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Work-Integrated Learning

Work-Integrated Learning at RDP

Work-integrated learning (WIL) encompasses several forms of experiential education that connects students, employers and industry. 

If you are a Red Deer Polytechnic student, faculty member or staff member, or if you are an employer, this page provide information about WIL as it is coordinated through RDP’s Career Education and Experience Development Centre

Below, you will find information about WIL, including: 

What is Work-Integrated Learning (WIL)? 

Through WIL, post-secondary institutions, employers and students work together to reach shared goals that strengthen learning, build skills, and contribute to an adaptable and resilient workforce aligned with the labour market. 

WIL includes a diverse set of experiential education opportunities including mandatory professional placements (MPP), community service learning (CSL), work experience, field placement, applied research, entrepreneurship and internships, as well as co-ops.   

WIL can be traditional or non-traditional, and it is an evolving ecosystem much like workplaces and post-secondary institutions.  At Red Deer Polytechnic we classify WIL into four groups: Mandatory Professional Practice (MPP), Community Learning, Innovative WIL, and Internships and Co-operative Education.  

Category of WIL Description
Mandatory Professional Practice (MPP) Mandatory Professional Practice involves work experience under the supervision of a registered or licensed professional that requires practice-based work experience for certification. 
Community Learning
  1. Community Service Learning combines purposeful community service, classroom teachings, and critical reflection in partnership with community-based organizations. 
  2. Field Placements are part-time and short-term intensives, practical experience in a setting related to a student's program of study. 
  3. Work Experience is typically full-time and provides students experience in a workplace related to their program of study.
Innovative WIL
  1. Applied Research provides students the opportunity to assist with design, research or consulting projects.  
  2. Entrepreneurial WIL  students use resources to engage in the early development of start-ups or to move their business ideas forward. 
  3. Emerging WIL expands WIL opportunities through variations on traditional WIL, for example: micro-placements or online projects or placements.
Internships and Co-operative Education (Co-ops) Internships & Co-operative Education (Co-ops) provide students with a structured, supervised and long term (12 to 16 month-long) work placement that is part of their program and counts toward academic credit.  


Learn more about the different types of WIL, as described on the Business + Higher Education Roundtable webpage

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Work-integrated learning (WIL) includes experiential education opportunities that may be curricular or extracurricular, paid or unpaid. Through partnerships between an academic institution and a host organization, students engage in WIL to develop practical workplace skills, turn theory into action, explore future career pathways and make a positive impact. 

At RDP, students may be assigned specific types of WIL through courses within  their programs. 

Examples of WIL opportunities that RDP students participate in include: 

Category of WIL Specific Example of Student Participation
Mandatory Professional Placements (MPP)  Several regulated professions engage with students through mandatory professional placements as an opportunity for students to gain real-world skills that will benefit them in the workforce. MPPs are generally unpaid and are required by the regulatory bodies in a given program in order for graduates to practice in their profession. 
Community Learning Students may partner with businesses and community organizations, facilitated through RDP, to undertake WIL projects. These partnerships can be paid or unpaid, and they may include community service learning, work experience and field placements. 
Innovative WIL  Students can participate in Innovative WIL, which may be paid or unpaid and is typically more flexible in time commitment and duration. Innovative WIL can include applied research such as consulting projects, design and community-based research projects. Innovative WIL may also include entrepreneurship, which could include the early-stage development of a new business start up. 
Internships and Co-ops  RDP is looking forward to developing quality internship and co-op opportunities for students in the future. 


Learn more about the different types of WIL, as described on the Business + Higher Education Roundtable webpage

Coming Soon! In Spring of 2023, students will also be able to access paid, project-based WIL through the Riipen platform supported by RDP’s Career Education and Experience Development (CEED) Centre.  

For questions about work-integrated learning at RDP contact ceed [at] rdpolytech [dot] ca or call 403.357.3692 

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Employers and Community Partners 

The Career Education and Experience Development (CEED) Centre works with employers and community partners to connect them with students for WIL opportunities. CEED can offer employer and partner support through the whole process from developing a WIL experience or position, locating funding, onboarding of students and completing evaluations.  

Hosting WIL benefits employers through the addition of workload capacity, new perspectives and skillsets, and bringing projects or initiatives that have been on the back burner to the forefront. Through WIL, post-secondary institutions, employers and students all contribute to an adaptable and resilient workforce that is aligned with the labour market needs of Alberta. 

To discuss work-integrated learning opportunities with RDP students contact ceed [at] rdpolytech [dot] ca or call 403.357.3692 

Resources for Employers 


Employers can receive funding for hiring students for work-integrated learning. Career Education and Experience Development (CEED) is available to answer questions and support employers in filling out funding applications.  

Coming soon! RDP’s Riipen platform will allow employers to post paid WIL opportunities, with students receiving payment directly from federal funding sources available through Riipen. This funding will be up to $1,800 per student per project. 

Magnet Student Work Placement Program  
Employers can receive a subsidy between $5,000 to $7,000 to provide paid WIL opportunities to post-secondary students during four-month terms. Learn more about the Magnet Student Work Placement Program here

Canada Summer Jobs
Canada Summer Jobs is a program under the Youth Employment and Skills Strategies available through the Government of Canada. This program helps young Canadians (15 to 30 years old) develop skills and gain paid work experience. Learn more about the Canada Summer Jobs program here.  

WIL in your Workplace 

Regardless of the sector or size of an organization – employers can create quality work-integrated learning opportunities. Reach out to CEED to discuss building capacity for WIL: ceed [at] rdpolytech [dot] ca or 403.342.3595.  

The Business Higher Education Roundtable (BHER) provides information and tools for employers on how to create impactful work-integrated learning opportunities that benefit both the student and employer. 

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The Career Education and Experience Development (CEED) Centre provides a resource for RDP faculty who have work-integrated learning (WIL) in their course and program delivery.  

Whether you already have well established WIL components in your curriculum or you are looking to enhance opportunities for students, we are here to support you. 

For additional information, faculty can learn more about work-integrated learning by visiting Co-operative Education and Work-Integrated Learning Canada (CEWIL).

Contact the CEED Centre at ceed [at] rdpolytech [dot] ca or 403.357.3692 to discuss your specific needs. 

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Launching April 2023!

Red Deer Polytechnic’s Career Education and Experience Development (CEED) centre is partnering with Riipen and Level UP to bring paid work-integrated learning opportunities to RDP students.

The Level UP paid internship program gives students access to short-term, hybrid or remote projects that they choose, posted by employers on Riipen's online platform. 

Funded in part by the Government of Canada, Level UP internships are 80-hour projects, completed over 2-8 weeks that can be fully remote or hybrid. Upon completion, students are paid a $1,400 stipend directly by Riipen, eliminating the red tape of traditional wage subsidy programs.

Sign up here to receive an email notification when Riipen for students has launched. Sign up here to receive an email notification when Riipen for employers has launched.
Download one pager for Students Download one pager for Employers


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