Have you ever considered hiring a student to help you with your business? If you ask TECHNATION Program Director Brett Hotas, it’s bad business not to—thanks to the help of the Career Ready Program.
Very often, students perfectly match your outline of an ideal candidate. They’re hungry for experience, easily trainable, highly motivated, and equipped with the latest knowhow necessary to create innovative customer solutions. And the relationship benefits the student as well.
By hiring a Career Ready student, you become “part of a powerful community and a driver of serious economic force,” Hotas explains. “The more employers that participate in hiring students, the stronger Canada’s early talent pool becomes as they learn and adopt professional or ‘soft’ skills as part of their post-secondary education.”
Career Ready is based around Work-Integrated-Learning (WIL). By applying a student’s studies within a workplace, you give them the opportunity for hands-on experience. This leverage helps them become more employable upon graduation—with many companies rehiring their once-student employees.
“91% of our employer partners confirmed their students were qualified for an entry-level position at their company after their work placement.” Hotas says. “And 84% of our employer partners reported they would consider hiring their students long-term after graduation.” Hotas sees the Career Ready Program as a ‘try before you buy’ solution. “After an internship or two with your company, the student is fully ramped up for an entry level position without the costs associated with onboarding and training. Show them you’re an employer of choice, and they’ll come back!”
Canada is experiencing a tech talent shortage. There are plenty of jobs on the market—over 200,000, on average—but only a handful of graduate talent to fill them. This has the potential to significantly impact Canadian’s country-wide in the coming years. But it’s more than just bottom lines being affected.
“Besides the reasons that immediately come to mind—economic prosperity, innovation, quality of life, etc.—an issue we don’t always consider is one of national security,” Hotas shares. “One of the most concerning labour shortages in tech is within the cybersecurity discipline. Cyber threats continue to grow and some of our most vulnerable institutions like municipalities, non-profits, small businesses, etc., are seriously at risk. Work-Integrated-Learning programs expedite and excite interest in career fields like cybersecurity.”
In fact, TECHNATION, in partnership with the Government of Canada, has run programs fully dedicated to demystifying careers in cybersecurity, while funding hundreds of cyber-related student work terms.
Satisfying the talent gap with students fulfills your financial and project goals, while directing tomorrow’s talent down the right path. You can make a lasting impression on the future of tech.
When Forbes interviewed eight entrepreneurs, they mentioned the fear of large expenses as a barrier to success. This, along with concerns about a drawn-out application process, are obstacles that employers say deter them from hiring students, but according to Hotas, these concerns are misplaced.
“We hear consistently from our employer partners that the process is far easier than they ever expected,” he says. “Our subsidy [up to 75% of a student’s wages] can also be stacked with provincial subsidies—if you’re in BC, ON, or NS, there’s a good chance you can get 100% of a co-op student’s salary covered.”
And it’s easy too! Most businesses complete their application in just 15 minutes, and 99.5% of businesses are approved within 10 days of application. Take Nest Capital‘s word for it, “You can tell a LOT of thought went into the user experience for employers. Basically, it’s the only program I’d recommend to other employers!”
“TECHNATION has been able to build a powerful community of employers, many of whom are also passionate about Work-Integrated-Learning,” says Hotas. “If you’re still on the fence, take a look at some of our testimonial videos to hear their stories, or get in touch with a TECHNATION program coordinator. If you’re ready to jump in, we have a ton of toolkits, videos, and guides to support our application process in our easy-to-use application portal.”
Even though millions of grant and subsidy dollars go unspent each year, the business community has found support with the Career Ready Program. So far, we’ve paid $100 million to businesses just like you, placing over 20,000 students since 2017 (half of those in the last year alone!).
Students provide a brand-new perspective when approaching projects and customer solutions. It’s a mutually beneficial option, as students gain valuable experience and are paid for their work and your company benefits from their current insights and tech knowledge.
One of TECHNATION’s primary goals is to remove the barriers many businesses, employers, and prospective students face—especially those within BIPOC and 2SLGBTQ+ communities. Often marginalized, Black, Indigenous, and Latinx folk represent <5% of the total tech industry, with BIPOC women and non-binary folk representing only a sliver of that amount.
Tech startups and small-to-medium size businesses represent 90% of Career Ready employers, and a third of the students are women. There’s space for everyone at the table—and diverse perspectives, background, and skills make the industry stronger for all Canadians.
If you’re an emerging company that needs skilled talent, Career Ready is for you. If you’re a medium-sized business that wants to develop innovative solutions, Career Ready is for you. If you’re a big tech organization that wants to usher in young, diverse talent to lead tomorrow, Career Ready is for you.
“One of our large employer partners is totally booming,” Hotas says. “Their entire workforce comprises of 15-20% students at any given time, and the program serves as their own recruitment ecosystem. There’s no excuse for large enterprise to not add WIL into their secret sauce.”
Lasting change is a win-win for all parties involved. As your business finds talent to help support annual growth, students will learn invaluable in-field experience.
And these innovations will make life easier for all Canadians.