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Okanagan post-secondary students will soon have more work placement opportunities

Loal students will have more access to educational opportunities with new funding for co-ops and work integrated learning.

Okanagan College will receive nearly $450,000 to develop relationships with small and medium-sized businesses in nearby communities, support students with disabilities and Indigenous students in accessing work-integrated learning opportunities, and increase outreach to employers in rural regions.

UBC Okanagan will receive roughly $80,000 to develop co-op placements with not-for-profit organizations in the Okanagan. UBCO is also partnering with Thompson Rivers University (TRU) and the University of Northern British Columbia with $204,000 in provincial funding to recruit new employers and increase co-op and internship placements across the Interior and North with regionally based coordinators.

“Everyone deserves the chance to find a job that they’re passionate about,” said Vernon-Monashee MLA Harwinder Sandhu. “And we know that businesses that attract diverse candidates perform better. I’m really happy to see schools creating more work experience opportunities for students with disabilities and Indigenous students, giving everyone the chance to realize their potential and added financial stability to reduce stress and focus on their studies.”

“B.C. colleges and universities offer students incredible education and experiences that will stay with them for life,” said Boundary-Similkameen MLA Roly Russell. “For employers in rural communities, attracting and retaining employees can be a challenge. I’m so pleased to see OK College and universities across the Interior working to bridge these gaps, and am grateful that we’re able to support their work.”

The one-time funding will expand co-op and work-integrated learning programs and focus on placements in sectors impacted by the pandemic.

In total, 47 projects are being funded at all 25 public post-secondary institutions in B.C., creating up to 3,000 new co-op and work-integrated learning placements for students.

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Brendan Shykora
Reporter, Vernon Morning Star
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