Work-integrated learning growing at COTR

Posted on
Work integrated learning team. Team consists of three individuals.
Work Integrated Learning Coordinators Rhonda Sheridan (L) and Jenn Smith (R), students, and faculty like Dr. Nicholas Kinar (centre) find the Riipen platform makes it easy to connect with the local business community to create WIL opportunities.

400 work-integrated learning experiences expected over next two years

College of the Rockies has been selected by RBC and Riipen’s REACH UP program to create 400 work-integrated learning (WIL) experiences for students over the next two academic years. Creation of those WIL experiences began in September.

Participation in the program provides the College with access to the Riipen platform to engage students in real industry projects, adding value to their education and future job search.

“Participating in WIL is so important for a balanced and complete educational experience,” said Stephanie Wells, Dean of Business and University Arts and Science. “Through the RBC REACH UP opportunity faculty can provide added value to their assignments for students wishing to work with a real industry client. The Riipen platform makes it easy for all parties to connect, collaborate, and create objectives that meet both educational and industry outcomes. We are also impressed with the support available to our faculty and local businesses which will deepen our connection to our community enabling our students to make a positive impact.”

Over the past few years, the College has embarked on increasing WIL related initiatives. Currently students can access WIL through their coursework in apprenticeships, co-operative education, applied research projects, and professional practicums/clinical placements.

“The Riipen platform is a new and exciting opportunity for students and instructors to connect with learning opportunities that are outside of the classroom,” said Nicholas Kinar, Geography and Geology instructor.  “In the past, student projects were simply graded by instructors and then set aside.  Student projects can now accrue additional societal benefit by helping students prepare for the workforce.”

WIL is also a provincial government priority and the College recently received three-year funding to further enhance and embed WIL across several programs and service areas. This provided funds to increase staffing to two coordinators who are actively working with faculty, students, and our local community on potential projects and work experiences.

About Riipen

Riipen is the world’s largest online work-integrated learning marketplace with a mission to end underemployment and close the skills gap. Riipen partners with governments, colleges, universities, and short-cycle training providers to provide authentic accessible online training for employment-focused skills and technical/professional proficiency. By connecting learners of all ages to employers from all sectors via customized Work-Integrated Learning (WIL) projects tailored to the individual needs of diverse learners, Riipen contributes to closing the skills gap for all learners.


About RBC Future Launch

RBC Future Launch is a 10-year, $500 million commitment to empower Canadian youth for the jobs of tomorrow. With a focus on networking, skills development, practical work experience and mental well-being support and services, the initiative aims to help break down the barriers facing young people.


About College of the Rockies

For more than 45 years, College of the Rockies has provided post-secondary education that meets the needs and aspirations of the people, industry, and businesses of our region. Each year, we welcome more than 10,000 full-time and part-time students into a full range of programs, including: skilled trades, university studies, adult upgrading, early childhood education, health and human services, business, office administration, tourism, hospitality, recreation, fire services, continuing education, and contract training. Through smaller class sizes, highly personalized instruction and dedicated support services, our students are primed to succeed in the job market, or in the next stage of their academic journey.

Media Contacts:
Heather Jackson
Manager, Communications and Marketing
College of the Rockies


John Wannemacher
VP Marketing