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York University introduces new fully work-integrated degree program in digital technologies


September 19, 2022  by Sukanya Ray Ghosh

York University’s Lassonde School of Engineering announced a flexible and innovative alternative to traditional university study in Canada. Students in the Digital Technologies work-integrated degree program will be employed full-time at the same employer for four years, earning a salary while studying towards a Bachelor of Applied Science (BASc) degree. Twenty percent of a learner’s work time will be dedicated to academic learning, delivered during an intensive five-day block period on campus every six-to-seven weeks.

Commencing in Fall 2023, the program allows organizations to both upskill their existing workforce and access a new talent pipeline. The program also offers a pathway to higher education for non-traditional learners, particularly those underrepresented in the information and communications technology (ICT) sector.

“York University’s new work-integrated program model – an extraordinary first for Canada – will improve social mobility by removing financial barriers to post-secondary access and success,” says Rhonda Lenton, York University president. “Starting with the innovative Bachelor of Applied Science degree in digital technologies, York is working in partnership with employers to address acute labour market needs. Learners will specialize to become software developers, cybersecurity analysts or data scientists,” says Lenton.

The four-year program operates over a full calendar year with learners earning 30 credits each year through a mix of workplace and classroom learning. It is suitable for a broad spectrum of learners, from recent high school graduates to employees already in the workforce. Learners are supported by various coaches and mentors both at the university and in the workplace to grow in their fields and build meaningful networks. With an opportunity to earn a competitive salary while they study, learners bring fresh ideas, knowledge and skills to help their employers remain competitive.

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“The Digital Technologies degree program is an example of the innovative, timely and job-ready academic programming that will be offered at York University’s Markham campus. In its first year, the program will be delivered through our state-of-the-art Learning Space in IBM Canada’s headquarters in Markham, a dynamic and high-profile environment where students will be surrounded by academic researchers, entrepreneurs, start-ups and developers,” says Gordon Binsted, deputy provost, York University Markham.

The design and development of York’s Digital Technologies degree program was a collaborative process between Lassonde and a group of businesses, companies, public sector organizations and industry associations known as “Trailblazers.” These include Ceridian, CGI, Cinchy Inc., Cisco Canada, Connected (Connected.io, now part of Thoughtworks), EY Canada, General Motors of Canada Company, IBM Canada, mimik Technology Inc., RBC, Saa Dene Group, Shopify, TELUS Health, Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat and TribalScale Inc.

Senior technology experts from these organizations contributed to curriculum and learning outcomes, ensuring the program delivers the required knowledge, skills and professionalism of graduates. CIO Strategy Council and TECHNATION were also instrumental in program design and employer engagement.


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