Building Capacity Through Academic Partnership

Written By: Robin McLaughlin

As governments, corporations and individuals are increasingly focused on sustainability and a reduced carbon footprint, the demand for skilled talent in energy management and sustainability is fierce. 

According to LinkedIn’s recently published  ‘Global Green Skills Report’, the need for ‘green skilled’ talent will outstrip supply within the next five years.  More and more workers are transitioning to ‘green’ jobs, but the majority of these positions are filled by applicants already in the industry. Therefore, fresh talent is needed to transition to a more fulsome green economy.

We work with our industry partners to drive research and innovation, develop talent, enhance brand recognition and address corporate social responsibility goals.

Post-secondary institutions, like Carleton University, can be excellent collaborators for corporations and associations looking to build capacity in their sectors.  Here at Carleton, we take a strategic approach to partnership and help our allies connect across campus in a variety of creative ways.  We work with our industry partners to drive research and innovation, develop talent, enhance brand recognition and address corporate social responsibility goals.

For good reason, many industrial partners choose co-operative education as the obvious, and usually first tactic, in their Carleton collaboration.  With co-op, companies can tap into developing talent and identify promising candidates for post-graduation full-time employment.  At Carleton, we offer an employer-friendly Co-op Program, with students who are available anywhere from four to sixteen months.  Co-op creates a chance for students to try their hand at a new or never considered career path – bolstering an opportunity to launch a career in your industry.  Additionally, co-op employers may qualify for tax credits and wage subsidy programs, making co-op an economical way to bring fresh talent to the organization.

Industry can also invest in future talent through scholarships and bursaries. Scholarships can help you recruit top talent in areas of critical importance to your industry, while bursaries make post-secondary education financially possible.  In 2019, the Association of Energy Engineers Canada (AEE) East Chapter invested in the future of energy management and sustainability by creating a scholarship for students in our Bachelor of Sustainable and Renewable Energy Engineering program.  Annually, two students – one from electrical and the other from the mechanical stream  – receive the Association of Energy Engineers Canada East Founders Award.  Once the scholarship is awarded, Carleton arranges for the Chapter to meet the recipients, fostering an opportunity for the association to identify top talent while simultaneously creating an industry network for the young, aspiring engineers. Awards can be named and directed towards a program of your choosing, creating a tangible opportunity to build capacity in your industry.

Current Carleton students, particularly those at the graduate level, can also benefit from industry-sponsored research projects.  Such collaborations drive innovation and help create sustainable solutions to some of your most pressing problems.  Current graduate students with advanced knowledge, refined skillsets and experience will be in high demand at graduation; industry-sponsored research enables partners to identify, and engage with this talent early on, before these graduates have presented themselves to the market.  Additionally, your investment may be matched with funding from provincial or federal programs, enhancing the scope of the project and possibly creating internship opportunities from which industrial partners can benefit. Research not only identifies talent with advanced education, but also contributes to knowledge generation and innovation in your industry. Potential partners curious to learn more about the benefits to collaborative research should reach out to our Industry and Partnership Services team as a first step.

Sponsorship is a tangible way to support important causes while advancing your corporate social responsibility commitments and social purpose.

In addition to co-op, awards and research, sponsorship is a valuable opportunity for industry partners seeking brand visibility and on-campus awareness. Sponsorship is a tangible way to support important causes while advancing your corporate social responsibility commitments and social purpose.  At Carleton, there are several opportunities on campus to support the events, programs and student groups related to your priorities.  For example, we offer an industry-sponsored ‘Women in Engineering and IT Partners Program’ designed to support women students in STEM and encourage their successful transition from academia to the workforce. Corporate sponsors benefit from engagement opportunities, while students develop their professional network, gather career-related advice and meet other women in STEM.  Here at Carleton, there is almost an unlimited supply of creative opportunities for associations and corporations to generate excitement in their industry, attract talent and enhance brand awareness.  Carleton offers several ways for you to get involved and encourages co-creation with our industry partners. We’d be pleased to connect and chat about your priorities, goals and challenges and discuss how we might partner for mutually-beneficial outcomes.  Reach out to me any time to learn more.


Robin is a Senior Corporate Relations Officer in the Department of University Advancement at Carleton University. Robin actively seeks mutually beneficial relationships between academia and the industry.

Robin McLaughlin

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