From co-op to career

Plus, awards, deals, and accolades in this bumper edition.


Welcome to this week’s Sunday Briefing, brought to you by Ink LLP. In this issue, discover the plaudits aplenty for Save Da Sea and Bobbi Racette. Plus, learn about the finalization of the latest Tiny deal, and lots more.

Now onto today’s briefing. Its 1,330 words: a four-minute read.

By the way, if you're not already subscribed, you can fix that here.

Inside Redbrick’s extensive co-op student program

Christine Tatham, VP of people and culture at Redbrick.
Photo credit: Tatham / LinkedIn.

I owe pretty much everything I have done professionally to my experience as a co-op student. Tech Journals founder William Johnson plucked me off the sales rack of an H&M, where I was working at the time, and gave me my first real chance. Then, five years later, we reunited at the Vancouver and Victoria Tech Journals

My experience was buoyed by the privilege of growing up in Canada. Local workplace culture and values were already the norm to me. Canada hosted more than 800,000 international students last year and this number is only continuing to grow. However, as more and more of these students graduate, they are finding it challenging to land jobs in the country.

By implementing a co-op program and working with post-secondary institutions, companies can offer invaluable experience and mentorship to retain these skilled employees and help grow the talent pool in British Columbia. For one local business, Redbrick, co-ops have been an integral part of its success, and in the last year (September 2022 to September 2023), the company has hired 19 co-op students. One such student was Nusaibah Tarannum

“From the application process to day one, the team treated me like a full-time employee and I was involved in everything from customer support to team meetings,” she said. “Being fully integrated allowed me to apply the skills I gained through my Master’s degree at UVic, and put them towards meaningful work.”

Now a support specialist at Shift, also of the Redbrick parish, Tarannum reflects that her experience was special. Many other companies require candidates to be Canadian citizens, which prevented her from moving forward with an application. Besides being enrolled in a credible university or college, Redbrick has no conditions for candidates to apply for co-op roles, which helps international students like Tarannum get their first job. It’s also a sentiment that is shared by Christine Tatham, the VP of people and culture at Redbrick. 

“We are committed to fostering emerging talent, especially the talent in our own backyard, through co-op programs,” she said. “We’re proud to support the growth and development of young people in Victoria, especially at a time when many companies are cutting co-op work terms and internships.”

One of the reasons Redbrick offers these placements is because it is one of the key ways the company finds and retains talent. Since its initial involvement in the program, over 70 co-op students have come to Redbrick for work experience. Of that number, it has hired nearly 40 percent after graduation, for either part-time or full-time roles.  

“We are proud to be able to provide such a profound learning opportunity for young people in our community,” Tatham said.

🏙️ Community catchup, powered by VIATEC

  • Health Tech Nights are back after the summer break, and VIATEC is excited to bring you another evening of networking and great company alongside Victoria Hospitals Foundation. Join them for an engaging discussion between Avery Brohman, CEO of Victoria Hospitals Foundation, and Dr. Alan Andrew, radiologist and medical director at Island Health.

  • The VIATEC Community Awards will take place on November 30 in Carson Hall at the Victoria Conference Centre (720 Douglas Street.)

    The ceremony brings the tech community together to connect, spotlight, and celebrate some of the year’s most notable companies and individuals within Victoria’s $4 billion tech sector. This year the coalition is aiming to increase inclusivity and ensure that the broader tech community knows that they belong, even if they are not members of a specific organization.

    Nominations are now open for any Victoria tech company, as are opportunities for sponsorships slots. Early bird tickets are on sale now.


Entrepreneur Turned Lawyer: Geoff Dittrich

16 years ago, I fell in love with entrepreneurship.

Leaving BlackBerry at its height, I set out to build as many different businesses and social ventures as I could get involved in.

Throughout those experiences, I worked with enough lawyers to learn that I don’t like working with lawyers 😬

Having identified this problem, I did what most entrepreneurs do: create a solution.

I set out to become the lawyer I was looking for as an entrepreneur, but couldn’t find: one that has actually built businesses and can provide accessible, transparent, and practical legal support with that experience infused.

That’s why Ink LLP is a business law firm focused on high-growth companies and those that build them 🚀

Would love to help you build!

📰 More Victoria innovation news

🎁 Put a bow on it: Local holding company Tiny has completed its acquisition of Jagged Pixel, operators of a Shopify store automation.

⭐ Hang a star on it: Tech executive Bobbie Racette was honoured as UVic's Distinguished Entrepreneur of the Year.

👀 Keep your eye out for it: Victoria’s plant-based seafood company Save Da Sea saw its smoked salmon and tuna salad included as a Whole Foods Market Top 10 Food Trend for 2024!


AI-Powered Wealth Simplification: MyFO

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🕴️ Tech jobs of the week

Find your next career:

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Are your tech salaries competitive? Find out.

 With in-depth compensation data from 200+ tech companies, TAP Network’s 2023 Tech Sector Salary and Total Rewards Survey provides a clear picture of salaries in Canada’s tech sector. 

📅 Upcoming events

Oct 25 | Diversity Equity and Inclusion in STEM: How Migrant Women Can Leverage the Power of Networking: Whether you're a migrant woman already thriving in STEM or aspiring to make your mark, join to gain valuable insights and connections that will help you excel in your STEM journey.

Oct 25 | ProductTank Victoria & ProductBC Fall Mingler: Join for an evening of networking, learning, and exchanging ideas about product design, development, management, business modelling, metrics, user experience, and more. This session will have live music, networking, and 20-to-30 minutes to present your product or side project.

Oct 25 | Health Tech Nights: Join for an engaging discussion between Avery Brohman, CEO of Victoria Hospitals Foundation, and Dr. Alan Andrew, radiologist and medical director at Island Health.

Have an upcoming event? Reply to let us know.

🙋 I need a…

We at Victoria Tech Journal know you, our community, pretty well. Are you searching for someone in your field to have coffee with, a hiring hookup, a lead on local investors, or suggestion for a great Victoria tech tool? Whatever you’re hunting for, let us know. We’ll post it in this section and make it happen.

Email your requests to [email protected].

Have something or someone we should know about? Reply or email [email protected] so we can work together to spotlight the lesser-known stories of Victoria's tech ecosystem.

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