Looking back at 2020, Riipen celebrates 7 years

On December 13th, 2020, Riipen celebrated its seven-year anniversary! 2020 has brought with it many challenges, but also many opportunities. Though there is still a long way to go to achieve our mission of ending graduate underemployment globally, we have made strides towards that goal. As the year draws to a close, we would like to take the time to reflect on some of the key highlights from our year:
December 18, 2020
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On December 13th, 2020, Riipen celebrated its seven year anniversary! 2020 has brought with it many challenges, but also many opportunities. Though there is still a long way to go to achieve our mission of ending graduate underemployment globally, we have made strides towards that goal. As the year draws to a close, we would like to take the time to reflect on some of the key highlights from our year:

Year in review:

  • 80% increase in student experiences
  • 25,876 total experiences delivered in 2020
  • Team Riipen grows to 82 people
  • Riipen worked with 25 virtual interns
  • Launch of Virtual Internships
  • Removed barriers for Industry Partners as a response to COVID-19
  • Response to Black Lives Matter
  • Launch of Phase 2 with RBC Future Launch giving 16 additional post-secondary institutions access to Riipen with a goal of 6,000 more work-integrated learning experiences.
  • BHER partnership to deliver 12,000 new work-integrated learning experiences across Canada with a focus on under-represented students.
  • Launch of our own publications: Newsletter, Whitepaper, and a Green Paper
  • Partnership with Pearson Education to deliver more work-integrated learning to students and bring 400 new challenges, activities, and assignments to the Riipen platform
  • Partnership with Outcome Campus Connect to provide skills development and job opportunities to students

Student experiences:

In 2020, we saw an 80% growth in work-integrated learning experiences delivered for students. This year we saw a total of 25,875 experiences delivered globally. Students all over the world were able to gain hands-on experience, gain career clarity, and better prepare themselves for their future careers.

Team Riipen grows:

Team Riipen is continuing to grow and, in 2020, we welcomed several new members bringing our team up to 82 people - a 71% increase from last year. On top of this growth, Riipen welcomed a total of 25 virtual interns to the team over the course of 2020.

Launch of virtual internships:

As businesses and non-profits had to quickly adapt to the ongoing pandemic, internships and placements for students were no longer guaranteed. Post-secondary institutions saw a drop in opportunities with the closing of physical offices which resulted in a shortage of support for businesses at a critical time and for students across the nation.

As an alternative to traditional in-person placements, Riipen launched virtual internships to provide students and companies a safe and efficient method for connecting. 

COVID-19 response:

The COVID-19 pandemic shook the world and required organizations everywhere to quickly adapt. In response to the pandemic, Riipen released a new offering to create a cost-effective and barrier free way for employers and institutions to engage in meaningful work-integrated learning with students during an unprecedented time.

Black Lives Matter response:

Riipen continues to stand with the black community against racism, violence, and hate. As an education company dedicated to removing barriers and striving for equal opportunity for all, we released a library of curated resources that can be used to educate yourself and those around you on anti-racism, the Black Lives Matter movement, and how to be an ally. That library can be found here.

Team Riipen also donated $1,400 to Reclaim the Block and $1,400 to Black Youth Helpline. We encourage you to contribute if you are able as this is a fight we continue to support and partake in. #BlackLivesMatter

Phase 2 in partnership with RBC Future Launch:

In 2019, we announced our partnership with RBC Future Launch and in 2020 we have entered phase 2 of this partnership. During phase 1, over 5,400 students at 14 post-secondary institutions across Canada gained access to work-integrated experience. Phase 2 has expanded that reach to include an additional 16 post-secondary institutions across Canada with the goal of delivering 6,000 more work-integrated learning experiences. The institutions participating in phase 2 along with more information on the partnership can be found here

BHER partnership:

Thanks to a $2.6 million dollar investment from the Government of Canada, Riipen has partnered with The Business + Higher Education Roundtable (BHER). With this, Riipen has promised to deliver 12,000 new work-integrated learning experiences across Canada by March 2022. With the introduction of the pandemic, BHER and Riipen are working to support thousands of Canadian students by giving students, regions, and employers increased access to work-integrated learning, focusing on under-represented students and students living in rural and remote areas. If you are interested in learning more about this partnership, you can do so here.

Riipen’s publications:

In 2020 Riipen also launched our own publications including:

  • Bi-Weekly Newsletter:  The Riipen Report curates the best and breaking in higher education, future of work, and experiential learning.
  • Whitepaper: “A Practical Guide to the Digital Transformation of Experiential Learning: 21st Century Skills Needed For The Future of Work”. Discover how to scale experiential learning across your institution with practical examples to help you tackle this challenge head on.
  • Green Paper: “Employer-University Collaboration: From 2020’s Quick Fixes to Future Transformation”. In collaboration with Emerge Education and JISC, learn specific strategies of leading innovators in implementing employer-university collaborations at scale.

Pearson Education partnership:

In March of 2020, Riipen partnered with Pearson, the world’s learning company, to bring more work-integrated learning opportunities to students’ curriculum in Canada. The announcement can be seen here. Along with this partnership, Pearson is working to bring 400 new challenges, activities and assignments to the Riipen platform for students to access. 

Outcome Campus Connect partnership:

In October of 2020, Riipen partnered with Outcome Campus Connect, a skill development and job opportunity network working to provide work-integrated learning experiences to students. OCC is a partnership formed between Orbis and Magnet and is already working with 100+ campuses. Riipen, in collaboration with OCC, will work to deliver learning opportunities to students across Canada. More can be found on the partnership, OCC, Orbis, and Magnet here.

Awards & recognition:

Riipen was honored to be recognized for our work by a number of organizations this year including:

Press & news:

As Riipen continues to grow, we have been featured in a number of online publications such as Forbes, The Globe and Mail, and EdSurge. See some featured articles below:

  • Forbes: “For This Year’s Graduates, A Year of Purpose”
  • Forbes: “A Pandemic Silver Lining? Reimagined Career Services For Students”
  • The Globe and Mail: “Some Employers Are Finding Innovative Ways to Maintain Student Hiring”
  • Techcouver: “Student Are About To Enter The Most challenging Job Market, Riipen Steps Up”
  • The PIE News: “Don’t Cancel Summer Internships - Redesign Them”
  • EdSurge: “As Cities Axe Summer Youth Work Programs, Here Are Alternatives to Consider”
  • Business Insider: “Cord Cutting and Unbundling Caused A Massive Shakeup In The TV Industry The Same Type of Change is Coming to Colleges”.


2020 was an incredibly testing year for all and unlike anything that we could have predicted. In the midst of the changes and challenges that we faced this year, we have continued to grow and work towards our goals. None of that would have been possible without the support of our amazing partners, mentors, and the amazing Riipen team. 

A huge thank you to all the faculty that transitioned to virtual teaching this year for the amazing work they have done for their students and to the industry partners that have embraced virtual placements. Thank you to everyone that has been part of our journey and continues to support our vision. We look forward to the new year and all the new adventures that will come with 2021.

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