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Alberta 2030: Expanding work-integrated learning

Provincial Press Release July 5, 2021 @ 2:05pm published July 6, 2021 @ 1:45pm

Alberta’s government is helping fund new on-the-job learning opportunities for post-secondary students, helping to build job-ready skills and increase access to talent for employers.

In partnership with industry, employers and post-secondary institutions, Alberta’s government is investing $3.6 million in new work-integrated learning opportunities in key priority areas through the Work-Integrated Learning Industry Voucher pilot program.

“Learning directly from mentors and seasoned professionals – while getting real-life work experience – is one of the best ways to set students up for success in their future careers. In addition to providing valuable opportunities for our students, these work placements help build relationships between industry and educators to ensure programs are responsive to the needs of both students and employers.” Demetrios Nicolaides, Minister of Advanced Education

“As a grassroots, community-building industry organization, Technology Alberta hears from many growing tech businesses from across the province that even in these challenging times, they are hiring, need talent now and want to help keep outstanding talent here in Alberta. It is exciting to see the alignment with industry, government and academia on work-integrated learning, and the Government of Alberta's insightful and substantial commitment to these programs that will support both students and companies through job creation.” Gail J. Powley, president, Technology Alberta

“Work-integrated learning opportunities will bridge the gap between advanced education and industry, increasing value for students. The ability to complete formal education while earning on-the-job work experience relevant to a student’s learning path will provide Alberta students key first pieces needed to have a meaningful and rewarding career.” Liam Hunter, director, Alberta Students’ Executive Council

“The common advice I have always received is the importance of internships and work experience for a student. I see this program as an opportunity to use what I learn in the classroom in real workplace situations, learn from mentors and develop new relationships – which could even help me land a full-time role.” Reeyan Maknojiya, student, University of Calgary and work experience student, VizworX Inc.

This pilot program will help fund paid work-integrated learning placements for students with employers in Alberta’s priority sectors. Aligning opportunities with priority fields supports Alberta’s economic recovery by providing employers with access to new talent and ensuring more students gain the practical skills that work-integrated learning provides.

Expanding work-integrated learning opportunities is a flagship initiative under the Alberta 2030: Building Skills for Jobs strategy. A successful pilot program will help develop capacity and best practices to expand work-integrated learning opportunities to other sectors, supporting meaningful learning experiences for students and helping industry develop the talent they need for their business to excel.

The Alberta 2030: Building Skills for Jobs strategy is a transformational vision and direction for Alberta’s higher education system, which will develop a highly skilled and competitive workforce, strengthen innovation and commercialization of research and forge stronger relationships between employers and post-secondary institutions.

Quick facts

  • Over the next three years, this pilot initiative will provide approximately 650 students with a paid work placement to learn hands-on from professionals in their field, in partnership with three industry associations from Alberta’s priority sectors:

    • Technology Alberta

    • Alberta Construction Association

    • BioAlberta

  • These partner industry associations are working with post-secondary institutions and employers to match students with new work-integrated learning opportunities.

  • The program will also help employers access emerging local talent by providing a grant of up to $5,000 per student placement, which is matched by the employer.

  • Graduates indicate that lack of work experience is a barrier to finding employment once they complete their studies. This program will help students gain relevant work experience in their field of study and help them launch their careers once they graduate.


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