While many companies are familiar with the traditional 4-month and 8-month (or longer) co-op work terms many post-secondary students participate in, the value of shorter work terms cannot be overlooked, particularly for start-up and scale-up companies. The Technology Alberta FIRST Jobs WIL Program has secured over 750 work placements of varying length, with Alberta tech companies of varying sizes and stages.

The FIRST Jobs Program began with a part-time-while-in-school work placement program (10 hours/week), a 200-hour work term in April 2021, and then added a 250-hour (and longer work terms) in Spring 2023.

Company feedback on the value of the shorter placements – was that it provided them the opportunity to test different approaches and cultural fits, and to hire more students. What a way to grow innovation and talent at the same time!

Technology Alberta Jobs Program Interim Impact Report
“I think 200 hours, that’s great because sometimes [as a] start-up, we don’t need a lot of hours to experiment [with] something, but we actually need a specific skill set that we don’t have and [a] student will be perfect for that kind of project. We experiment, we see if it works, we continue. If it doesn’t, we change.”.
Mark Li
Co-Founder
“The 200 and 250 hour [programs] worked out quite well for us because we’re able to get more students involved. …[In] game development there’s multiple disciplines, so we’re hiring one environment artist, one animator, one character rigger, and they’re working across the projects.”
Dan Pigat
Co-Founder

Community Feedback

Often it can be hard for students to find a job that works well with their schedule or even discover a job that aligns with their long-term goals. Through this program, the job search process has been simplified, making it easier for the student to find the right job for themselves.”
FIRST Jobs
Student