This blog was initially drafted for the Chartered Professionals in Human Resources of Alberta (CPHR Alberta) and can be found on their blog. 

Organizations and hiring professionals in Alberta are facing a growing challengebridging the skills gap required to thrive in the new work landscape. The Alberta 2030: Building Skills for Jobs initiative recognizes this need for skill development and growth in our province, and one way to achieve this is through increased work integrated learning opportunities for current and future post-secondary students. This blog post will dive into the significance of this initiative and explore the top ten ways you can engage post-secondary students in your organization.  

Alberta 2030: Building Skills for Jobs   

Alberta 2030 highlights the goernment’s commitment to raising a skilled and adaptable workforce. Its goal is to ensure that Albertans have the skills and knowledge required to meet the demands of an ever-changing job market. A large part of this initiative is working with post-secondary institutions to create pathways for students to gain real-world experience through work integrated learning. Different types of work integrated learning include field placement, mandatory professional practicum, community service learning, project work, internship, and co-op. This initiative presents HR professionals with the opportunity to think about engaging students in different and meaningful ways.  


Why Work Integrated Learning Matters to Employers  

Employers engaging with students through work integrated learning is a win-win strategy for Alberta. Here’s why: 

Arrow Icon Addressing the Skills Gap: Students can contribute specific skills to projects and help alleviate capacity pressures.  

Arrow Icon Fresh Perspectives: Students bring innovative ideas and current perspectives to your organization. 

Arrow Icon Talent Pipeline: A way to identify and nurture future talent.  

Arrow Icon Relationships with Post-Secondary Institutions: Work integrated learning must include an organization, a student, and a post-      secondary institution. Connect with focused and driven talent and build relationships with the post-secondary institutions that foster new talent.   

Arrow Icon Diversity and Inclusion: Attract student talent from diverse backgrounds for a more inclusive workplace.  

Arrow Icon Cost Effective: Address your hiring needs while investing in the community.  

Arrow Icon Community Engagement: Demonstrate your commitment to community and social responsibility.  


Ten Ways to Engage Students in Your Organization  

Once employers have brought talent on board, they can engage with work integrated learning students to optimize their contributions. Here’s how:   

Arrow Icon Structured Work Integrated Learning: Develop well-defined paid or unpaid opportunities that align with your organizational needs.  

Arrow Icon Mentorship: Pair students with passionate mentors who can guide and support their growth. This will also develop current employee’s skills.   

Arrow Icon Collaborative Projects: Involve students in real-world projects that give them hands-on experience and responsibility that benefit your organization in tangible ways.    

Arrow Icon Networking and Events: Host events like social mixers, panel discussions, or fireside chats to help your team connect with students.  

Arrow Icon Open & Vulnerable Spaces: Encourage open communication and timely and regular feedback. This facilitates student learning and development and helps lead impactful work.  

Arrow Icon Skills Development: Offer training sessions to enhance a student’s skills, team contribution and build your talent pipeline.  

Arrow Icon Showcase Success: Share past/current student success stories to inspire your team and new hires.   

Arrow Icon Integration: Ensure students feel valued by promoting a welcoming and open culture. This has a positive impact on your current staff too. 

Arrow Icon Flexibility: Like any employee, students want flexibility, like working from home or having a hybrid culture. In turn, students will be versatile, resilient, and responsive to change.  

Arrow Icon Opportunities: To retain talent, consider offering full-time jobs to high-performing students after graduation.  

 The Alberta 2030: Building Skills for Jobs initiative provides a unique opportunity for employers to be forward-thinking and participate in developing Alberta’s future workforce. By embracing work integrated learning and implementing these strategies, you will play an active role in closing the skills gap for your organization and keeping skilled talent in Alberta – a future for HR Alberta can get behind.