News

RRC Polytech partners with SkipTheDishes to encourage young women to explore coding and programming

January 25, 2022

A new 12-week course hosted by RRC Polytech and SkipTheDishes will provide 25 high school students with the skills and knowledge to become the tech entrepreneurs and leaders of tomorrow.

Delivered online, the new Technovation Girls Manitoba course includes hands-on, applied learning in IT coding and programming. Students will identify a need in their community and work with instructors and mentors to create an app that offers a solution.

“RRC Polytech is creating more opportunities to engage with young learners in Manitoba and broaden their options for future careers,” says Kathleen Kerr, Dean of the College’s School of Continuing Education. “It’s important for the College to empower underrepresented groups – which in the tech industry, includes women – to build their skills and know their perspectives and talent is needed.

“We’re proud to have partnered with SkipTheDishes on this course, and are so excited to see the first cohort grow in their skills and confidence.”

Technovation Girls is a global tech education program created by the nonprofit Technovation, which offers interactive learning programs to help young people learn how to use app-based technologies or artificial intelligence to solve real-world problems.

Winnipeg-based SkipTheDishes, Canada’s largest food delivery network, is partnering with RRC Polytech to bring the program to Manitoba.

“An investment in young women is an investment in the tech landscape as a whole, as we work to create gender parity within the industry,” says Kristina Irvine, SkipTheDishes’ director of talent acquisition. “The skills learned through Technovation will open doors to many different career paths for these young women, and we hope to inspire as many as possible to choose careers in tech.”

“The enthusiasm around the launch of Technovation Girls Manitoba is exciting,” adds Terry Collia, Technovation’s senior director of marketing. “We’ve seen success throughout Canada, with nearly 4,000 young tech entrepreneurs connecting with our program. The availability of Technovation Girls courses in Manitoba … will only help fulfil our mission of empowering girls and addressing the gender gap in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math).”

Melanie Par, who recently graduated from RRC Polytech’s Business Information Technology program, will lead the course.

“With the growing digital and tech sectors in Manitoba, we know the demand for diverse and skilled grads in IT will continue to grow,” says Par. “This is one additional way RRC Polytech can play a critical role to address the underrepresentation of women and girls in the booming IT industry and help better position Manitoba for future growth.”

Technovation Girls Manitoba is the latest collaboration between RRC Polytech and SkipTheDishes, a true made-in-Manitoba success story. In 2020, the company partnered with the College to serve up a menu of micro-credential courses designed to help SkipThe Dishes staff train their operations teams.

To date, more than 60 people have completed the courses, which provide trainers with a digital badge embedded with information about the skills and competencies they’ve acquired, and which can be added to resumes, email signatures and social media.

RRC Polytech has seen growing interest in micro-credentials, which help students upskill with some of the most desired skills sought by employers — and help the College meet the rapidly evolving needs of business and industry. These specialized courses and industry partnerships align with RRC Polytech’s 2022-2026 strategic plan: In Front of What’s Ahead.

Applications are now being accepted by Technovation Girls Manitoba for volunteer industry mentors. A computer science or engineering background is not required; mentors with backgrounds in marketing, product development, project management, software development and other areas are encouraged to email mpar@rrc.ca to apply.