HyperTalent tackles the B.C. tech talent shortage

HyperTalent is one of our Capacity Building pilot projects  focused on tackling the B.C. tech talent shortage. This project is demystifying technology for  K-12 educators and connecting with Indigenous youth. Led by BC Tech, this project brings together an impressive and diverse group of partners all committed to building our tech talent base:  Vancity, BCIT, Accenture, SAP, Microsoft, Providence Health Care, Vancouver School Board, Unbounce and Arrow Lakes School District.  

In partnership with the Vancouver School Board, the project has hosted four workshops  with educators showing them pathways to current and future tech careers for their students, key technology trends and tours of leading tech companies in Vancouver, such as Microsoft and SAP. HyperTalent expanded the project reach with educators beyond Metro Vancouver, and worked with the Arrow Lakes School District, a region that is determined to  showcase career opportunities in tech for students in remote communities. This workshop included design thinking to help students and educators create solutions to problems specific to their region, such as forest fire monitoring and water level detection for fish stocks.  

Through these workshops 126 educators  learned more about  what it means to have a job in technology built confidence in the educators in  speaking with students about future career opportunities. The teachers also walked away with a strong commitment to  promoting the program and integrating it within their school curriculum.   

Video courtesy of BC Tech Association

With less than 1 per cent of tech jobs in B.C. held by Indigenous people, HyperTalent realized that there is a material imperative and  opportunity to develop and promote Indigenous talent in the tech sector. Earlier this year, BC Tech worked with BCIT’s Indigenous Initiatives and Partnerships unit to develop an internship program to connect Indigenous youth to job opportunities. Twelve student interns were placed with organizations across the province, working in a variety of specializations, including UX/UI, digital marketing, software development and sales. Through these internships, students were able to leverage the skills and knowledge learned in the classroom and use them in a hands-on, work environment.  

As a result of the internship program, two students have been hired full time, including Sheldon McRae, who is now the Sales and Marketing Operations Manager at Fatigue Science.  Internship opportunities play a crucial role in bridging the gap between students and employers, by creating a pathway to the workforce and allowing students to be set up for success.  

HyperTalent’s two-fold approach in addressing the tech talent shortage highlights the importance of educating students and teachers about the tech industry as well as promoting greater diversity in our workforce. As the HyperTalent project begins to wrap up in the Supercluster program, the consortium hopes to build on their momentum and share the program and the resources they have developed, so that it can have a lasting impact with educators and Indigenous youth across Canada.