As labour force data shows that B.C.-based technology companies are struggling to meet their workforce needs, an innovative partnership between University Canada West (UCW) and Riipen demonstrates real-time benefits for companies and students.
In the fall of 2020, UCW partnered with Riipen to bring real-world business examples into the classroom, giving students the hands-on experience of working with a technology company during their studies.
Established in 2013, Vancouver’s Riipen brings industry and academia together with real company projects. As opposed to focusing solely on case studies, these opportunities allow students the chance to work on projects with real businesses and organizations, embedded directly into the course curriculum or completed as remote internships.
A private institution that focuses on careers in technology and business, part of UCW’s core mission is to equip students with practical applied skills.
“Our model makes us nimble and gives us the ability to pivot quickly to respond to the growing and changing needs of Vancouver’s growing tech sector,” says UCW President Brock Dykeman.
“We hear a lot these days about the need to step up work-integrated experiential learning opportunities. We know it’s a key way we can more efficiently upskill the BC workforce and fill the many opportunities in our start-up and tech community,” says Dana Stephenson, Riipen’s Co-founder and CEO. “Our platform was designed to address this challenge directly. We provide the tools and ability to connect businesses – regardless of size – to connect with students and academic institutions like UCW.”
Dr. Gelareh Farhadian, UCW’s Marketing, Strategy and Entrepreneurship Department Chair, says many textbook case studies typically used in business courses are outdated. And up-to-date studies are usually based on large organizations.
“In reality, most students will work for small to medium-sized corporations,” she says. “Immersing students in these real-world industry projects equips them with work-ready skills. It’s much more practical than just looking at a case study.”
So far, close to a dozen of UCW’s MBA courses have incorporated a Riipen client project and the partnership has been well received by students with 80% saying they were satisfied with the experience.