If you are interested in submitting a project proposal go to capstone.camosun.bc.ca see more
Camosun’s Information and Computer Systems Technology students are looking for Industry projects
Deadline for proposals: November 12, 2018
For over 30 years, Camosun’s Computer Science Department has been running Capstone Projects which successfully matched up industry, government and not-for-profit organizations with senior students in the Information and Computer Systems Technology diploma program. With newly acquired skills, these students are ready to design a software solution for many business problems and are looking for real-world experience to hone those skills.
The program is now seeking IT projects for students to begin requirements gathering in January with implementation completed in late June. There is no cost to submit a proposal. However, if you are selected as a sponsor there will be symposium fee and a commitment to spend a couple of hours every week with your student team to work on the project.
If you are interested in submitting a project proposal go to http://capstone.camosun.bc.ca and check out the information in the Handbook document and submit your project proposal by November 12, 2018.
For more information contact:
Chair, Computing Science, Camosun College
250 370 4451
The program hopes to address a gap in the industry with a novel approach for students. see more
Source: Times Colonist
Author: Spencer Harwood / The Canadian Press
UVic program preps students for tech world
A technology education program launching at the University of Victoria hopes to address a gap in the industry with a novel approach for students.
HighTechU is a pilot program developed through the university’s computer science department in partnership with Victoria’s technology and education sectors. It aims to develop skills in enterprising Vancouver Island teens to make them more effective in the tech industry, beyond the primary coding and technical abilities needed.
Andrew MacLean said he and program co-founder Ulrike Stege wanted to prepare students for the reality of the industry ahead of them, while making diversity a cornerstone of the program.
“It really focuses on the soft skills that go along with that career, and really focuses on workplace competencies for these students,” MacLean said.
“They get a sneak peek and to test drive a technology industry career before they even graduate from high school.”
HighTechU has two separate programs — the Computer Science Skills Academy, a six-week program that teaches coding and practical skills, and a summer industry internship program to give those students an eight-week, paid experience with a technology company in Greater Victoria.
MacLean said students enrolled in HighTechU are taught “soft skills” such as project management and personal communication to help them understand the breadth of roles in the tech sector.
Stege said there appears to be a perception of what working in the tech sector is like, which she said is not necessarily in line with reality. “It’s never been right and might still not be right. A program like ours will hopefully help to correct that,” she said.
MacLean said their mission is to impart to students how critical personal development is to a successful career in technology and that it’s as important as mastering the latest code language.
“It’s about how to be someone who’s not just building something, but someone who’s developing something and truly bringing it from start to finish,” said MacLean.
MacLean said HighTechU is a grassroots initiative that de-emphasizes students’ socio-economic backgrounds while it looks to narrow the diversity gap in the technology sector. They do this by focusing on groups that are underrepresented in the industry, such as women, Indigenous youth and people of colour.
“We have six core competencies we were looking for in students,” he said.
Those values of respect, resilience, teamwork, creativity, curiosity and innovation were specifically asked for by the industry partners who worked with MacLean and Stege through each step of their students’ application process, he noted.
MacLean said when they pitched the project initially it started out being a coding-primary program, until conversations with several industry partners revealed a different need.
They told MacLean they did not care as much about the technical skills as having balanced, flexible students. “They said ‘we’re looking for you to find those students that are self-motivated, passionate,”’ said MacLean, “their ‘big words’ were curious and passionate about technology, willing to learn and do the work and put in the time to be able to adapt to the changing situations [of the industry].”
MacLean likened their approach to the old truism of the fisherman. “If you teach one programming language, that’s great for the year that language is really popular. But then when the new programming language comes out, those students need to be able to learn on their own.”
MacLean said they worked with three school districts and several private schools in Greater Victoria to develop curriculum for the program. “A lot of the students that come through have done the computer science programs and are exceptional students before they come to us,” he said.
One of those students from an earlier pilot program, Bridget Weston, finished high school at Victoria High in June and is already working as an intern at Victoria tech firm Sendwithus. Weston will attend UVic’s software engineering program when classes resume.
MacLean said the demand from industry partners is so high that almost every teacher in the area would need additional training to continue educating in the field. “Schools think about it one way and we’re able to provide additional challenges that aren’t always possible in school,” said Stege.
The program is delivered at no cost to students beyond nominal registration fees and MacLean said the next group of students will be welcomed to HighTechU’s Academy program in February.
Nine students from Victoria and the Gulf Islands were selected to attend see more
Author: Nicole Crescenzi
Esquimalt High student gaining STEAM experience this summer
SHAD program offers young people opportunities to practice innovation
While summer vacation has just begun, 1,000 students from across Canada, including Emily Doerksen from Esquimalt High, have just finished their first week at a month-long educational opportunity.
SHAD is an award-winning program focused on enrichment and entrepreneurship in science, technology, engineering, arts and math (STEAM). High school students from across the country are selected to attend the program at one of Canada’s hosting universities, though this year even more diversity is added as the program runs at 16 host universities from coast to coast. This year the program runs July 1 to 27.
Nine students from Victoria and the Gulf Islands were selected to attend, and Doerksen is stationed at the University of Saskatchewan.
“It’s been really interesting, and nothing like I have learned in school,” she said during a break from the program’s exercises. “We’re an amazing group of people, we’re so passionate about similar things yet we’re all so different.”
Doerksen, who just finished Grade 11, first heard of the program from her cousin, who urged her to apply after having a great experience herself.
“I was so excited because I knew SHAD would push my limits in innovation, which I haven’t had a chance to do that at school,” Doerksen said.
In the first week, the 63 students on campus were divided into groups and given two smaller design projects focusing on helping people in northern Saskatchewan who lost their homes in a fire.
“We had to use designs with very limited supplies, and we’ve really been getting our ideas rolling with the project,” Doerksen said. “We’ve also had quite a few lectures that were very interesting on things like financial savings and how to be a good entrepreneur.”
The groups were also presented with a large final project that they will present at the end of the program, the theme of which is: building up resilience against natural disasters.
So far the experience has definitely met Doerksen’s expectations.
“Some of these exercises are really putting all of us out of our comfort zones, and I can already feel myself becoming more confident. I’m usually shy and don’t like sharing my own ideas, but in this group we can make amazing things we couldn’t do on our own.”
After the program wraps up, students will join the ranks of nearly 17,000 other SHAD alumni. For Doerksen, this is a stepping stone toward her post-secondary studies.
“I want to pursue something within the field of science,” she said. “I’m not sure which one, and that is also a big reason why I wanted to attend SHAD, because it helps us explore different fields.”
If you want a job in Greater Victoria, there is likely one waiting for you. see more
Source: CHEK News
As Greater Victoria businesses struggle to fill jobs, some are cutting hours
WATCH: If you want a job in Greater Victoria, there is likely one waiting for you. The unemployment rate in Victoria is the fourth lowest in Canada, and the lowest in B.C. But as Mary Griffin reports, businesses are struggling to find workers.
But they are outside soon when they find out the shop is closed.
The cafe at Victoria’s Fisherman’s Wharf is experiencing a shortage of workers. So it now closes hours earlier than usual.
Tourist Glen Rabuka was sitting outside Friday, sharing a coffee because he didn’t know the shop was closing early.
The coffee is good, and there is no one to serve it, I guess. And that is so unfortunate,” Rabuka said.
The economy in Greater Victoria is booming and that contributes to a worker shortage, according to Frank Bourree, principal of Chemistry Consulting of Victoria, a business and human resource consulting firm.
“We’ve been involved in employment business for about 25 years, here, and we’ve never seen it this severe in terms of shortages,” Bourree said.
He believes that the region is facing an employment crisis.
“It’s pretty much across all sectors. We’re seeing a lot of competition now between sectors for higher, and higher wages. So, people are leaving the tourism industry, and going to high-tech, or construction for higher wages often,” Bourree said.
Victoria’s unemployment rate of 4.2 percent, lower than Vancouver’s, and significantly lower than the national unemployment rate of six percent is the lowest in the province.
That translates into difficulties for employers.
“This is a structural problem. We’ve got a demographic challenge. We don’t have enough kids coming into the system. We’re not getting the migration, as I said, for a number of reasons. And we’re not getting enough immigration to this region. And that’s really the only solution to our labour shortage problem,” Bourree said.
According to Statistics Canada, the construction industry created 5,900 jobs from January 2017 to January 2018.
Another 2,900 in retail, and wholesale jobs. 2,400 jobs in finance-related positions, and 2,700 more jobs in education.
But the high cost of housing, transportation and childcare are challenges for workers and the companies that are cutting hours due to a lack of employees.
Outside the coffee shop, tourist George Sears says something is wrong when a business has to close in the middle of the day to deal with a staffing shortage.
“It’s a real twist, isn’t it? People want to be here. Visit here. And so, to not have a facility open after three p.m., or it’s two o’clock, isn’t it? It’s hard on the business,” Sears said.
Del Staveley is a tourist who intended on enjoying an afternoon coffee but was turned away.
“I think it’s unfortunate that the cost of living, the cost of getting a place to live is preventing people from getting jobs. Which is what it is,” Staveley said.
The Society awards ten scholarships annually to recognize women who are excelling at the study of... see more
Irving K Barber $10k Scholarships for Women in Tech
Recognizing Women Conquering Technology
The Society awards ten scholarships annually to recognize women who are excelling at the study of Computer Science, Engineering or Mathematics at the post-secondary level. At least one of these scholarships is dedicated to a woman of Aboriginal ancestry.
What You Should Know
You must have completed a minimum of one-year of full-time studies leading to an undergraduate degree, diploma or certificate in Computer Science, Engineering, or Mathematics, and be continuing in your studies at a BC public post-secondary institution for at least one additional year.
Women in Technology Scholarships and Aboriginal Women in Technology Scholarships are awarded on the basis of academic achievement (Minimum B+ GPA required), and a demonstrated commitment to the pursuit of a career in the Technology Sector.
The application deadline is 4:00pm Thursday, July 5, 2018.
Am I Eligible?
You can apply for a Women in Technology Scholarship or an Aboriginal Women in Technology Scholarship (or both – one application) if you have completed a minimum of one-year of full-time studies leading to an undergraduate degree, diploma or certificate in Computer Science, Engineering, or Mathematics, and will be continuing in your studies at a BC public post-secondary institution for at least one additional year.
Virtually every aspect of the city's tech scene is influenced in some way by UVic Engineering. see more
Author: Mitch Wright
Tech Sector's strength tied to UVic Engineering
UVic's Faculty of Engineering has been a part of Victoria's flourishing tech community from the very beginning. With students in co-op positions, faculty working with startups, and alumni as CEOs, virtually every aspect of the city's tech scene is influenced in some way by UVic Engineering.
The ACE program offered through UVic is receiving a $1-million donation from BMO. see more
Source: Times Colonist
Author: Carla Wilson
BMO donates $1M to Aboriginal entrepreneurs
A successful Aboriginal entrepreneurs program offered through the University of Victoria is receiving a $1-million donation from BMO Financial Group.
The Aboriginal Canadian Entrepreneurs (ACE) program has delivered entrepreneurial training to 26 First Nations communities in B.C. and has, so far, been focused in B.C.’s northwest and the Okanagan.
For the first time, ACE training is being offered on Vancouver Island starting this month. It is aimed at Indigenous artists throughout the Island who are keen to start or grow their endeavours.
Lianna Spence of Lax Kw’alaams, formerly known as Port Simpson, in B.C.’s northwest, is one of the 275 students who have completed the program. She attended the funding announcement at UVic Tuesday to talk about what the training meant to her. “I didn’t know anything about marketing, networking or writing a business plan but everything that I learned in this course has changed my life drastically.”
A lawyer taught Spence about the importance of contracts, and she learned about the need to keep her life in balance.
The ACE program not only helped in Spence’s career, but as an Indigenous leader in her community. “Every new professor who came in — my brain was like a sponge,” she said.
Spence, who has a 14-year-old daughter, carves, makes jewelry and recently became a tattoo artist in Prince Rupert, with a three-week waiting list. She raised the first totem pole in her village in more than 100 years and hosted her first feast, keeping in mind lessons from her training.
The 20-week ACE program was developed in 2013 in partnership with the Tribal Resources Investment Corp. and UVic’s Gustavson School of Business.
Brent Mainprize, a UVic business professor, said as the program becomes stronger, students are becoming more successful. So far, 72 businesses have been started and more than 30 graduates have moved on to more education. Another 128 are completing business plans.
Initiatives have involved artists, eco-tourism, taxis, trades businesses, coffee shops and music lessons.
Miles Richardson, executive director for the National Consortium for Indigenous Economic Development at UVic, said the donation underlines the notion of bringing together Indigenous governments, federal and provincial governments and industry to support people like Spence.
Richardson was at an ACE graduation in Prince Rupert attended by young people who needed skills and support. Program leaders worked with students, “helping them problem-solve, to get through the week, to get through the month, get through the program.”
In some communities, 60 to 70 per cent of employment relates to art, Richardson said.
“Learning business skills is going to be transformational. You don’t always have to bring it to a shop in Vancouver and have them double up the overhead. Maybe you can turn that money over in our communities, which is the beginning of having our own economy.”
Booths will be open 1-4pm with about 350 students visiting with more than 40 industry hosts on Feb 8 see more
Connect With Top Talent: Royal Roads launches fifth annual Career Development Conference
Victoria, BC – Employers can connect with Royal Roads University’s experienced and innovative students at the university’s fifth annual Career Development Conference Thursday, Feb. 8, 2018. The conference welcomes employers to join the university and its students for an interactive event where both students and employers can make new industry connections and glean business insights.
The conference features guest speakers, human resources and industry panels and student-employer networking booths. Booths will be open from 1 to 4 p.m., with about 350 students visiting with more than 40 industry booth hosts.
There is no cost to host a networking booth or attending any of the day’s sessions and activities.
Royal Roads University, a public university established in 1995, offers a progressive model of post-secondary education, delivering applied and professional programs. The university offers a blended learning experience combining online and on-campus instruction, as well as full time intensive on-campus instruction for undergraduate and graduate degrees, a doctoral degree, certificates and diplomas. It also offers progressive, professional continuing studies programs.
Natasha Dilay, Manager, Career Learning and Development
For media queries, contact:
Cindy MacDougall, Communications Officer
P 250-391-2600 x 4021
Event will feature stories & insights of business professionals, entrepreneurs & women in technology see more
Source: Times Colonist
Author: Andrew Duffy
SheBiz at St. Margaret’s School to expand horizons
As many as 200 young women will get a chance to peer into their own futures on Friday as St. Margaret’s School in Saanich plays host to SheBiz, a day-long program designed to expand the horizon for promising young students.
The program, which is being overseen by the Victoria chapter of Women in Capital Markets — a network of women in the Canadian capital markets — is in its sixth year and is making its first stop in Victoria.
According to Tamara Bonn, co-chair of WCM Victoria’s steering committee, the day will feature the stories and insights of business professionals, entrepreneurs and women in the technology sector. The hope is that it will open the eyes of young students to what is available to them beyond the traditional courses of study in university.
“Studies have shown that while young girls have really strong skill sets in STEM [science, technology, engineering and math], the reality is they are not going into those fields in university,” said Bonn, portfolio manager at TD Wealth. “One of the problems is they may not have female role models, or mentorship, to illustrate what a real-life career would look like for them.
“We want to make sure their eyes are open to the various options. And the skill sets women have are so desirable in our world right now, but it still seems like there are huge barriers for them.”
The event will run at St. Margaret’s for young women in Grades 10 and 11 from 10 area high schools.
There will be presentations from accomplished women from a wide variety of businesses, many of which might not have been on the radar for these students.
Cathy Thornicroft, head of St. Margaret’s School, said events like this are critical in giving young people a broader view of what might be possible.
“I think our young girls need direct contact with role models who have been successful in the fields of finance. I don’t think we are well represented in that field,” she said, adding that this is equally true of technology and entrepreneurship.
“I’m not sure if that’s due to confidence or the fact people haven’t told girls they are capable … and should be looking at these careers.”
Thornicroft said bringing together both finance professionals and the entrepreneurial set is uniquely Victorian.
“I think Victoria is different than places like Vancouver and Toronto, which have strong finance bases. Here there are huge opportunities for entrepreneurs, that’s the spirit of Victoria,” she said. “And if we can capture [the students] a bit earlier, we may be able to open their eyes to other opportunities.”
Bonn said events like this make a huge difference.
When she was starting out in Vancouver, having completed a finance and economics degree, she felt her options were limited.
“And I knew my skill set wasn’t aligned with accounting, but I didn’t feel like there was a lot of choice,” she said.
She kept asking questions of people in the finance industry, looking for pathways to different careers and learning what it would take to succeed.
It’s the kind of thing not taught at university, she said, noting that through her inquiries, she gained insight into what was required for her to forge a new career path.
“At 21, the next five jobs I had, I had never heard of before,” she said, adding it came down to finding role models who could light the way.
SheBiz, she said, is about passing that knowledge on. Bonn hopes that by sharing her story and telling students about the chances and risks she took, they might see what’s open to them.
“Sometimes the biggest thing they lack is not knowing what’s available to them,” she said.
Bonn admits that it’s difficult to judge the efficacy of things like SheBiz, though she said there has been some improvement in her own corporate world.
“Generally speaking, I do find myself the only female in the room a lot of the time,” she said.
“But it’s a little better now in the role I am in, now [that] it’s a senior role.”
Research hopes to get remote coastal communities off diesel-based power see more
Author: Travis Paterson
UVic draws $2.4M towards harvesting clean energy from the ocean
Research hopes to get remote coastal communities off diesel-based power
The influx of $2.4 million into clean energy is a stepping stone towards renewable energy alternatives for B.C.’s remote coastal communities and heavy-duty marine transportation companies.
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change Jonathan Wilkinson made the announcement at the University of Victoria on Thursday. About $1.4 million from the federally run Western Economic Diversification Canada will establish the Pacific Regional Institute for Marine Energy Discovery at UVic, which will strive to develop and commercialize wind, wave and tidal energy technologies.
“Clean energy is a critical piece of the [Canadian clean growth plan], the mechanisms are obviously different here than in Saskatchewan, and the marine side of it is something we’re very interested in,” Wilkinson said. “It’s an area still developing, it offers significant promises on both the West Coast and the East Coast, where they’re interested in tidal technologies.
“This type of technology offers the promise of being able to take [coastal communities] off diesel and put them on a renewable source.”
The other $1 million is coming from the Dennis and Phyllis Washington Foundation, in conjunction with Seaspan Shipyards, and will go to a green transportation research team at UVic. Mechanical engineer Zuomin Dong leads the team and will work with UVic’s Institute for Integrated Energy Systems to find ways clean energy use can be implemented in the heavy-duty marine, mining and transportation sectors.
Brad Buckham, mechanical engineer and lead with PRIMED, said the $1.4 million is the latest of many grants and will continue ongoing research that will eventually help remote coastal communities, including Indigenous communities, move away from using diesel fuel generators to produce electricity.
Buckham said the more money they can put towards current research models now will save money for the communities, and companies, who eventually install the wind and ocean propulsion technologies to provide them with electricity.
Among the projects PRIMED has worked with are the wave monitoring buoys and a turbine that monitors wind performance.
There are several of the yellow wave monitoring buoys anchored in the Salish Sea and one off of Sombrio Beach. The wind turbine, on the other hand, is land based (mounted on a trailer) but will give way to ocean-based turbines, said Curran Crawford, a UVic associate professor and researcher with UVic’s Institute for Integrated Energy Systems.
“Putting the turbines on the ocean gets them away from people and avoids the NIMBY [issue], plus there is a lot of wind offshore,” Crawford said.
As the costs of wind-produced power have come down, the West Coast of Vancouver Island is being eyed for turbines that either float, or are on a base driven below the sea, Cawford said.
“As we tackle the many challenges posed by climate change, our researchers are leading the way in sustainable energy research, working closely with governments, industry and community groups to foster clean growth and low-carbon economic development,” said UVic president Jamie Cassels. “We’re very grateful to the Dennis and Phyllis Washington Foundation and Seaspan for their investments in this vital work, which responds to one of our most significant national and global challenges.”
Help Startup Skool create more Kidprenuers and Tech Leaders in Victoria see more
Help Startup Skool create more Kidprenuers and Tech Leaders in Victoria
To date, Startup Skool has taught over 5,000 kids through in-school programs and summer camps (at UVic, UBC, and Centre For Digital Media) about entrepreneurship, design thinking and coding. These kids have generated over $103k from their businesses which have generously been donated to Free The Children to build classrooms and other local charities.
Currently, Startup Skool is looking for community and business leaders in Victoria to be "Friendly Dragons" for the Dragon's Den style pitches the kids do at the end of each camp. If you are interested, please email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information and datesIf you know any kids who would love to attend Startup Skool this summer, use promo code “tectoria777” to save $50 off camp registration for any 2017 camp:
The Victoria team was one of only three from Canada at the competition. see more
Source: Times Colonist
Author: Andrew Duffy
Greater Victoria students honoured in U.S. for robotics
A team of Greater Victoria high school students has jousted with iron giants and come away with top marks, after a global robotics competition in Texas last week.
The team, called 3491-FIX IT, comprised of students Guy Stoppi and Alec Krawciw of Mount Douglas Secondary, Helen Leslie from Victoria High, Aila Simpson from the Pacific School of Inquiry and Innovation and Benjamin Dam, a home-schooled student, won the First Tech Challenge competition’s Inspire Award, the highest honour available to recognize excellence in robot design and teamwork.
Simpson was singled out for a Dean’s List Award at the First Tech Challenge robotics contest, the first time a Canadian student has been selected.
“It was fantastic, amazing, phenomenal,” said team coach Christine Nicholls. “From our point of view, we are a small team in a small region and to come out ahead of the big teams with big corporate money behind them is amazing.”
Nicholls said there were about 7,000 teams vying to land one of 128 spots at the tournament in Houston. The Victoria team was one of only three from Canada at the competition.
“All of the credit goes to the students,” she said, noting they were over the moon when they won. “They were absolutely stunned.”
And they all now have a taste of creating, designing and engineering a machine, which is the idea behind the First program and competition.
First is a not-for-profit organization designed to inspire young people to look at a future in science and high-tech.
The First Tech Challenge, which challenges teams to design, build, program and operate robots to compete in a head-to-head challenge, brought together 1,200 international students to pit their engineering and design skills against each other.
“First is all about getting kids interested in careers in science and technology,” said Nicholls. She noted First has had success on that front with its studies showing one in every three young women who take part go on to engineering studies, and most of the students involved go on to university.
Eric Jordan, chief executive of gaming company Codename Entertainment and one of the team’s sponsors, said this kind of competition can only bode well for the tech sector. “Robots are cool. They are a great way to get high school students excited about careers in tech,” Jordan said. “The industry currently forecasts that by 2021 there will be an unmet job demand of 30,500 and this program is one of the ways in which we will address this unmet need.”
Nicholls said the Inspire Award came down to the team’s overall excellence as it placed highly in all judged categories ranging from aesthetics, innovative design, engineering through to community outreach. But the robot, called Fermion, also had to perform. “At the start of every match the robot has to fit inside an 18”x18”x18” box and once the match starts it can open out,” she said, noting it then has to pick up a series of balls on a course, shoot them, and pick up a large yoga ball and balance it on a metre-high stand.
The team is fine tuning their robot for the FIRST Global Championships in Houston, Texas April 19-22 see more
Source: CHEK TV
Victoria robotics team qualifies for world championships in Texas
“Fermion” is a remote-controlled robot designed, built, programmed and maintained by a group of Victoria high school students.
“A lot of people think it’s very cool,” said team member Aila Simpson.
The students from Mount Douglas Secondary School, Victoria High and the Pacific School of Innovation and Inquiry are part of a local robotics team called FIX-IT 3491.
The team is fine tuning their robot for the FIRST Global Championships in Houston, Texas on April 19 to 22.
“We work with new mechanisms and programs that we have and update our strategy for each competition” said Simpson.
128 teams from around the world will be competing in the three-day tournament.
The Victoria team is one of only two teams from Canada to quality for the championships.
The top award will be given to the overall best team based on robot design and performance, as well as community outreach, engineering skills and teamwork.
“You get your robot to do autonomous things during the match,” said team member Guy Stoppi. “You can program really cool things into your robot which we’ve tried to do this season.”
It’s not just about tech and robots – the students also learn valuable life skills from being on the team.
“We work on everything from time management to team building,” said coach Christine Nicholls. “We talk about how to source parts and how to fundraise.”
The team’s talents have garnered sponsorship from several local technology companies and organizations, including Codename Entertainment.
“We need the next generation of students to get excited about working with technology in the future,” said Codename Entertainment CEO Eric Jordan. “Cool robots is a great way to do that.”
The team is raising funds to cover their competition expenses through the FIX-IT 3491 team website.