Rogers aims to build its own pool of tech talent in Calgary

Rogers Communications has announced plans for its national centre of technology and engineering excellence in Calgary.

Rogers THINKLab will set up shop at Shaw’s existing northeast campus on Barlow Trail, once the two communications companies close their proposed merger deal later this year.

It plans to create 500 jobs at the site.

The plan is to recruit students graduating from various post-secondary institutions to work at THINKLab.

Their focus will be on engineering, networks, as well as digital and information technologies.

The chief technology information officer for Rogers, Jorge Fernandes, said there’s a national shortage of tech workers. So their plan is to build their own talent pool.

Rogers wants to set up its THINKLab at Shaw’s existing northeast campus on Barlow Trail. (Google Earth)

“We’ve increased the relationships and the partnerships we have with post-secondary institutions and we’re beginning to find that talent early on, train them, work with them,” said Fernandes. 

“Essentially, show them a great environment so that they don’t feel they have to go south or work with U.S. companies to be exposed to the latest technologies.”

Fernandes said Calgary is an attractive city to set up this centre and the Shaw campus is the ideal home.

“We have a lot of technical capability in this building and a lot of future potential as well. So, it’s a natural place for us to be. We don’t have to rebuild anything.”

Creating opportunities

To assist with the process, Rogers has created an advisory council with representatives from various schools in Alberta and B.C. as well as economic organizations.

The CEO of the Calgary Chamber of Commerce, Deborah Yedlin, is one of the members of the council.

She said setting up this centre in Calgary shows the growing strength of the city’s tech sector.

There are currently an estimated 2,000 tech jobs that are vacant in the city. 

“Talent follows opportunity,” said Yedlin.

“This creates more opportunity. It also really puts Calgary out there on the map as a place where if you are looking at technology, if you are looking at hardware/software engineering, the critical mass is happening here.”

Mayor pleased with decision

Calgary mayor Jyoti Gondek was on hand for Thursday’s announcement.

She said Roger’s decision to locate THINKLab here is great news for Calgary.

“I think I’m most excited about the fact that we are going to be able to enrich people’s experiences in the field of engineering and technology by growing local talent and providing people the opportunities that they need to stay here in Calgary, to do the work that they love,” said Gondek.

Rogers and Shaw are awaiting regulatory approval from the Competition Bureau on their $26 billion merger deal.

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