Student stories

Federal funding helping Canada’s students and industries grow

Paul Formanek

JSF Technologies

Canada’s Student Work-Integrated Learning Program (SWILP) is providing $73 million in funding to help bridge students into the workforce as part of an effort to create a more innovative economy. Funding is provided through Employment and Skills Development Canada, and administered by select organizations in the science, technology, engineering and business sectors. 

Saanich-based manufacturer of solar-powered traffic signals JSF Technologies secured funding through ECO-Canada, the organization managing applications for the environmental and sustainability sector. JSF used this funding bring co-operative education (co-op) student Paul Formanek onboard as a software engineer over the fall term.

“SWILP funding has helped us to fill a position that we would otherwise be challenged to find the resources for,” says Valerie Foster, CEO of JSF Technologies. “It has also allowed us to more easily hire students, who are always very keen to learn and to contribute new ideas.”

The funding has also been invaluable in helping Formanek, a third-year student, gain hands-on learning experience. “As this is my first co-op placement, it’s really helped me build connections that I wouldn’t otherwise have at this early stage in my career,” he says. As a software engineer, Formanek helps program the company’s lights and signals to operate and collect data, and does research and development for new products. 

Working at JSF has been fundamental in helping Formanek learn about technology as a business. “I know that I enjoy the logic behind software engineering, and creating software to collect data and interact with the real world,” says Paul. “But learning how a technology company operates, how the different departments all work together to produce the final product, that’s been amazing.”

Formanek’s experience with JSF has inspired him to carry on with environmentally conscious companies, and to continue working with renewable resources like solar energy. 

JSF is also a big advocate of the SWILP experience. “Applying for funding was incredibly simple,” says Foster. “I strongly encourage anyone who has not applied for SWILP funding, and is eligible, to do so. The infusion of new talent into our research pool through hiring co-op students has been invaluable.”

Where to apply for funding

Employers in the environmental industry who are interested in hiring a co-op student through SWILP can learn more and apply at eco.ca/coop-program. Employers in the bio-technology, information technology and aerospace industries can visit uvic.ca/coopandcareer/empfunding to learn about the full range of SWILP funding opportunities. 

Co-op students can also learn about SWILP funding at uvic.ca/coopandareer/funding.

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