Evaluation summary: Student Work Placement Program (Phase I)

From: Employment and Social Development Canada

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About the program

The Student Work Placement Program provides wage-subsidies to employers, across Canada to create work-integrated learning opportunities for post-secondary students. The program is delivered by a selection of third party funding recipients from different sectors of the economy. Partnerships are also created between employers and post-secondary institutions to develop new work placements and better align the post-secondary skills training with the needs of employers across Canada.

Key findings

  1. There is an ongoing need for the Student Work Placement Program to support a better alignment between the skills of post-secondary students and the evolving needs of employers in Canada. Moreover, employers want the program to become permanent
  2. The program created 11,952 work-integrated learning opportunities between April 2017 and March 2020. It filled a program gap and the large majority of students and employers were satisfied or very satisfied with the program
  3. Large majority of students and employers reported that participation in the program resulted in improvement in students’ work ready skills
  4. As a result of participating in the program, the majority of employers would consider using work placements in the future as well as hiring some of the program’s placement students on a long-term basis
  5. Stakeholders were satisfied with the program’s design and delivery features. They also identified multi-year agreements as a strength for ongoing relationships and long-term planning. However, some of them experienced challenges with the application process and had limited awareness of training opportunities.
  6. The “net new” requirement and the ineligibility of international students were considered to be program design limitations by both employers and funding recipients. The “net new” meant that all new work placements were required to be additional to those offered in the year prior to receiving program funding.


  1. Improve program awareness and understanding, amongst students, employers and post-secondary institutions across Canada.
  2. Encourage the development of “work-ready” training opportunities, which are available to participants, as a complement to their work placement experiences.
  3. Increase program accessibility by continuing to address official language gaps related to communications and documentation.
  4. Consider addressing the suggestions from employers and funding recipients to permanently remove the “net new” requirement for employers.
  5. Ensure accurate and comprehensive collection, entry and reporting of data.

The full Evaluation of the Student Work Placement Program is now available.

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