Students demonstrate their web-enabled drone, known as Avian, to Amrik Virk, (centre) Minister of Technology, Innovation and Citizens’ Services.

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SFU co-op students, young innovators to benefit from BCIC Tech Works

May 27, 2015
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Simon Fraser University’s co-operative education students and young entrepreneurs will be among those to benefit from provincial government funding that will enhance students’ workplace skills and help them explore future career options.

Amrik Virk, Minister of Technology, Innovation and Citizens’ Services, visited the Surrey campus on May 25 to announce $6 million for BCIC Tech Works, which will be delivered through the BC Innovation Council.

The BCIC Innovator Skills Initiative and the BC Tech Co-Op Grants program will use the funding to provide training opportunities for co-op students at B.C. technology companies.

Muriel Klemetski, director of SFU Co-operative Education, says, “B.C.’s post-secondary co-op programs are delighted that the provincial government has chosen to support our co-op employers and students.

“We anticipate the grant will provide an incentive to recruit co-op students.”

During the announcement Michelle Sinclair, manager of SFU’s Venture Connection, which is supported by Coast Capital Savings, welcomed the news and the future opportunities for students, employers and particularly young innovators whose ideas could potentially help smaller companies grow.

Two Venture Connection clients, Avian Robotics, creators of a 3D-printed security drone and OraScents, creators of an app that distributes and regulates scents in the home, demonstrated their products.

SFU’s co-op program has been placing students in a wide range of work experiences since it was established 40 years ago. Between 2011 and 2014, the program created more than 8,500 placements. Student applications to co-op jobs rose from 37,776 in 2010-2011 to 56,647 to 2013-2014, an increase of nearly 70 per cent.

In 2013-2014, B.C.'s 15 universities, colleges and institutions placed 11,870 students in co-op positions.