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Your business could receive $10,000 if you hire a post-secondary student this summer

Straight 2019-04-16 05:44:03

With the Vancouver tech industry growing at a rate that far outpaces other provinces, many companies are finding it tough to hire new staff. With more than 83,000 jobs expected to open up in the sector over the next eight years, that demand will only increase.

One solution, says Crown Corporation Innovate BC, is to hire more post-secondary students.

B.C. has recently beefed up its investment into tech programs at local colleges and universities, allowing more young people to attend technical courses around the province. Those graduates, Innovate BC believes, will help form the backbone of the region’s tech industry in the future.

In order to encourage organizations to hire B.C.’s students, Innovate BC has launched the Innovator Skills Initiative (ISI) grant program. Delivered by New Ventures B.C., the initiative offers a unique incentive: if your company puts a local student on the payroll, it can receive up to $10,000.

Most companies will be eligible to receive the grant. In order to apply for the money, organizations must be based in B.C., and can be a for-profit tech startup or a non-profit tech organization. They must hire a post-secondary student currently enrolled an accredited B.C. institution, who cannot be a co-op student. New hires must enter a business or technical role.

In exchange for the grant, companies must offer entrepreneurial and business training to the individual, and complete surveys about the effectiveness of the program. Organizations must also match the money they receive for the scheme either in cash, or a combination of cash and in-kind services.

To date, 175 students have been placed in companies across the Lower Mainland, Vancouver Island, and the interior, including GetintheLoop, Traction on Demand, LlamaZoo, and Hydra Energy.  As a result of ISI placements, 51 students have been hired on permanently after completing their work term with the grant funding, in roles ranging from UX design to software development.

“Because we are a lean start-up, we often find it difficult to compete for experienced engineers and even the best students which can result in development slowdowns, says Chris Pinkerton, President of Kelowna’s GetintheLoop. “ISI enables us to connect and work with the brightest students and train them in all the essential skills needed at a fast-paced startup like GetintheLoop.”

Companies are also able to claim the $10,000 grant if they have hired an eligible post-secondary student within the last 12 months. Retroactive applications for the money are now open for the summer term of 2018 (May 1 to August 31) and the fall term (September 1 to December 31). Organizations can also apply now for students who started between January 1 and April 31, and for the upcoming term of May 1 to August 31 2019.

More information about the ISI grant and how to apply is available here.

Follow Kate Wilson on Twitter @KateWilsonSays