The Canadian technology ecosystem has been growing in recent years, and international corporations are cashing in.
Microsoft president Brad Smith has announced that the company will be creating 50 new jobs in the mixed reality field at Microsoft Vancouver over the next fiscal year, as well as launching two new education partnerships in the province.
Microsoft will team up with the BC Institute of Technology (BCIT) to develop a curriculum and degree with a focus on augmented and virtual reality, and is planning a pilot of TEALS, a Microsoft Philanthropies program that helps high schools build and grow sustainable computer science programs. This marks the first time the TEALS program has expanded outside the US.
Speaking at the annual Business Council of British Columbia’s Business Summit on Nov. 1, Smith highlighted how Vancouver and BC are world-class hubs for digital innovation and mixed reality.
“By continuing to partner with British Columbia’s business and education community, we’re excited to play a part in helping British Columbians enter the growing technology workforce. Students in Vancouver will become leaders in this next wave of innovation that reinvents how we work, learn and play,” he said.
TEALS, which uses curricula adapted from UC Berkeley and the University of Washington, aims to help schools offer more computer science courses by pairing computer science professionals from the tech industry with classroom teachers to team-teach the course. Founded in 2009, the program currently has volunteers from 500 companies helping 12,000 students in 348 US schools. It will be launched in BC schools in the 2018-2019.
Microsoft’s partnership with BCIT includes providing guidance to the polytechnic in setting up a “first-of-its-kind” mixed reality curriculum and degree. The company will help train students to “meet the skills needed for careers in the burgeoning field of digital media and entertainment,” it says in an Nov. 1 press release.
“As a significant provider of IT and computing diploma graduates in the province, we know there is immense opportunity for students preparing to enter the Lower Mainland’s growing tech industry,” BCIT president Kathy Kinloch says in the release. “Collaborating with Microsoft will help keep BCIT at the forefront of technical innovation and sets our students up to enter the job market with the highly desirable skills that businesses are demanding.”