Industry Services: 6 ways organizations can work with BCIT students

Nothing drives a business forward like a fresh perspective—and that’s precisely what students bring to the table. It’s therefore no surprise that across the province, companies are seizing the chance to work with BCIT students. There are several opportunities for them to do so, thanks to the wide selection of programs co-created by industry, for industry.

This long-standing partnership between BCIT and the business community helps prepare the next generation for a changing world. When they graduate, students transition seamlessly to the workplace, providing a wide, deep pool of the talent and knowledge today’s organizations need to compete and thrive.

The long-term benefits of collaborating with BCIT students speak for themselves—but there are plenty of short-term advantages too. Students contribute diverse voices, novel views, and invaluable insights, helping companies solve business-critical challenges. Knowing this, here are some ways that organizations and companies can collaborate with the workforce of the future.

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1. Internships and practicums

Both internships and practicums bring BCIT students into your organization to fulfill a certain function, but they are distinct: 

  • Internships are junior-level positions that help students understand the roles and responsibilities in your company or industry. Often spanning several months, these paid positions ask students to work a set number of hours per week. 
  • Practicums allow students to work as members of your organization to complete specific projects or conduct research. You can recruit students for a practicum at your organization, but in some programs, a student might reach out with a proposal.

While there are opportunities for organizations across all industries, internships have always been a popular choice among many businesses—and especially media companies. At BCIT, internships are a mainstay in marketing, digital design, and radio and television programs. Likewise, popular practicums include entrepreneurship, sales, and tourism management. 

If you’re interested in sponsoring an internship, applications normally begin in November, and students begin their placements in March. But as mentioned before, it can differ from one faculty or discipline to the next. For instance, the School of Health Sciences provides practicum opportunities for students in nursing, prosthetics, orthotics, and biomedical engineering—to name a few—and each has its own requirements. Computer Information Technology students, meanwhile, can do an internship at various parts of the year, as long as they are paid, involve at least 10 hours of work per week, and run for at least 15 weeks.

2. Co-op programs

While internships and practicums provide part-time workers who divide their time between your organization and their studies, a Co-operative education (Co-op) program gives you a full-fledged, full-time employee. Co-op students have to complete a semester or more in the workplace, gaining real-world and hands-on experience, as part of their graduating requirements.

BCIT works with you to find a student who fits your organization. In many cases, they may already be well-trained, with a certificate, diploma, or degree. They take on a paid position with your team, and their performance is evaluated by you and by their program supervisors.

There’s a huge range of fields that offer co-operative education, from automotive services and computer systems to marine engineering, nautical sciences, and interior design. View a more extensive list of Co-op programs, or connect with the Centre for Workplace Education at BCIT to learn more.

3. Apprenticeships

If your company specializes in the skilled trades, BCIT students are possibly the best talent pool in the province. Numerous courses prepare students for an apprenticeship in the workplace, including over 20 Foundation programs which can be completed in less than a year and qualify as the first level of ITA training.

To recruit an apprentice for your organization, all you have to do is pick the dates that are most convenient for your work plan, submit a Training Request Form, and pay a small commitment fee which is put towards your apprentice’s tuition.

Students from the Foundation programs have the knowledge and skills necessary to work onsite right from their first day on the job, making them popular among employers. The fields that feature these programs are also diverse, spanning construction, transportation, electrical, and mechanical trades.

4. Business Consulting Projects

Whereas full-time Co-op programs and part-time internships are formal positions within your organization, Business Consulting Projects are not. These engagements connect you with two or three students who help analyze a specific problem. If you have a business challenge that can be addressed within a well-defined scope of work, then a Business Consulting Project could be a proactive and productive way to help solve it.

Students perform in-depth research into your company’s issue, delivering a written report and a presentation that details their process, findings, and recommendations. Companies that have taken advantage of this program repeatedly affirm that it provides value far beyond what they had originally anticipated.

Business Consulting Projects are organized by the School of Business + Media, in areas such as marketing, human resources, business operations, IT, and sustainable business, with most of them taking place between January and May.

5. Capstone projects

For highly technical fields such as electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, and robotics, it’s not enough to master the relevant knowledge and skills. Students need to be able to put together a complex project that responds to industry needs, and businesses can collaborate with them on real-world issues and use cases.

These capstone projects are essential for most engineering students. Working alone or with teams—and always with the support of a faculty supervisor—they design, develop, execute, and manage a large engagement. This typically involves in-depth consultation with experts and professionals in their area of study, such as you and your team.

Not all capstone projects are student-led. You can formulate an Industry Sponsored Capstone Project (ISCP) for students in their final year of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Technology department at BCIT, providing a low-cost and low-risk way to explore a challenge facing your organization, and connect with a pool of possible job candidates.

6. Industry Sponsored Student Projects

Separate from an ISCP are Industry Sponsored Student Projects (ISSPs). These are built into many of the computing programs at BCIT, in areas such as DevOps, AR and VR, AI and machine learning, coding and technical writing, and gaming. Some students may complete multiple ISSPs before they graduate.

Today, all industries depend on technology, so if you require problem solving, research and development, engineering, or proof-of-concept related to computing, submit your project to BCIT.

Regardless of what type of business challenge you have, BCIT students are willing and able to put in the time, the work, the research, and the resources to discover a creative solution. Businesses who work with them report high satisfaction and success, and often return year over year to commission new projects—and build new relationships with tomorrow’s top talent. 

Learn more about the Industry Services offered by BCIT.

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