A new round of Federal Government funding for the Level UP program will support 18,000 new fully-subsidized remote paid internships for Canadian post-secondary learners and employers over the next two years.
VANCOUVER, BC, May 26, 2022 /CNW/ - The Level UP program has delivered 6,443 flexible remote internship opportunities and connected thousands of Canadian post-secondary learners and employers as they prepare to grow and build for the Future of Work. Following the overwhelming success and impact of the program's pilot year - oversubscribed since its first month with over 20,000 on the waitlist - phase two of the program has tripled its funding to an additional $36 million and is on track to deliver a total of 24,443 paid experiences by March 2024.
Leveraging technology from Vancouver-based tech company Riipen, the world's largest online work-integrated learning marketplace, Canadian post-secondary students can participate in short-term project-based learning opportunities in collaboration with thousands of employers looking to boost their productivity and innovation while actively looking to fill new roles in their organization to support their growth. Level UP is funded in part by the Government of Canada's Innovative Work-Integrated Learning (I-WIL) Initiatives program.
Level UP projects are 80 hours long, usually completed over two to eight weeks adapting to the unique needs of small and medium sized employers and students' schedules. "We want to bring a more flexible, inclusive alternative to the work-integrated learning ecosystem in Canada," said Dana Stephenson, Co-founder and CEO of Riipen. "Riipen projects are meant to be modular and stackable, so both students and employers can take advantage of working with more than one match. All project communications and tracking can be done online through the Riipen platform, so people can participate from anywhere and not be held back by geographical barriers. We have seen many cases of students working with businesses across the country on highly relevant projects aligned with their areas of study, while others use the program as an opportunity to evaluate their career readiness, and even explore new disciplines."
The Riipen team works with employers to help structure their immediate business needs into a fully scoped project that can be completed within two to eight weeks. "Close to 98% of employers in Canada are small businesses, for whom resources and funding are often limited," shared Dave Savory, Co-founder and VP of Experiential Learning at Riipen. "That's why the Level UP program is structured so students are compensated through Riipen directly, so businesses eager to participate in work-integrated learning and working with student talent are not held up by the additional step of individually applying for wage-subsidy programs. We want to expand access for all businesses who want to participate in paid internships and offer their mentorship to student talent."
With the goal of expanding access for I-WIL to learners of all ages and backgrounds, the program has also seen remarkable participation from underrepresented communities, with 70% of participants in the program identifying as being part of an underrepresented or equity-seeking group such as newcomers to Canada, women in STEM, ethnic and linguistic minorities, persons with disability, and those in rural or remote communities.
"Transitioning from school to work can be a challenge, especially for young Canadians from under-represented groups. The Level UP program provides students with flexible work experiences that leverage technology to ensure inclusive opportunities across Canada. By participating in Riipen's Remote Internship program, students are better placed to grow their experiences and find rewarding careers for a bright future," shares the Honourable Marci Ien, Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Youth.
Riipen has worked with multiple organizations supporting equity-seeking groups to expand access to valuable work-integrated learning opportunities for underrepresented and underserved populations. "As partners for the Level UP program, we worked with Black Boys Code to equip their students with their first resume entry in the field of IT, and Contact North BC, making available online options for work-integrated learning to remote and Indigenous communities in northern British Columbia," said Midia Shikh Hassan, Strategy Manager, Riipen. "For the new phase of the program, we see great potential in expanding our partnerships to even more organizations looking to help the diverse leaders of tomorrow take that first important step in building their future careers."
Post-secondary students, employers, and interested parties can learn more and register for the program here: https://www.riipen.com/levelup
About Riipen: Launched in 2017, Riipen is the world's leading online work-integrated learning platform, connecting educators and learners with employers through highly flexible and scalable WIL solutions. On a mission to eliminate underemployment, Riipen has built a robust marketplace of over 410 higher education and training providers and 22,000 employers, delivering over 135,000 WIL experiences to help learners enhance their skills, build their professional network, and accelerate their path to a meaningful career. Using technology and marketplace dynamics to break down traditional barriers to WIL access, Riipen brings the Future of Work to diverse learners of all backgrounds. Learn more at riipen.com
For further information: Media Contact: Patrice Oliveira, [email protected], Phone: 416-865-7857