MaRS Studio Y and Employment and Social Development Canada announce job skills development program for students

Over three years, 400 post-secondary students across Canada will gain new skills and work experience through Student Work-Integrated Learning Fellowships

TORONTO, November 24, 2017 – Today, MaRS Studio Y and Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) announced the Student Work-Integrated Learning (WIL) Fellowship, a summer work experience and skills development program for post-secondary students across Canada.

Over three years, the program will provide 400 students with the skills and mindsets needed to thrive in the new economy. It will also help ventures in MaRS’ network to scale by connecting them with a talent pipeline to power their growth, while supporting post-secondary institutions looking to develop their students’ “job-ready” skills.

The WIL Fellowship is open to all students currently enrolled in post-secondary education in Canada. To foster diverse workplaces that increase Canada’s competitive advantage, the program will also focus on attracting students from under-represented groups, including women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields, recent immigrants, indigenous youth and first-year students.

In addition to completing placements in scaling ventures, students will have access to Studio Y’s curriculum to help them develop the mindsets and attributes required for the future’s hybrid jobs.

MaRS has identified four key areas of focus: health; energy and the environment; finance and commerce; and the future of work and learning. The fellowship will provide eligible students with employment experiences in these sectors, focusing specifically on STEM and non-technical business roles in sales and marketing.

Quick facts

  • Since 2013, four cohorts of young professionals have participated in MaRS Studio Y’s skills and leadership training fellowship.
  • Ventures participating in the new fellowship include Nanoleaf, Ecobee, Top Hat and Wealthsimple.
  • Post-secondary institutions and additional participating companies will be announced in the coming months.


“When Canadian students get on-the-job education, they’re getting the experience they need to succeed. Our Innovation and Skills Plan is putting Canada’s skilled, talented and creative people at the heart of a more innovative future economy.”
—The Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour

“This program will build stronger partnerships between government, post-secondary institutions and employers, and will help young Canadians gain the experience they need to get jobs that encourage them to become the innovative leaders of tomorrow.”
—The Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science

“Canadian students are our future pace-setters and will determine the success of our country. Targeting all students enrolled in post-secondary education, the program will place particular attention on engaging and supporting women in STEM, recent immigrants, indigenous youth and first-year students to foster diverse workplaces, thereby increasing Canada’s competitive advantage. Thanks to the support of ESDC, MaRS Studio Y programming and our high-growth ventures, Canada’s emerging talent will gain the experience, hands-on skills and mindsets necessary to successfully compete in the innovation economy.”
—Lekan Olawoye, Lead Executive, Studio Y

“This program offers a unique opportunity for young Canadians: hands-on experience at some of Toronto’s fastest growing technology companies and a chance to immerse themselves in startup culture. ecobee is excited to support this initiative and help equip post-secondary students with new skills that will allow them to contribute to the future of Canada’s burgeoning tech sector.”
—Stuart Lombard, founder, President and CEO, ecobee

For more on Studio Y and the Student Work-Integrated Learning (WIL) Fellowship, visit

Media Contact
Lara Torvi
MaRS Discovery District

About MaRS
MaRS Discovery District (@MaRSDD) in Toronto is one of the world’s largest urban innovation hubs. Our purpose is to help innovators change the world. MaRS supports promising ventures tackling key challenges in the health, energy & environment, finance & commerce, and work & learning sectors as they start, grow and scale. In addition, the MaRS community fosters cross-disciplinary collaboration to drive breakthrough discoveries and new solutions to be adopted in Canada and beyond, growing our economy and delivering societal impact at scale.