At only 15 years old, Matias Hartwig has already created several technology apps including a digital tape measure that measures distance by sound waves.
Having fallen in love with technology at a young age, it was not a stretch for Hartwig, a W.L. Seaton Secondary student in Vernon, to enrol in Gateway to Tech, a collaborative program offered by Okanagan College and local school districts.
The program is helping high school students understand how current technology will shape their careers by offering a 17-week course exploring how various technologies function. While the program is offered at the College, students receive credits towards their high-school graduation.
The original funding for Gateway to Tech came from B.C.’s Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills and Training. Now, the innovative program is receiving a major boost with a $50,000 donation from RBC.
The funds will specifically help the College create a work-integrated learning component to Gateway to Tech when it is offered in Salmon Arm this spring. The addition of work-integrated learning will allow students to gain indispensable, real-world experience and connections with local technology companies before they graduate.
With this generous gift, RBC is demonstrating how much it values investing in youth to succeed in the careers of today and tomorrow
“With this generous gift, RBC is demonstrating how much it values investing in youth to succeed in the careers of today and tomorrow,” says Dennis Silvestrone, Okanagan College’s Director of Continuing Studies and Corporate Training.
“We know technology will significantly change our economy and more people will need coding and technical skills to meet the needs of our future workforce. The opportunity for students to work directly with local tech companies gives them a much better understanding of the skills they’ll need to be successful and contribute to our communities.”
The $50,000 investment comes from RBC’s Future Launch program. Future Launch is RBC’s commitment to empower Canadian youth to be prepared for the future of work, and they are dedicating $500 million to help young people access meaningful employment through work experience, skills development and networking.
We’ve found that cultivating a robust professional network is key to building a successful career
“We’ve found that cultivating a robust professional network is key to building a successful career,” said Mark Beckles, RBC Senior Director, Youth Strategy and Innovation.
“Research indicates that as many as 85 per cent of jobs are filled via networking, so we hope that through our partnership with Okanagan College on our RBC Future Launch initiative, we can help young Canadians make meaningful connections to bridge the gap between education and employment.”
For students like Hartwig, Gateway to Tech is only reaffirming his passion for computer science. Not only is he enjoying the program, he has big goals for his future.
“I want to develop something that people will use in their day-to-day lives,” says Hartwig.
Okanagan College’s Gateway to Tech program is currently running in Vernon with a Kelowna, Osoyoos and Salmon Arm intake this Spring.
To learn more about RBC’s Future Launch, click here.
Tyler Finley, Public Affairs | firstname.lastname@example.org