July 21, 2022

Last week, at Viralgen, we celebrated the graduation of the first class of Dual Vocational Training of the Basque Country specialized in gene therapy. The first ten students have completed their studies in the pioneering initiative between the Vice-Ministry of Vocational Training of the Basque Country and Viralgen. All have already been hired and have been part of our staff since June 18.

The graduation ceremony was held on Friday at Viralgen's new plant in Miramón. It was presided by Javier García, CEO of Viralgen. Jon Azkuna, Coordinator of FP Dual of the Vice-Ministry of Vocational Training; Jon Labaka, Executive Director of Tknika of the Vice-Ministry of Vocational Training; Iñigo Olaizola, Manager of Fomento San Sebastián; Nora Amorena, President of Ikaslan; and the three executive managers of the participating Vocational Training centers, Ángel del Río from Easo Politeknikoa, Juan Carlos Lizarbe from Don Bosco and Santiago Rodrigo from Plaiaundi, attended the event.

Dual Vocational Training is an essential tool to bring young people closer to qualified jobs and to meet the needs of growing companies. Viralgen and the Vice-Ministry of Education of the Basque Government signed an agreement in 2020 and from there began the first graduating class. This is a three-year training program. In the first year, students study at their respective centers. Those students interested in joining the program and who are selected, continue their second year in Dual Training, which means that they study in their training center and the company. At Viralgen, they rotate through the various departments where they gain an overview of gene therapy. In the third and final year, the students are assigned to a specific department of the biotech company where they carry out their specialization.

In addition, there is already a second graduating class in the "Specialization Program in Industrial Manufacturing and Quality Control of Gene Therapy Drugs." It is made up of 26 young people who are starting their last year of specialization, which will last until June 2023. The third promotion, with 30 students already selected, will start the program next September.

The class that graduated on Friday is the first of this pioneering modality in the life sciences sector. It also consolidates the success of this collaborative formula that promotes unique educational opportunities for young people from Gipuzkoa and, in turn, represents a source of high-quality work for the territory and a reference for other educative centers in the country.

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