On March 6, 2024, TalentED YYC hosted the inaugural Calgary Talent & Funding Fair at Platform Calgary with over 100 employers in attendance. The event marked a significant milestone for the TalentED YYC pilot project; allowing Calgary employers, funders, and post-secondary institutions to collaborate on work integrated learning and skills resourcing.


Empowering Employers:

The fair addressed the knowledge gap among employers who want to engage students in work opportunities. D’Andre Wilson-Iherjirika, Executive Director of TalentED YYC, mentioned in her onsite interview with LiveWire Calgary the importance of making it easier for businesses, especially small and non-profits, to tap into student talent.

Mona Pinder, Executive Director of the Alberta Hospitality Association was asked what she wished Calgary employers were doing as it relates to work integrated learning, she said “Employers need to take advantage of work integrated learning and the funding that is out there. Students bring energy and new ideas. The grants that are there, it gives you [employers] the chance to try out something, it’s a risk when you’re a business owner, but you can us that funding to take that risk and improve your business.”

One-Stop-Shop Connections:

Employers built invaluable connections by exploring funding options and engaging with post-secondaries, all under one roof. Seven funding delivery partners like, Mitacs, TECHNATION, and Venture for Canada, provided information on the funding programs and resources available to support bringing on a student. Employers engaged directly with talent specialists from all seven post-secondary institutions, such as Ambrose University, SAIT, and the University of Calgary, and gained insights into the employable skills being developed across campuses. Through workshops and panel discussions, employers learned about the benefits of and best practices for engaging students in their organization.

“We know students are employable because we have a track record.” said Kyle Jantzen, PhD, Dean of Arts & Science, Professor of History, Ambrose University. “Employers can train for specific skill sets easily, but the fundamental work skills, thinking skills, research, and writing, those are things that we as a university can educate for.”

Looking Ahead:

Events like these help TalentED YYC connect with the Calgary community, impact Calgary’s talent ecosystem, and increase the work integrated learning opportunities offered to students through local employers.

Musap (Moose) Abdel, Founder and CEO at SIYS said he attended the Calgary Talent & Funding Fair to “Explore connections, network with funders, and network with post-secondary institutions to recruit some amazing talent.” He was also “Looking for internships and opportunities for students to take their career to the next level.”

The Calgary Talent & Funding Fair lays a strong foundation for future collaboration between Calgary employers, funders, post-secondary institutions, and TalentED YYC. As employers begin to learn about the support, funding, skills, and resources available to them, work integrated learning opportunities with students will help shape the future of work in the city.