Technation gets $32 million to support businesses during pandemic through work placement program

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Canadian technology industry association Technation has received $32 million in funding from the federal government. The funding is specifically being put toward Technation’s Career Ready Program, which pairs post-secondary students with Canadian businesses.

“The work-integrated learning model provides a great opportunity for Canadian employers right now.”

Technation’s Career Ready Program has previously received approximately $88 million in funding from the federal government through two injections.

With this latest $32 million investment, the government’s overall funding commitment to the program totals approximately $120 million, all of which was invested through its Student Work Placement Program (SWPP).

Technation’s program provides employers up to 50 percent of a work term student’s pay in wage subsidies. Following the new funding, Technation has increased the size of its wage subsidy from $5,000 to $7,500 for each student hired for a four-month placement. The latest increase in this student wage subsidy is aimed to support more businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Over the course of the pandemic, Canada’s economy lost 1 million jobs from February to March, then 2 million from March to April, for a total of 3 million jobs. Changes to Technation’s Career Ready Program are aimed to help businesses continue to scale and grow in the current economic climate.

The program is targeted to “tech immersive” roles, but businesses in any sector can apply. It is based on a work-integrated learning model, which formally and intentionally integrates a student’s academic studies within a workplace or practice setting.

Technation claims that last year, 3,500 students participated in its Career Ready Program. Over the next year, that number is projected to increase to more than 7,000.

Technation launched the first phase of its Career Ready Program in 2017 with $17 million from the government, which at the time, focused mainly on supporting roles in IT, cybersecurity, and artificial intelligence as priority labour market areas.

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The second phase of the program began in late 2019 with an additional $70 million from the government to grow and extend the program by two more years. This phase also saw the introduction of eligibility for interdisciplinary roles in tech, such as digital marketing.

“The work-integrated learning model provides a great opportunity for Canadian employers right now, especially for those who have undergone economic setbacks that have stalled the hiring of much-needed staff to keep their businesses running,” said Brett Hotas, senior program manager at Technation.

The Student Work Placement Program was launched by the government in 2017 with $73 million earmarked over four years to support post-secondary co-op student work placements.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the government’s Student Work Placement Program implemented changes to its process and eligibility for wage subsidy requirements in order to support a wider range of employers. The changes include more flexible durations for placements and pre-approvals for employers.

“Programs like the Student Work Placement Program exist to provide post-secondary students with the chance to grow professionally and develop new skills while working in sectors that are in line with their interests and field of study,” said Canada’s Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion Carla Qualtrough.

“Our government’s investment in Technation’s Career Ready Program will go a long way in helping young Canadians gain meaningful work experience in the communications technology sector, a sector which is especially important in responding to the current pandemic,” she added.

Image source Unsplash. Photo by Priscilla Du Preez.

Isabelle Kirkwood

Isabelle Kirkwood

Writer, globetrotter, drone pilot & David Attenborough enthusiast