BY DONNIE UNGARO
OKANAGAN YOUNG PROFESSIONALS COLLECTIVE
I rent a small office inside the technology hub that is the Accelerate Okanagan building. I am fortunate to get to meet all kinds of people during the course of my workday. I come across bankers, marketers, front-line employees, business owners and everything in between. There are so many great people in the Okanagan Valley; so many ideas and so much energy. But every once and awhile, things align just right, that amazing people end up working close together, who share similar enthusiasm, energy, goals and frustrations. This alignment spawned a community-based program that has the potential to reshape an industry and one by one change people’s lives.
The technology industry moves at an astounding pace, one which traditional education can never catch. This means that graduating students are already behind the current industry trends and technology, thus creating a gap in their skills and experience with the industry needs. Over and over again this group of people saw students with strong potential fade and fall into unchallenging careers, leave the Okanagan in pursuit of a job, or worse, leave the industry completely.
From this, the co+hatch pilot has been launched from within the collaborative workspace that is the co+lab. co+Hatch is an intensive student incubator initiative founded by the creators of co+Lab. Designed to create a better future for recent graduates; it will equip grads with the skills and support they need to enter the industry. co+Hatch is a 1-month program that aims to transform new graduates into strong, dynamic candidates on the job market, through an intensive mentorship program that includes weekly coaching from an experienced mentor, matched to suit the student. The mentors coach students in all areas of advancement, including strategy, skills development and teamwork.
There is no cost for grads to enter the program and there is no compensation for the founders, mentors and supporters. It was formed to simply improve the chances of talented, young local grads to find meaningful work in the industry they are passionate about. While it may still be in its infancy, the program is already garnering community attention and excitement. The creators and mentors may not have all the answers, but they are going to share everything they know with a few lucky students. The ultimate dream of the program is to create something that can be adopted by any industry and make a meaningful impact on the lives of local graduates.