Full STEAM Ahead: How TECHNATION’s Career Ready Program Fuels Innovation at The STEAM Project

The future of tech in Canada is bright, but it relies on a skilled and passionate workforce. That’s where TECHNATION’s Career Ready Program steps in, creating a bridge between eager students and practical experience in Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics (STEAM) fields.  


As part of the Government of Canada’s Student Work Placement Program, the Career Ready Program provides wage subsidies for organizations to hire post-secondary students for work-term placements, creating a win-win situation for both businesses and students. Businesses gain access to a pool of talented individuals with fresh perspectives who are ready to learn. Students get invaluable real-world experience that puts their theoretical knowledge to the test and jumpstarts their careers in the tech space.  

The STEAM Project: A Case Study in Action  

The STEAM Project classroom

In a bid to revolutionize education and ignite a passion for innovation, The STEAM Project has emerged as an important initiative at the forefront of STEAM learning. Operating in Richmond Hill and Markham, Ontario, The STEAM Project is dedicated to inspiring and empowering youth through immersive hands-on learning experiences at year-round Makerspace sessions and action-packed summer camps. From robotics and woodworking to engineering, 3D printing, and digital art, participants are immersed in activities that encourage exploration, experimentation, and innovation.  

At the heart of The STEAM Project lies an enthusiastic team of post-secondary students, carefully selected and trained to serve as camp instructors. As a member of TECHNATION, The STEAM Project became involved with the Career Ready Program in 2020 and receives funding to hire their student instructors, subsidizing up to 70% of their wages for co-op placements.  

The STEAM Project group photo

The student instructors act as role models to the campers, inspiring the next generation and demonstrating the exciting possibilities within STEAM fields. It’s a full circle moment: students gaining valuable work experience while encouraging future generations to embrace STEAM fields. Some instructors have even discovered an interest in working with children and are now pursuing careers as STEAM educators. 

While working as camp instructors, the students develop essential soft skills in addition to strengthening their technical abilities. Communication, teamwork, problem-solving, and leadership are all practiced in this environment. These skills are crucial for the students’ professional development and future success, preparing them well for a variety of career paths. 

“I gained leadership skills as I learned to manage staff and teach and inspire youth, but I also grew as an engineer in ways that university courses could never teach us,” said Karisa, an instructor with The STEAM Project and Electrical Engineering student at the University of Toronto. “I learned technical skills across engineering disciplines and was actually given the opportunity to hone and apply them. I learned that being creative is okay, which is never taught in such a technical discipline.” 

The STEAM Project supports diversity and inclusion within the tech sector by recruiting, training, and mentoring students from underrepresented groups, including visible minorities, women in STEAM, and students with backgrounds in the arts. Increased wage subsidies are offered by the Career Ready Program to support the hiring of students from underrepresented groups. By cultivating a team that reflects the diversity of talent within STEAM fields, the organization can ensure that young participants see themselves and their potential reflected in their instructors. 

In partnership with organizations like The STEAM Project, TECHNATION’s Career Ready Program equips the next generation of workers with the skills and experiences needed to thrive in the tech industry. This mutually beneficial partnership between industry and students fuels creativity and problem-solving, while strengthening our future Canadian tech workforce to tackle the challenges and opportunities of tomorrow. 

To get involved with the Career Ready Program, email a program coordinator today. Fall 2024 applications open on July 17 at 1:00 pm ET.