Press Release

RBC and Riipen's REACH UP program announces first three academic institutions to join the program

RBC Future Launch renewed its partnership with Riipen a third time, to create 20,000 Work-Integrated Learning (WIL) experiences for Canadian college and university students over the next two years. Applications to participate are being accepted on a rolling basis and are available.
June 28, 2023


The REACH UP Program (RBC/Riipen’s Experiential, Accessible, Canadian Hands-on-Learning) builds on the successful partnership between Riipen and RBC Future Launch. In 2019, RBC Future Launch and Riipen launched a partnership with the goal of increasing access to high-impact authentic work-integrated learning (WIL) opportunities for Canadian post-secondary students. Our shared mission: to help prepare learners, particularly those from underserved communities, for the Future of Work. By the end of 2022, the RBC-Riipen partnership delivered over 27,000 WIL experiences to a diverse range of learners and educational partners across Canada. The 27 participating institutions reflect the emphasis of our partnership on increasing access, diversity, and inclusion across Canada. Through this partnership, learners have had the opportunity to collaborate with employers to enhance their skills development, workplace readiness, and employability.

Announcing the new schools:

As part of the renewed partnership between RBC Future Launch and Riipen, the REACH UP program was launched to enable a new cohort of 25 accredited post-secondary institutions across Canada to create 20,000 WIL experiences to students over the next two years, with an enhanced focus on reaching students from underserved communities and demographics. These 25 academic institutions will be chosen through an application process.

First Nations University of Canada

Located in Regina, Saskatchewan, the First Nations University of Canada aims to further strengthen its support to its Indigenous WIL Ecosystem. First Nations University of Canada (FNUniv) will work in partnership with various groups to accomplish work-integrated learning (WIL) projects. These groups will include internal faculties, Indigenous bands, Indigenous companies and entrepreneurs, Riipen, and non-Indigenous companies that have Indigenous projects.

“First Nations University of Canada is excited to work with Riipen to access work experiential learning components in the classroom. We foresee the involvement of Indigenous businesses and bands as a benefit for the students to kick start their careers. This is their chance to apply working Business knowledge to real-world projects and offer them time to network with potential employers. All of this is exciting and can provide students a step up in the job market, and that’s key as Indigenous people are under-represented in the workforce.”- Jason Bird, Lecturer, Program Administrator: Indigenous Business & Public Administration

University of Guelph

Situated in Ontario, The University of Guelph will leverage its new partnership with Riipen to support students in the flexible Internship Program (FIP) to participate in flexible work-integrated learning opportunities. The FIP is an innovative program comprising an upper-year university credit course designed to teach job-relevant skills and an internship with a host organization, where students integrate their disciplines’ knowledge from the classrooms with internship placements in their industries for a minimum of 40 hours. Through the partnership with Riipen and the REACH UP program, University of Guelph aims to expand its pool of employers to further enrich its WIL ecosystem and to support students to access WIL projects with employers from across Canada.

We are excited about the REACH UP program. Collaborating with Riipen will bring new proportions to our Experiential Learning opportunities at the Ontario Agricultural College at the University of Guelph. In addition to our solid local base, our students will now have the opportunity to gain more wide international-remote experiences. This partnership is another step in our institutional strategic goals of building a globalized culture and guaranteeing every student an experiential learning opportunity.”- Boris X Martín Q, Experiential Learning Partnership and Educational Developer

College of the Rockies

Located in Rural British Columbia, College of the Rockies aims to leverage the partnership with the REACH UP program to support and empower learners, educators, and employers. This partnership will also support learners from underserved communities, particularly Indigenous students, in collaboration with the College’s  Equity, Diversity, Indigenous, Inclusion, and Belonging Task Force (EDIIB).

“Participating in WIL is so important for a balanced and complete educational experience. Through the RBC REACH UP opportunity we are thrilled to have access to the Riipen platform to engage our students in real industry projects adding value to their education and their resume. We are also impressed with the support available to our faculty and local businesses which will deepen our connection to our community enabling our students to make a positive impact.”- Stephanie Wells, Dean of Business and University Arts and Science

About Riipen

Riipen is the world’s largest online work-integrated learning marketplace with a mission to end underemployment and close the skills gap. Riipen partners with governments, colleges, universities, and short-cycle training providers to provide authentic accessible online training for employment-focused skills and technical/professional proficiency. By connecting learners of all ages to employers from all sectors via customized Work-Integrated Learning (WIL) projects tailored to the individual needs of diverse learners, Riipen contributes to closing the skills gap, and to leveling the playing field in the labor market for learners from underserved communities, thereby advancing workforce equity, diversity, and inclusion. Riipen has successfully and proudly implemented 9.5 million hours of upskilling, reskilling and job training projects for over 165,000 learners via more than 27,800 employers and 430 academic institutions and training providers in 9 countries, in both English and French.

About RBC Future Launch

RBC Future Launch is a 10-year, $500 million commitment to empower Canadian youth for the jobs of tomorrow. With a focus on networking, skills development, practical work experience and mental well-being support and services, the initiative aims to help break down the barriers facing young people. In 2020, RBC committed to providing $50 million in focused funding through RBC Future Launch to create meaningful and transformative pathways to prosperity for up to 25,000 diverse youth by 2025, with investments in areas such as skills development and mentoring.

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