September 29, 2022
Ottawa, ON - The Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, announced today a three-year $17.1-million investment in the Business + Higher Education Roundtable (BHER) to create and scale 22,300 work-integrated learning (WIL) opportunities across Canada, while strengthening the WIL ecosystem by developing new tools and resources for employers.
Through partnerships, BHER will focus on:
- increasing opportunities for students from equity-deserving communities, including Indigenous students (First Nations, Inuit and Métis), students with disabilities, visible minorities, and international students studying in Canada.
- advancing WIL-based solutions to skills and talent challenges related to the transition to a net zero economy.
- developing innovative WIL programs, including micro-placements, online projects, and hackathons, for students to gain the skills they need for in-demand jobs and to reduce barriers for employers, especially small and medium-sized enterprises, to host programs.
The Government of Canada’s investment builds on BHER’s success in 2019-2022 when BHER created nearly 40,000 WIL opportunities through 42 partnerships, with support from a network of over 150 employers and post-secondary institutions across Canada. A recent report commissioned by BHER found that almost 75% of employers stated that participation in BHER programming helped strengthen their talent pipeline, while 80% of employers reported that they gained access to resources that helped fill a skill gap.
As part of the renewed mandate, BHER will continue to build new tools and resources for employers to explore, invest in, and create quality WIL. They will be added to BHER’s first-of-its-kind, free-to-use WIL Hub.
BHER will pilot new and emerging WIL types that give students practical experience and prepare them to enter the workforce, and that help employers fill skills gaps, gain innovative ideas and perspectives, increase productivity, and develop diverse and inclusive teams.
Today’s announcement underscores BHER’s and the Government of Canada’s commitment to building sustainable WIL in Canada, strengthening the WIL ecosystem, and improving collaboration between employers and post-secondary institutions. Together BHER and the Government of Canada are committed to helping ensure every student in Canada who wants a work-integrated learning experience gets one before they graduate from their first diploma or degree.
“Supporting organizations that are leaders in developing Canada’s next generation of working professionals is key to our economic success. That’s why our government is proud to support the Business + Higher Education Roundtable and its partners as they provide post-secondary students with the supports and opportunities needed for Canada’s world-class workforce. Our government is proud to be a part of this continued success, and I cannot wait to see the positive impacts this will make on Canadian organizations and students.”
~ Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry
"To reach our country’s net-zero goals, we’ll need an historic shift across our economy and society, and unprecedented levels of collaboration between the public and private sectors. A talent and skills strategy will be at the heart of our transition, which is why creating work-integrated learning opportunities for every student in Canada is critically important. This commitment is another step to help us get there."
~ Dave McKay, President and CEO, RBC & Chair of BHER’s Board of Directors
“We are incredibly grateful to the Government of Canada for renewing its investment in BHER and for doubling down on our shared commitment to preparing post-secondary students for the world of work. Reinvesting in BHER means working together to build capacity for WIL in Canada and strengthening collaboration in the WIL ecosystem, while making WIL more inclusive and diverse so more students gain the skills employers are looking for and more employers find the talent they need.”
~ Dr. Valerie Walker, Chief Executive Officer, Business + Higher Education Roundtable
Tina Romito, Senior Manager, Communications
@email - 613-695-3511
About the Business + Higher Education Roundtable:
The Business + Higher Education Roundtable (BHER) is a non-partisan, not-for-profit organization bringing together some of Canada’s largest companies and leading post-secondary institutions. Since 2015, BHER has worked to harness the strengths of Canada’s business and post-secondary education sectors to build opportunities for young Canadians, boost innovation and drive collaboration. Learn more at www.bher.ca. Check out our WIL Hub for ways to explore, invest in and create quality WIL opportunities.
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