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Level UP Case Studies
Riipen Level UP program is funded by the Government of Canada's Innovative Work-Integrated Learning (I-WIL) Initiatives program.
The opinions and interpretations in this publication are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Government of Canada.
Level UP Learners
Here's what Level UP learners had to say about their experience.
Verda Anwer, McMaster University
Ferhan Qamar, York University
Bella Shang, The University of British Columbia
Ivey Norton, McGill University
Matt Lee, McMaster University
Suhaib Aldada, University of Toronto
Jose Viray, Douglas College
Shasivaranan Segainathan, Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT)
Devon Neudorf, University of Western Ontario
Katelyn Chan, University of Western Ontario
I enjoyed the Level UP program a ton, not only did I get to learn amazing marketing and business tips, but I was able to connect with amazing business owners!
Kylen Simms, McMaster University
I feel that working on the [Level UP] project to be the best part of my experience in college so far. We get a feel for what it's like to work as a software developer, and also get valuable workplace experience working with a company on a real-life project. I really highly recommend this experience to anyone.
Fergal Ingoldsby, Red River College
As a systems design and engineering student, I would definitely recommend experiential learning because engineering itself is an applied science and it's very hands-on. Learning by doing is a really good way to identify your weakness and also, know in which areas you're good at. So once back to school, you can focus on the areas you're lacking. It makes you a better person and also helps you adjust your career goal based on the areas that you're good at.
Tiffany Ngai, University of Waterloo
My [Level UP] project was amazing, and has really impacted my career goals. I already had an inclination towards finance, but this opportunity confirmed that I want to pursue something in finance, specifically investment banking. I would definitely recommend this [program] to other students because if you're learning something in a classroom, the main thing that you would want to learn, and where you learn the most, is when you apply it and get hands-on experience.
Krishna Sridhar, Western University
Level UP motivates and empowers students to prepare for the workforce. By offering compensation to excelling students, this lessens the financial burden of post-secondary school and allows students to focus on their academics and career. With the help of Level UP, I feel that I am appreciated for my work on this project and am ultimately more motivated to excel in my role.
Rowena Shi, Western University
Level UP is an amazing way for students to get real life, applicable work experience while still managing their education. Many jobs and industries are shifting further toward a focus on experience rather than education for hiring decisions, so this program ensures students have the best of both worlds when they head out into the job market
Reese Naumann, University of Alberta
Level UP program from Riipen is actually a life saver for many students who are struggling to get co-op opportunities from companies directly. I have seen many students who got jobs at renowned banks only after completing their projects from Riipen. Students can get hands-on experience before joining a company.
Zinia Mustafa, George Brown College
Riipen allows me to expand on my current coursework with real-life experience that will give me a much more substantial learning experience. With Riipen I am able to go to school and earn money on the side while also gaining valuable experience.
Bilal Mahmood, Western University
Level UP is important to me because it enables me to help build up grassroots initiatives all while balancing my academic responsibilities as a full-time student.
Olivia Yu, McGill University
The Level UP program not only helped me develop new skills but also develop new connections with companies in my community. There are so many different projects that fit so many different categories that any student who is in post-secondary schooling should pursue a project.
Jeanine Yaworsky, Thompson Rivers University
I have never felt so accomplished after finishing a summer work placement. I also made connections in industries I am interested in! As a student it can be hard to find summer work opportunities that align with the field you are studying, but Level UP opened the door to more opportunities.
Katie Tolley, University of Saskatchewan
Level UP has provided me with an opportunity to work on my different skills and provided me an opportunity to showcase and use these skills in the workplace.
Kashaf Noreen, University of Toronto
Level UP is important to me because it allows me to transfer the skills I have obtained in school to real world applications. It provides me with an opportunity to gain valuable work experience while still balancing school.
Siavash Sadegi, Western University
My field of study was not related to the project at all but the project itself is very complementary, because in my field of study we do collaborate a lot. So it was really good to work with another partner, who is in a different field and was able to help me build on those collaboration skills.
Ryan Bateman, University of Saskatchewan
This project gave me much needed experience in video-editing. I could test my abilities while receiving constructive feedback. I got a lot of coaching from my employer, who were open to sitting down and talking me through the needs of the project.
Gina Bennett, MacEwan University
It was incredibly relevant to my field of study. I'm interested in editorial design and that also includes the design of books and manuscripts. In this case, I was designing a notebook. So I learned to create a different concepts and different ways that we can deliver information.
David Ho Sang, George Brown College
I would definitely recommend this to a friend or anyone who's looking to get hands-on experience in their field of study. I was able to complete the project and learn so much more about myself. Whether they're coming from a computer science, business, or marketing background, there are so many opportunities where you can learn and get more experience.
Hafeez Khan, Ryerson University
The environment has always been something I've been passionate about. The company, Local Grown Salads, is a sustainable urban agriculture company [...] I felt that the company's agendas fit very well with my beliefs. I learned a lot and it really correlated with my field of study, which is Environmental Studies.
Asees Sandhu, University of Toronto
The projects really allow you to experiment and test yourself in different fields. So it's not just about working within your comfort zone. You also get the experience and the opportunity to expand yourself and work out of your comfort zone. At the end of it, it's all about building relationships and getting to know different people.
Mehran Janatyani, McMaster University
Experiential learning allows you to become a lot more hands-on. Unlike your traditional classroom learning, where you might be completing assignments or doing tests/exams, doing this type of work and being actively involved in the publication process allows you to develop skills you would not be able to develop otherwise.
John Johnson, University of Alberta
This project has taught me how to manage my time and has allowed me to explore my design and creativity in a professional environment. It reminded me of my passions and goals in graphic design, and how I want to further myself in this career.
Kayla Agustin, Grant MacEwan University
I would highly recommend experiential learning. I think it is the most efficient way to learn. I, myself, am mostly a kinesthetic learner, so I like to experience how things are done. It is definitely the best way to learn in my opinion.
Madison Hilderman, University of British Columbia
I would recommend it to every student. There are so many projects! I can’t express how much I learned and how much more confident I feel after Level UP. I got to see with my own eyes that I was helping a company. It's a win-win situation for both students and employers.
Samira Sayamanesh, Seneca College

I would 100% recommend Level UP to other students. I was doing a professional development presentation for one of my courses and Level UP was something I mentioned during it. I think it's great for any student out there to learn new skills and even get paid for the work too.
Bibi Bacchus, Mohawk College
I would say this program is really great for students who are close to finishing their degree but may want to explore their interests in different majors. This is the best opportunity to try something new and get your feet wet in a new industry that you might not have had the opportunity to try out.
Tyson Bilton, University of Calgary
In the future, I want to be a researcher and this project has helped reinsure me that I'm on the right path of what I want to do.
Ishpreet Chana, McMaster University
This project has easily had the biggest impact on my career. It motivates me to pursue even more things because this Riipen project went really well for me. It pushes me to grow even more as a professional.
Janujan Sritharan, University of Toronto
This opportunity is very beneficial to students who are curious about what the field of work is like. You’re getting a little taste of what it’s like to be part of this company before committing it.
Yi Chen Gao, Simon Fraser University
My experience with the employer was amazing. He gave me everything I needed in order to succeed. I would get weekly feedback and I always knew what I had to do. It was incredible.
Rishab Goel, University of Ontario Institute of Technology
If I were to ever branch out and start my own business or become an entrepreneur, I could use some of the tools I learned to help jump-start my own business
Krish Vig, University of Ontario Institute of Technology
This project really helped me learn how to work with the team and it’s solidified my goal in becoming a professional web developer.
Julian Mayes, Emily Carr University of Art and Design
I enjoyed gaining employable skills and furthering my knowledge of industry while in a degree where exposure to this sort of environment would be highly limited.
Amna Qazi, University of Regina
What I enjoyed about Level UP is the team spirit, technical problem solving, and agile project implementation. I appreciate the opportunity offered by Level UP to put my technical and personal learnings into practice through this platform.
Farzad Olya, Southern Alberta Institute of Technology
I really liked how it gave me the ability to use my critical thinking skills. Developing these projects kind of opens up a spiderweb of choices and making the right one counts. This is a process that is hard to replicate in with school projects. This was a great experience. Porte Rouge being a small company gave me the opportunity to participate at a very high level, an opportunity not afforded to all. It was a fantastic experience. This type of opportunity will help grow the next round of business minds, and make for a better country in the future!
Christopher Morrill, Lakehead University
I really enjoyed that the [Level UP] project gave me an opportunity to apply some topics which I’ve learned about in school, in the workplace. Applying concepts and knowledge to a project allows me to understand how businesses operate and how valuable learning about certain topics can be. I also enjoyed collaborating to complete a project to the highest degree of efficiency. Overall, I had a great experience where I was able to gain knowledge, skills and experience which will allow me to thrive professionally.
Ladursa Siva, Toronto Metropolitan University
I loved the ability to work remotely and make my own schedule! I also felt like it has prepared me well for a career post-graduation. It was very flexible and allowed me to utilize my time-management skills to complete everything on time. It also allowed me to hone my editing abilities in order to be better prepared for employment post-graduation.
Hanna Leonard, MacEwan University
Gaining real-world experience through using the information I have learned in my classes. The Riipen [Level UP] program provided me with an amazing opportunity that I am very proud of. I will be sure to recommend it to many of my fellow students.
Richard Plant, University of Manitoba
What I enjoyed about my Level UP project is that it allowed me to use my research skills in a practical way and apply what I learned to a real task. I also enjoyed being able to work alongside the project leaders, and felt my input and work were valued.
Claire Henderson, McGill University
Level UP Employers
Here's what employers have to say about the Level UP program.
Completed a project and want to share your experience?
Tell my Level UP Story
Susan So, FirstScreen
Sean Hougan, Aurora Heat
Zoë Miles, Reel Youth
David Sim, Arbourdale                  
Amelia Merrick, Community Futures Fraser Fort George
Steven Regimbal, Workden.
There are a lot of valuable skills that can be learned by students while working for us from a marketing standpoint, as well as a sales and web design and user, customer experience design side of things. It seems like such a great opportunity for young businesses to support their growth, as well as support students, who are looking to learn skills and hopefully lead to employment for them.
Cailey Massey, Artfull Enrichment
Technologies AIM Colours is a startup that came out of two university students. While we're just getting started, we are making great advances in our project. However, since it's only two co-founders at this time, it is very difficult for us to grow at the rate that we would be able to if we had more people on our team. This is one of the reasons that we are so interested in taking part in the Level UP program. Because through this, we will be able to make the most out of our limited resources, while being able to mentor and by hosting a student and getting more work done.
Alejandra Huerta, Technologies AIM Colours
Level UP was a great way for us to hire the right talent for our business. The best way to really know whether there is a right fit for both the employees and the employers is through internships. For startups however, the cost of these internships can be too great to utilize. Through Level UP we were able to find our now full-time marketing coordinator.
Ramin Sadat, INSTACHEW
Level UP is important for us because it is a great opportunity for us to receive help with this project, while also getting the chance to meet more talented young people and help them develop their career further.
Ivan Parkhomenko, Insanity CORR
Programs like Level UP help connect students looking for experiential education opportunities with willing industry partners. It is a win-win.
Michael Jodah, Regenesis
Level UP allows SEEDA to advance innovative projects supporting the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations. It was a great experience working with the students. They demonstrated superior skills which they applied in their work to produce outstanding results.
Max Chernetsov, SEEDA
Level UP projects can be a great help for our startup to grow to the next level. We have bright students across Canada. As a startup we can hire the right talented students, which will benefit them to gain work experience, while our startup benefits the job to be done on time and efficiently.
Purushothaman Cannane, Greenii Inc.
Finding meaningful work for post-secondary students to work in their desired fields is something CKUA is passionate about. It's a mutually beneficial relationship, and nothing makes me happier than sending a recent grad out into their career with a glowing letter of recommendation and some hands on work under their belt.
Arianne Smith-Piqette, CKUA Radio Network
Level UP will allow us (a small charity) to increase our media presence by hiring young people to help us write and design a webpage to promote ourselves. This will give students a chance to practice their skills - and we have the opportunity to engage with younger people and learn from them - as we share our wisdom with them.
R. Roth, Roman Catholic Women Priests Canada
Level UP's funding would allow us to attract brilliant students we may not have reached before, such as low-income students who depend on part-time jobs. This helps us amplify our impact, both through increased programming (for the benefit of other students) and direct mentorship with new student leaders.
Austin Teshuba, Enactus Hacks
The students we hired through Level UP completely revamped our branding, developed a social media marketing strategy, updated our websites and brainstormed possible events that would be easy to implement online. Now, we have a consistent list of strategic posts that encourages engagement and promotes our online activities. The Level UP program brought our small society back to life.
Nikkei Cultural Society
I've been searching for a program like Level UP for years. This program gives me the ability to work with students who can help on the lower budget projects where the client just can't afford to hire a professional graphic designer, copywriter or other specialized skill needed to complete the project.
Jason Ross, Radiant Freedom
This initiative provides opportunities for our small, but growing educational services firm to identify diverse talent across Canada for future paid work placements while providing mutually beneficial opportunities for students to further develop their talent.
Level UP is a fantastic way for small businesses like mine to be able to provide valuable work experience to students across Canada. It opens up a world of collaborative opportunities and truly is a win-win for our universities, students, and businesses.
Lisa Roughley, RoughleySpeaking
The Level UP program removed the risk of hiring a student for an important project and allowed us to give a student that experience instead of trying to find a more experienced engineer willing to work short-term. As such, we were able to continue with a "back burner" project that has high potential but for which we didn't have time or expertise to complete on our own. I am so happy to have discovered this program! As head of "special projects" at a small company, it gives me more financial freedom to mentor students and move projects forward at the same time.
Lawren Richards, Biovac
We were able to bring in more perspectives, have her help on a multitude of projects, and grow our future talent pool. Level Up is always a great experience, we have been a part almost every year. We appreciate the diversity of students on the platform, and the quality of candidates. We also appreciate the choice to work with students for a second time to further our working relationship.
Alex Gerenda, Axolotl Biosciences
As an emerging start-up brand, this [Level UP] has been instrumental in helping us move the brand forward. It is amazing and the student work so far has been incredible.
Charlotte Carson, CLEARlife
Mary [student] was instrumental in helping to refine our customer engagement techniques and strategies during her time with us. It's an amazing program for employers and students!
Emily Johnson, StrongerU Senior Fitness
We are able to complete projects that we could not have afforded to complete as a start-up. We were also able to find young talent and mentor students which was mutually beneficial! We love working with Riipen! They make it so easy to connect with young talent, support growing organizations, and contribute to the future workforce.
Leigh Cassell, Digital Human Library
Propelled us to places we never thought we’d be at this point in time. Level UP changed the trajectory of our organization in massive ways. We love you Riipen. You’ve done a lot for us!
Amanda Tanner, The Teacher App
[Level UP] saved us time by providing an additional resource we couldn’t afford otherwise. The additional hands helped us with pitching a new business concept to a potential client. We can’t afford to hire staff so this platform helps us immensely. Research is so imperative to securing new business. We are a startup and cannot afford to hire resources just yet. This program has provided us access to a much-needed resource for us. They helped us immensely by providing resources when we couldn’t afford to hire.
Nadine Livingston, Strategicly
I have got my marketing task handled without financial burden. I was stuck, but now I have seen improvement in my business because of Level UP. the program will help a lot of small businesses that are stuck because of the financial burden and lack of knowledge.
Anteneh Feleke, Ethiopic Coffee
Level UP Case Studies