career directions, she decided to enrol in the Camosun ACBT program with the hope of gaining employment in the biotech industry. While in the program she landed her internship at ImmunoPrecise Antibodies. Rather than transferring to university for more study, Smith got full-time employment with the company two days after her final exam.

“Our company doesn’t just need PhDs or Masters graduates. The Camosun diploma program provides valuable skills we need today,” says Otto.

Find out more

Learn more about co-op education and internships from Camosun College’s Co-op department website or email

Interested in Camosun’s two-year Applied Chemistry and Biotechnology program? Start here

Last updated: November 5, 2007 10:35 am

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