BTM students make critical industry connections at first-ever TalentMash event

BTM TalentMash 2017A networking event that linked Red River College students with leaders in the business and technology sectors is drawing strong notices from participants and organizers, thanks largely to the connections made with local organizations who now have access to a new pool of innovators.

The province’s first-ever BTM (Business Technology Management) TalentMash, presented by RRC and the Information Technology Association of Canada, provided a day-long forum in which industry reps met with students and instructors from the College’s new BTM program, to discuss how future graduates can help bridge the gap between organizations’ business and technology functions.

“It went exceptionally well,” says program coordinator David Jones of the event.

“The feedback from both students and the industry people who attended was positive on both sides. The industry reps appreciated being able to find out what we were up to with the BTM program — because they’ve heard of it, but didn’t know really know what it was.

“And [the event] introduced students to business and to business contacts, which they found particularly helpful — being able to talk to potential employers about what they’re looking for, and what they’d be doing.”

Held Oct. 28 at the Exchange District Campus, the event also gave students a chance to showcase their career competencies to potential employers, in particular the communication, interpersonal and analytical skills now considered critical for industry success.

The event was particularly well timed, given the program’s first class of graduates will have completed their studies by year’s end. After collecting their diplomas at RRC’s convocation ceremony in February, they’ll be poised to put their new expertise to good use.

“The BTM program focuses on hands-on learning, and includes an experiential learning semester that allows students to apply what they’ve learned in a relevant workplace setting,” says Kirk Johnson, Dean of Business and Applied Arts at RRC.

“Our relationships with industry professionals ensure the College remains in step with ever-changing industry needs. We want to make sure we’re not only preparing our students to be career-ready, but also to be future-ready, and to excel upon graduation.”

More than 120 people attended the October event, many of them RRC grads now working in a range of industries throughout the province. Following a keynote address from Loren Cisyk, executive vice-president of technology solutions at Information Services Corporation, morning and afternoon panel discussions brought together reps from organizations such as Great West Life, National Leasing, Online Business Systems and Skip the Dishes.

After describing their individual career paths — as well as the specific skills and technology used in their day-to-day routines — panelists moved on to discuss larger industry trends, such as the use of artificial intelligence and mobile technology to make improvements in customer service.

Later in the day, teams of students from both the BTM program and RRC’s Business Information Technology (BIT) program presented the work they’d completed during a recent industry project term. Guests were also invited to tour RRC’s new ACE Project Space, a recent addition to Winnipeg’s Innovation Alley, in which students, entrepreneurs, industry leaders and community organizations come together to bring ideas to life using cutting-edge technologies.

Plans to bring the TalentMash back to RRC next fall are already underway. To learn more about related events throughout Canada, visit btmtalentmash.ca.