This year, youth have been an integral part of helping companies adapt to new ways of working during a pandemic
In April, Margaret Dron, founder of Electric Owl, welcomed multiple co-op students to her team, focused on agricultural research, software engineering and computer science.
Electric Owl is a small, Halifax-based tech start-up that combines plant and computer science to help people grow food.
Dron’s team was thankful for co-op funding, access to the talent being fostered in local universities, and the incredible energy that innovative youth bring to the table.
“Co-op has helped open my eyes to the value that today’s students can bring,” says Dron. “They may not have the experience yet, but the excitement and innovation they bring is equally as impactful for the team. As more businesses adapt to the evolving challenges brought on by the pandemic, they might be surprised to see how much they can learn from these more junior team members. They grew up online, and naturally utilize tools to connect, create, and learn.”
Dalhousie computer science student Karson Weaver has been applying his digital design skills to assist with developing Electric Owl’s mobile-friendly AgTech product. He is one of many co-op students making an easy transition to new ways of working.
“What’s different is that I am doing my co-op placement entirely online and from home,” says Weaver. “And I am seeing firsthand that the skills I’m learning in school, do apply to the real world.”
Weaver was one of 1,300 students who landed work-terms this summer and fall with the support of provincial funding.
“The safety and comfort of our team was top priority,” says Dron. “Our students worked virtually from their homes but joined in ongoing opportunities for online team interaction. Even from a distance, they were an integral part of our company’s functioning.”
As the pandemic continues to change how businesses operate, innovative solutions to hiring and supporting businesses are more important than ever.
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