New partnership between Riipen Networks and RRC

By Joshua Kjarsgaard

Red River College partnership with Riipen Networks will provide industry experience for students and develop their skills to help them get jobs once they graduate. 

Leslie Wilder, Business Administration instructor, works with her Management and Organizational Behaviour class on their business plan for Western Scrap Metal Inc. on October 22, 2019.

Students in the Commerce Industry Sales and Marketing program at the Red River College Exchange District Campus are working with Western Scrap Metals Inc. as part of a new partnership between Red River College and Riipen Networks. 

Daniela Pico, manager of strategic partnerships, says that Riipen Networks focuses on bridging the gap between students graduating and entering the workforce through projectbased learning. 

“All student services are free,” Pico said. “We want to solve the chicken and the egg problem of needing experience to get a job, but needing a job to get experience.”

Pico says that instructors work directly with businesses to ensure that student benefits and company benefits are of equal value. 

Leslie Wilder, a long-time instructor in the Business Administration program, is helping to pilot the partnership in her Management and Organizational Behaviour class this year. 

Wilder says the 29 students in her class have already consulted with Western Scrap Metals Inc. Owner Faith Kaplan and done company research. They are now preparing a written business description looking into the feasibility of new scrap metal markets in the remote communities of northern Manitoba. 

“The partnership with Western Scrap Metals Inc. is replacing an already existing management research project,” Wilder said. “Now, students get hands-on industry experience in class.”

Students in Wilder’s class say they’re excited to be working on a project that matters outside the classroom. 

International student Anh Pham, 25, says she came from Vietnam and wants to work in the local industry. 

Karla Ventura (left), 32, works on her contribution to the Western Scrap Metals Inc. business plan with Anh Pham (right), 25, in their management and oganizational behaviour class on October 22, 2019.

“This project creates networking opportunities for international students who don’t have local connections,” Pham says. 

Pham is working in a group with Karla Ventura, 32, another international student from El Salvador. 

Pham and Ventura say their part of the project looks into potential partner communities that Western Scrap Metals Inc. might expand to. 

Anh Pham (right), 25, smiles as she tells Karla Ventura (left), 32, about her progress on their contribution to the business plan for Western Scrap Metals Inc. in their Management and Organizational Behaviour class on October 22, 2019.

“I think the partnership is helping us build essential research skills that will benefit us no matter where we end up working,” Ventura says. 

This new style of learning will be an important part of the college’s Innovation Centre that is currently under construction at the EDC.