Calgary has long been a hub of innovation and opportunity, with a booming technology sector that is constantly seeking fresh talent.
Now, a new online platform called TalentED YYC has been launched to help employers in the city engage with students and offer them practical work experiences.
The platform is the brainchild of Calgary Work Integrated Learning (Calgary WIL), a collaboration of 10 partners led by Calgary Economic Development.
As the operational partner of Calgary WIL, Calgary Economic Development is driving this innovative pilot project forward as a priority for the attraction, retention, and development of skilled talent, a key pillar in the region’s economic strategy, “Calgary in the New Economy.”
Currently, employers offering student positions need to navigate each school and program individually. TalentED YYC aims to provide a one-stop-shop for employers looking to connect with post-secondary students for work-integrated learning opportunities, such as internships, co-ops, and practicums.
“Calgary WIL is the largest work-integrated learning collaboration in Canada,” said Brad Parry, President and CEO, Calgary Economic Development. “The TalentED YYC platform will help ready our workforce by connecting students with local employers, enabling them to gain the on-the-job experience they need to jumpstart their careers in Calgary.”
The platform offers resources, templates, and a centralized job posting portal to share WIL opportunities with students at all seven post-secondary institutions in Calgary. It also offers access to a team who can provide one-on-one support to help employers navigate how to work with student talent.
“The TalentED YYC platform provides an important avenue for post-secondary students to access the hands-on training and skills they need to thrive in our high-tech economy,” said the Honourable Dan Vandal, Minister for PrairiesCan. “Our partnership with Calgary Economic Development on this innovative initiative will help connect Calgary’s technology sector with a new generation of talented workers to drive the growth and competitiveness of local businesses for years to come.”
Vandal noted how the platform provides students with access to hands-on training and skills development that are essential for thriving in Calgary’s high-tech economy.
Students with WIL experience are more likely to find work in a field related to their education, while employers who offer WIL are more likely to access the talent they need and find strong candidates to join their organization in the future, according to the organization, whose pilot project kicked off in 2022 and has received funding from various sources, including the Government of Canada, through PrairiesCan, which announced an investment of $1.2 million into Calgary WIL.
This funding builds on previous funding of $2.9 million from Future Skills Centre and $2.5 million from the Government of Alberta’s Ministry of Advanced Education.
“More than ever, we need to ensure our students and post-secondary institutions have the resources they need to adapt and succeed in a rapidly changing labour market,” said George Chahal, Member of Parliament for Calgary Skyview. “With their ingenuity and ideas, they are well-equipped to meet the growing demand for talent in our city’s technology sector. This investment will help prepare them for rewarding careers and a bright future here in Alberta.”
The pilot project is set to run until Spring 2025 and will continue to evolve with more programs and services to expand WIL opportunities in Calgary.
Overall, TalentED YYC represents a significant step forward in Calgary’s efforts to connect students with employers and provide them with the skills and experience they need to thrive in the city’s high-tech economy.