RRC Polytech hosts inaugural Work-Integrated Learning conference

May 10, 2023

More than 100 representatives from Manitoba businesses are meeting today to learn the advantages and benefits of mentoring a student through Work-Integrated Learning (WIL) opportunities at RRC Polytech.

Hosted by the College’s Applied Computer Education and Work Integrated Learning and Career Services department, the one-day conference Engaging in Work-Integrated Learning for the Changing Workplace aims to inform businesses about the WIL opportunities that exist within the College, and the supports they can receive to promote accessibility and equity, diversity and inclusion in the workplace.

“The College is already well known for its experiential approach to learning, and we want to ensure our industry partners understand the many benefits of providing students with Work-Integrated Learning experiences,” says Dr. Christine Watson, RRC Polytech’s Vice President, Academic.

“Not only do our students gain important skills that support their future career paths, but our host employers also benefit through early access to high quality talent.

“Students come to RRC Polytech because they want a high-quality education that will prepare them to enter the workforce after graduation. This includes access to industry mentorship, experiential learning and co-operative work placements.”

The conference is funded through a partnership with the Business + Higher Education Roundtable (BHER), with support from the Government of Canada. Through the partnership, RRC Polytech has committed to providing 650 WIL opportunities for students in 2023. New initiatives created include the Sprint to Innovate competition, pitch workshops and additional projects completed through Applied Computer Education.

“We need to scale up opportunities for employers to work with equity-deserving students to create truly inclusive and meaningful work environments,” says Andrew Bieler, Director of Partnerships & Experiential Learning at BHER. “We applaud RRC Polytech in bringing together business and industry organizations to better understand how best to support students from different backgrounds in Manitoba.”

Conference sessions focus on how businesses can maximize their talent pipelines through WIL, supporting students and employees with autism, cultural competencies training, and accessibility resources. The day kicks off with a keynote from Dr. Lionel Laroche about managing cultural differences in Canadian organizations.

Conference attendee Katrina Zado, Director of People Development at Northfield IT, is looking for ways to enhance WIL opportunities across the Winnipeg-based technology company.

“Our talent is the primary driver of the value we bring to our clients and we are looking forward to contemporary perspectives on optimizing our people strategy and enhancements within the WIL program,” says Zado.

“Constant refinement helps us better support our students and team members in fostering collaboration and learning. Northfield IT has successfully partnered with RRC Polytech for 10 years and we hope to continue to be a supporter of the school for many more years to come.”

RRC Polytech campuses are located on the lands of Anishinaabe, Ininiwak, Anishininew, Dakota, and Dené, and the National Homeland of the Red River Métis.

We recognize and honour Treaty 3 Territory Shoal Lake 40 First Nation, the source of Winnipeg’s clean drinking water. In addition, we acknowledge Treaty Territories which provide us with access to electricity we use in both our personal and professional lives.

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