Jan. 7, 2021

$9 million in dedicated federal funding secured for new co-op and internship placements

Up to 1,200 UCalgary students could gain valuable work opportunities through Canada’s Student Work Placement Program

The University of Calgary has secured up to $9 million in federal funding through the Student Work Placement Program (SWPP) for registered Canadian businesses and organizations to hire UCalgary students in paid work placements related to their field of study. Funding for student co-op positions is welcome at a time when both students and employers find themselves navigating challenging economic conditions.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government of Canada has made temporary changes to SWPP to make funding more accessible and the application process more flexible and to increase the number of student hires. The program is administered through Employment and Social Development Canada and funding will be delivered through UCalgary’s partner organization, Magnet.

Co-operative education and internship placements are paid experiences that provide students with valuable opportunities for skill development and career exploration. Considered to be a form of experiential learning, these work-integrated learning opportunities give students a chance to apply what they’ve learned in the classroom to real-world projects.

“The University of Calgary is taking action to ensure that, by 2025, 100 per cent of our undergraduate students participate in at least two experiential learning opportunities before they graduate,” says Dr. Dru Marshall, provost and vice-president (academic). “During these opportunities, UCalgary students benefit from discovering their sense of purpose, improving their civic consciousness and employability, and developing their leadership skills.”

As Canada’s most entrepreneurial university, UCalgary students are provided with world-class, future-focused programming to develop entrepreneurial-thinking skills — defined as creative problem-solving, turning circumstance to advantage and seeing possibilities where others see problems. “Our students will play a pivotal role in supporting Alberta employers as they overcome the significant economic headwinds brought on by the pandemic and an economic recession,” says Marshall.  

Employers who hire co-op and internship students gain a flexible, cost-effective way to develop new talent. Student talent can be especially effective when used to quickly move forward projects that require intensive, short-term resourcing to get started.

How to access SWPP funding

Registered Canadian businesses, organizations and post-secondary institutions may qualify for wage subsidies of 75 per cent of the provincial minimum wage, up to a maximum of $7,500 in funding per co-op student. They must be financially capable of hiring a student for a part- or full-time work term and provide them with a meaningful work experience. 

Recent changes to the SWPP program to stimulate hiring through the COVID-19 recovery include:

  • Co-op students can work from home. 
  • Previously existing restrictions around new hires and the number of new positions have been removed.
  • The wage subsidy has increased to 75 per cent of the provincial minimum wage up to a maximum of $7,500.  

UCalgary’s co-op and internship programs and the Office of Experiential Learning in the Taylor Institute for Teaching and Learning will work with employers interested in applying for funding. Access SWPP this winter to fund existing co-op or internship placements or create positions from Jan. 4 to  Apr. 30.  Learn more.

About the Taylor Institute for Teaching and Learning  
The Taylor Institute for Teaching and Learning is dedicated to better understanding and improving student learning at the University of Calgary. Its mission is to strengthen teaching and learning communities, cultures and practices to create extraordinary learning experiences. The Office of Experiential Learning within the Taylor Institute advances high-impact, future-focused learning opportunities for UCalgary students.  

About Magnet 
Magnet is a digital social innovation platform, founded at Ryerson University. Through the Magnet Network, its mission is to accelerate inclusive economic growth for all in Canada by advancing careers, businesses and communities. The Magnet Student Work Placement Program brings together employers, students, and post-secondary school stakeholders to create quality work-integrated learning opportunities.