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New Talent/Challenge Matching Program Aims to Solve Real-World Problems

September 30, 2019 – 5:30pm

VI Solutions, a partnership between VIU and Innovation Island, is a chance for students to solve problems and generate new ideas for Island employers.


Are you looking for a creative solution that will enhance operational efficiencies or is talent recruitment an issue your organization is currently facing or expects to face in the near future? VI Solutions seeks to bridge the gap between students and organizations in the mid-Island region.

A unique new program that aims to connect students directly with employers to solve problems and generate new ideas for growth is seeking organizations to partner with.

VI Solutions, a partnership between Vancouver Island University (VIU) and Innovation Island, aims to match organizations with an opportunity or challenge they want explored over the next year with students from several different disciplinary backgrounds.

The initiative was inspired by what organizations said during the 2018 Labour Roundtable Discussions facilitated by VIU’s Centre for Experiential Learning (CEL) in collaboration with the Greater Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce, Vancouver Island Economic Alliance (VIEA) and other community partners.

“Central Island employers expressed concerns and challenges with recruiting and retaining talented employees,” says David Woodward, Work Integrated Learning Coordinator with the CEL. “This initiative started with employers wanting better connections with students for the purpose of succession planning, recruitment and idea generation, as well as improved links with the VIU academic community overall.”

Both employers and students need to apply to be part of the program. Once all the challenges are in, VI Solutions will help organize multi-disciplinary teams of students to tackle each challenge. Up to two teams per challenge will be selected, and teams will be paired with mentors as they work through the challenge.

“Are you looking for a creative solution that will enhance operational efficiencies? Have you found yourself in a team meeting saying something like, ‘Wouldn’t it be great if we had something that would …?’ Is talent recruitment an issue your organization is currently facing or expects to face in the near future? If the answer is yes to any of these questions, then this initiative may be of interest to you,” says Woodward.

VI Solutions hopes to select the challenges and pair student teams with each challenge over the fall semester. In April, the teams will present their findings to the organization, the greater community and a panel of judges, and winners will be selected. The top three teams will receive a prize.

“It’s very much like a case competition, giving students valuable, hands-on, real-world work-integrated learning experiences, while employers gain creative solutions or innovative ideas that could help them develop opportunities,” says Woodward. “The hope is that – at the end of this process – employers have some solutions that can be implemented for their benefit as well as generating co-op, internship or regular employment opportunities for VIU students.”

Graham Truax, Executive Director of Innovation Island, says this initiative is about bridging the gap between the next generation of community leaders and organizations eager to embrace new strategies and technologies into their business practices.

“VI Solutions presents an exciting interface between students and commercial interests, addressing challenges that seek to deliver innovative solutions coming from the next generation,” he says.


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