The Work Integrated Learning Program

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The Work Integrated Learning Program

A new educational model for Canada

The WILP model engages the private sector to invest and train their future workforce as a means to further Canada's global competitiveness and success. This is regarded as a structural evolution to Canada's model for post-secondary education, and a strategic long-term investment in Canada's workforce.

In the WILP model, private sector investment supplements public sector funding in education/training. Private sector companies work collaboratively with post-secondary institutions to develop curriculum that bridges the existing gap between the knowledge and skills needed by the Canadian private sector and those currently found in university and college graduates. The hosting company plays an active role in teaching that curriculum.

Siemens Canada is the prime developer, implementer, and tester of the WILP model in the manufacturing sector.  The learning garnered from Siemens' experiences will be adopted into a WILP model that can be applied to additional sectors of the economy, more post-secondary institutions and more regions of Canada.

The WILP model

  • Canada is better able to compete globally; helping to deliver a globally competitive workforce
  • Eliminates current and future skill gaps; an ongoing program that identifies and addresses skills gaps keeps Canada adaptable for whatever new competencies are required
  • Enhances innovation through collaboration; students and partner schools create powerful platforms for collaborative research and innovation
  • Enhances productivity; students graduating post-secondary schools will have the training needed to be productive quickly. This will advance companies time to market.
  • Reduces student debt; the private sector offers generous compensation (benefits,  salary, tuition), allowing students to more quickly relieve the burden of student debt
  • Enhances academic studies; provides context and relevance to students' academic studies
  • Increases student's employability; students are better able to successfully compete for top jobs
  • Reduces employee churn; both employers and students have a chance to ensure there's a technical and cultural 'fit' between them
  • Promotes knowledge transfer within the company; through reverse mentoring the company's workforce stays aware of new developments
  • Respond quickly to changing skill needs; companies can benefit by responding quickly to their changing skills needs
  • Informs core curriculum change in line with industry needs at little risk
  • Companies place the tools/technologies/processes required for today's knowledge/skill needs in the hands of partner schools

The WILP Difference

The following chart compares the role stakeholders have in the current post-secondary educational model, to their role in the WILP Model.

Current Educational Model

The WILP Model


Fund educational institutions

+ Provides seed funding for start-up and operation of WILP
+ Promotes the concept of Work Integrated Learning (WIL) and the importance of better integration of, and career opportunities for youth in the workplace

Pay tuition to partner school

Do not pay tuition for WILP:
+ they are paid by company as full time hire 
+ remaining two years of academic tuition is paid by company
+ WILP mentor experience provides real-life application of education 
+ WILP learning is designed to be cumulative/additive - across WILP courses, WILP years


Hires and mentors students for co-op terms in work environment

+ designs curriculum according to sector needs
+ delivers curriculum in school-like setting (incl. mentor experience in work environment)
+ commits to possible full-time jobs upon completion
+ integrates students as 'full employees' assigned to dedicated and competent mentors
+ broad participation of existing company workforce as mentors, influencing culture change

Post-Secondary Educational Institutions

Designs and delivers curriculum for
school terms. May have co-op program
+ Works with sector/company to validate WILP curriculum
+ Works with sector/company to offer complementary WILP curricula for students during school terms that better matches skill requirements
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