COVE internship program develops innovations for the Blue Economy in the ocean technology industry of Atlantic Canada.
This internship pilot set out with several lofty objectives, most of which related to changing peoples' minds: about hiring diverse talent; about considering an industry they'd not considered before; about working with peers with different backgrounds and capabilities; and about taking on the challenge of an ill-defined problem and working it through. Perhaps not a traditional measure of ROI, it is possible to assess the return on investment for this program by considering the data we gathered and how it helps us answer a few key questions. Are more young people engaged in the ocean industry? Nine of the ten interns said yes. Did many transition their Internship experience into employment? Five out of ten did and the others are returning students. Are the host organizations more willing to participate in future WIL programs? All Hosts said they are. Are more Industry members willing to hire young talent if they have a role, and are they willing to commit to their development on the job? All mentors and hosts said yes. And finally, are more industry members willing to hire diverse students? Of the five interns who were hired, four were from non-traditional programs, and four were from non-traditional groups in terms of gender, visible minority or immigrant/international student. Overall, the program was highly successful and will potentially have tremendous impact on the industry insofar as it will help to attract top-talent that might never have considered ocean industries. It will also reinforce the importance of taking a multi-disciplinary approach to an industry that seems emphatically STEM-oriented. Finally, the program reinforces the innovative nature of the industry overall and can itself serve to support as a re-branding effort for an industry in need of a new narrative.