New Co-op Program provides low risk, high return for Kamloops startup
Last year, Kamloops startup, Sewllkwe Tracking Solutions, participated in one of the first co-op pilots for the BCIC Innovator Skills Initiative (ISI) program. The pilot, run and managed by BCIC partner, Kamloops Innovation, was so successful that Sewllkwe hired the participating student, Chad Fawcett from Thompson Rivers University (TRU), onto a permanent contract.
Delivered by BCIC’s regional partners, the ISI program connects students with BC tech companies and provides them the opportunity to gain valuable work experience while developing business, technical and innovative skills that meet the industry needs in BC. The program also provides a boost to small businesses, giving them access to innovative talent at an affordable cost and the opportunity to showcase industry problems to future solution providers.
We had the opportunity to talk with Sewllkwe Tracking Solutions founder, Trever Andrew, and TRU student, Chad Fawcett, who is studying Computer Science at TRU, about their experience with the ISI program.
Q: Can you first provide some background on the company, what it does or will do?
Trever Andrew: We aim to help First Nations and non-First Nations communities better manage and understand their water and waste water systems through improved data collection and analysis. We use a web-based interface allowing daily water operation data and water sample data to be entered at the time of collection rather than days or weeks later from paper based systems. This data can then be shared with health organizations who can use the information to make informed decisions about the health and safety of the water system and its consumers.
Q: What value did your company get out of participating in ISI?
Trever Andrew: The ISI program allowed Sewllkwe to remove some of the risk with hiring a relatively inexperienced student developer. As a startup, many of the skills we seek in developers are seldom taught in schools and we often have to teach these skills on-the-job. When these skills can be learned through specific projects and with the help of experienced developers there can be a greater sense of accomplishment and team belonging for everyone involved. As a company who values community, we see this as an opportunity to ensure that new hires are provided with skills that will improve their careers whether with us or with their next employer. We all drink from the same pool of talent and it’s imperative that we return talent to that pool in a better place than when we found it.
Q: How did participating in ISI benefit your career as a student, Chad?
Chad Fawcett: It was great to get a jump-start on my career in software development while contributing to a new startup. The exposure I gained with technologies that I would not have otherwise had the chance to work with has helped strengthen my employable skills, while the position has also given me the opportunity to network with others in my field.
Read about the Innovator Skills Initiative (ISI) program.
Learn about Sewllkwe Tracking Solutions.