Forwarded by: Marek Filipiak

Let’s face it, we’ve all been there. Pondering the list of endless career paths and opportunities, trying to decide which style of post-secondary education will pay us greatest dividends in the long run. As a second-year student studying Marketing Management and Entrepreneurship at the British Columbia Institute of Technology, I can say that one thing has become perfectly clear; I made the right choice. From the small class sizes, access to industry instructors and networks, and the hands-on learning approach to solving real-world problems in a multitude of team settings, job-ready skills is an understatement.

With today’s rapidly changing job environment and competition as fierce as ever, we Millennials are now being forced to adhere to a new style of applied learning. Learning that’ll provide us with real-world experience. Learning that’ll set us apart from the rest. We’ve all heard the Catch 22, “you can’t get a job without experience, and you can’t gain experience without a job.” This is truer in 2015 than ever before.

One company in particular, Riipen, a Vancouver-based start-up, made it their mission to address this dilemma. As described by co-founder Dave Savory;

Riipen is a skill-building assessment platform that provides students with the ability to gain real-world experience through short-term, skill-specific industry projects and challenges. In addition, Riipen’s platform helps educators increase experiential learning and employment opportunities for their students by matching school projects to real organizations. – Dave Savory, Riipen Co-Founder & COO

Riipen’s platform, from a student’s perspective, has really opened the doors to furthering my career opportunities. By providing a unique way for students like me to interact with companies of interest, I’ve been able to take my education and apply it directly to these projects and challenges, in turn helping me build up my credibility as a young professional. Not to mention, each open challenge has a monetary incentive that makes a nice addition to any starving student’s bank account!

But Riipen has taken it one step further. Built by students for students, the founders understood the need to incorporate their services into post-secondary institutions. Knowing that students across the nation, like the ones at BCIT, are continuously working on projects and team assignments, they asked themselves, “why aren’t students being evaluated on their school work by industry as well?”. Like several newly introduced schools such as; UBC Sauder School of Business, Langara College, Schulich School of Business, Ryerson and Seneca College, Riipen is now coming to BCIT and SFU in January of 2016.

Like so many others, after completing countless hours of team and solo work, I find myself asking why companies aren’t seeing this real world experience and providing students with the necessary feedback to help foster continual working relationships. Thanks to Riipen, I’ll soon be able to put this question to rest.

Through the use of private branded portals for faculties, instructors and professors across North America are able to increase industry engagement for their students for the same projects they would otherwise be doing. Professors submit existing assignments that are then matched with organizations that want to participate; thereby providing better learning and career opportunities for their students. The skills within the assignment are then decoupled from the overall course and given an industry rating by the participating companies. Throughout their post-secondary education, students continue to complete class assignments with industry merit, building out their experience and connections to potential future employers. Ultimately making them much more employable upon graduation. –Dana Stephenson, Co-Founder & Chiief Connectiing Offiicer @ Riipen

It’s not only a win-win for students; companies also have a huge incentive to partner with Riipen. As organizations build their employer brand on campuses across the country, they begin curating talent pools of top candidates who have demonstrated superior potential. The next time they have to hire for a co-op, internship, or entry-level position, they now have a nurtured pool of pre-vetted candidates to choose from. This dramatically reduces campus-recruiting costs and ensures that only the best people are being hired. In turn, effectively minimizing employee turnover in their business.

Evidently, Riipen is paving the way for a new era. Living in dynamic environments with technological, economic and political changes happening in the blink of an eye, students need to be ready for this new age of employment.

You can start building your portfolio of experience and fostering relationships with organizations that matter to you most.