With the war for IT talent heating up, IBM Canada is going to great lengths to recruit the best talent.

The company has been running its intensive 15-week internship program, called Extreme Blue, since 2004 in Canada .

This year, 24 students from various universities were selected out of pool of about 500 applicants to participate in the program.

“It was quite a lot work going through them and weeding them down as we had quite a lot of good candidates,” says Jacky Turner, program manager for Extreme Blue Canada.

She says the Extreme Blue program is IBM’s incubator for combining great talent and technology to fuel innovation. “We recruit people into IBM at the end of the program wherever possible when they graduate,” says Turner.

This year’s crop of students has been immersed since May, working on some key IBM projects underway at the company’s software development labs in Toronto, Ottawa, Montr