Building talent with work integrated learning

November 26, 2021
Reskilling & Upskilling Technology Talent
Building talent with work integrated learning

Work integrated learning (WIL) provides benefits to everyone involved, whether it’s giving employers access to talent or allowing those in different training streams to apply their skills to real work projects and environments.

The Energy to Digital Growth Education and Upskilling Project (EDGE UP) program helps displaced oil and gas professionals gain the training and skills required to enter a tech-focused career. Part of EDGE UP’s programming includes WIL experiences, which benefits both the students and the companies they complete work for.

Many employers see participating in WIL as an opportunity to grow not only their company, but also Calgary’s economy. Bringing in one or multiple EDGE UP students for a WIL experience gives companies exclusive access to individuals who are bringing in a different, or often hybrid, skillset, a fresh perspective on solving challenges and an eager attitude to apply their skills to the company’s needs.

“Creating a company culture that is accessible to brand new talent reduces the key person risk in your organization and improves the cost to value ratio by increasing your available talent pool,” says Serene Yew, Director of Technology, Pixeltree. “Without refilling that [talent] pipeline, we are always going to be competing with everybody for the limited resources that are there.”

Yew adds that WIL has helped build the fundamental strength of her company and determine how to best use this unique talent pool to become more profitable in the future.

The talent pipeline of mid-career professionals with a diverse skillset is growing, and employers play a critical part in supporting this growth, particularly in Calgary’s tech ecosystem. The EDGE UP team and its partners are currently working to complete three in-demand training streams. The participants bring a unique set of hybrid skills from their years of professional experience in the oil and gas sector and their newly acquired digital skills.

These participants will be available for a WIL experience starting in January 2022. The three training streams include: Information Technology Project Management Program (University of Calgary Continuing Education), Data Analytics Program (SAIT) and Full-Stack/Software Development Program (Bow Valley College).

These programs were designed to build on existing technical skills that the EDGE UP participants have and train them on in-demand digital skills that can be apply to a wide variety of sectors in the Calgary economy.

Information and Communications Technology Council (ICTC) and Riipen are partners of the EDGE UP program and offer different work subsidies for WIL programs. They offer opportunities for employers to engage with EDGE UP participants, who can apply their recent tech training and existing skills from the oil and gas sector to capstone projects offered by Riipen and WIL placements offered by ICTC.

“[ICTC’s WIL Digital] aims to provide a talent pipeline for businesses, so that you can rely on this steady source of talent to help you grow your business and be competitive,” says Elizabeth Mills, Associate Vice-President, Skills Excellence, ICTC.

The programs that are included in the EDGE UP 2.0 program are the Level UP Capstone Projects (Riipen) and WIL Digital Subsidy for Employers (ICTC).

Employer engagement is critical to successfully developing Calgary’s tech talent pool. If you would like more information on participating in the EDGE UP Work Integrated Learning opportunities that are available now, please visit the EDGE UP website or send us an email.

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