IT industry and educators create win-win scenarios

In the drive to maintain Canada’s competitive edge, it’s necessary to not only have a well-educated workforce, but also a workforce with the technical skills needed for tomorrow’s future industries. By partnering with IT industry leaders today, Canadian educational institutions from coast to coast are gaining access to the latest technology, support for their research and a greater capability to teach the skills that industry needs students to have.

Partnering and allying with Canada’s universities helps the local IT industry hone and improve their technologies and provides the universities with the opportunity to improve their infrastructure for delivering programs and skills to the next generation of IT workers, observes Brian Canfield, Telus Corporation president and CEO.

Burnaby, B.C.-based Telus recently entered a couple of partnerships with University of British Columbia (UBC) and the University of Calgary to help cement a relationship with private enterprise and the education sector. In 1999, Telus and UBC agreed to a five-year strategic alliance to support communications research and provide telecommunications services to the university. The partnership is valued at $4.1 million to the university and is expected to provide about $30 million to Telus in potential business over the five-year term of the deal.

The alliance involves collaboration in wireless communications research, cooperation in the development of UBC’s information technology services and campus-wide provisioning of the latest telecommunications technology. Specifically, the strategic alliance will: establish the Telus Mobility Industrial Research Chair with a $500,000 pledge, provide funding from Telus for research in advanced communications technologies, establish a fund to support information technology on campus, provide UBC an opportunity to be used as a beta site to test new telecommunications technologies, provide UBC with telecommunications products under a strict service level agreement and enable both parties to benefit from access to industry experts and specialists.

Under the alliance, UBC will largely use Telus products and services; however, students, faculty and staff may choose Telus or another supplier for personal telecommunications services.

Two months ago, Telus and UBC expanded their partnership to include offering UBC’s Certificate in Internet Marketing program through Telus’ Internet portals during a six-month trial.

The on-line program is featured in the Learning section of, and The UBC Continuing Studies’ on-line Internet marketing program is the first phase in Telus’ plans to develop educational Web portals in Canada, says Mark Schnarr, vice-president of Internet Services with Telus Advanced Communications.

Schnarr says 2.2 million students are expected to participate in Web-based learning courses by 2002, and that Telus is leading the way in pursuing and providing opportunities in educational Web content.