TELUS, SAP, Sony Imageworks among leading companies talking to teens about careers in BC’s booming tech industry
On January 11, 2017, JA British Columbia (JABC) hosted its inaugural JABC TechWorks, a full day program aimed at teens to expose them to the career possibilities in the technology sector. TELUS was the lead presenting sponsor and content was sponsored by the Ministry of Technology, Innovation and Citizens’ Services.
300 teens from high schools throughout Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley attended this full-day event at SFU in downtown, Vancouver. The morning program consisted of engaging speakers, demos and several interactive periods where students had to vote or answer questions using their smartphones. The afternoon program consisted of breakout sessions which students had pre-selected according to their interests. Topics included Virtual Reality, Special Effects and Animation, Women in Technology and IoT.
The tech sector is growing at twice the pace of BC’s overall economy and recent media reports warn that the talent shortfall is constraining the industry’s potential as an economic driver in BC. As companies such as Microsoft, Amazon and Sony compete for talent, salaries are growing and are reportedly 75% higher than the average provincial job. According to Jan Bell-Irving, President & CEO of JABC, the urgent need for more qualified graduates to enter these jobs was the impetus to host JABC TechWorks.
“As JA works to inspire and prepare youth for career success, we were motivated to help students see the rewards and advantages of technology careers,” says Bell-Irving. “Having tech representatives share the range of career options and their own experiences is illuminating. JABC TechWorks was designed with our technology partners to capture the imagination of students and begin the discussion so students could envision the educational roadmap required to attain these careers. So when students select next year’s high school course selections later this month, they will have a better understanding of the relevance between class work and career work and can develop a more informed plan that helps them attain their goals.”
As a first-year education initiative, JABC partnered with many growing and leading BC technology firms to develop this technology-focused, work readiness program event. Using the JA Economics for Success program as a precursor, the event builds on the in-school program to maximize learning outcomes for this full day program.
“I’m proud to work at TELUS, where our team members are passionate about education, technology and giving where we live,” says Arleen King, Senior Vice President, Customer Experience at TELUS. “It’s especially exciting to partner with organizations like JABC who are making a big impact when it comes to improving the lives of youth and their families in BC and across Canada.”
“Tech careers are exploding in B.C. and it’s important to inspire youth to pursue these up-and-coming opportunities,” said Amrik Virk, Minister of Technology, Innovation and Citizens’ Services. “Our government is helping grow talent through our #BCTECH Strategy by re-engineering education from kindergarten through to post-secondary, to ensure students are getting the knowledge, work experience and exposure to work in tech.”
Students heard from senior representatives of tech companies throughout the day as well as entrepreneurs who shared their career paths at start-up leaders. During the lunch plenary, special guest speaker Gordon Li, Director of Learning Technologies and District Outreach for the Ministry of Education spoke about the significant role technology is playing in BC’s educational transformation.
Bell-Irving reports JABC hopes to expand the event next year and utilize technology to bring the program to schools and students outside Metro Vancouver.
List of Speakers
- Shaun Wysiecki – Master of Ceremonies
- Arleen King, Senior Vice President, Customer Experience, TELUS
- Rocky Ozaki, Vice President, Community, BC Tech Association
- Irina Belova, Senior User Experience Designer, Clio
- Finger Food Studios
- Mark Cunningham, Founder and CEO, Stytch
- Jeff Smith, Chief Operating Officer, Mobify
- Gordon Li, Superintendent of Technology for Ministry of Education
- Sarah Lubik, Director of Entrepreneurship, SFU
List of Breakout Sessions
- Virtual Reality, presented by TELUS
- Fun with IoT and SAP, presented by SAP
- Powering BC, presented by BC Hydro
- It’s not Rocket Science (Actually, it is!), presented by MDA
- Super Hero Plasmids, presented by Genome BC
- Women in Technology, presented by Deloitte
- Visual Effects and Animation, presented by Sony Imageworks
Twitter: @JA_of_BC | #jabctechworks
List of Technology Demos
- BC Hydro
- Canada Youth Robotics Club
- Finger Food Studios