If Aaryn Flynn, the general manager of BioWare, was stuck in an elevator with his industry’s top talent, here’s how he’d talk them into working at BioWare: “I’d pitch them on the incredibly high-quality talent they get to work with,” he says. “BioWare is a world-class studio, and part of working at BioWare is working with people who will push you, make you better, challenge you and make you world class as well.” Doesn’t that sound like a great place to start a career? Vesna Penava, a senior human resource manager with BioWare, backs this up. Young people shouldn’t have to worry about picking a workplace with a good atmosphere or one with an upstanding reputation – good companies should do both. “Our culture tends to cater to young people’s appetites,” she says. “It’s laid back and focused on being a creative and fun environment with tons of perks.” Perhaps it’s not surprising: BioWare, after all, is the maker of such successful video game franchises as Baldur’s Gate, Mass Effect and Dragon Age. The company works in partnership with the University of Alberta, which introduces young people interested in video games to the brand early. But BioWare also provides plenty of other opportunities for young people to get a foot in the door, like through its internship and co-op programs. “We’ve had some truly phenomenal talent come in through that,” says Leanne Korotash, HR manager for BioWare Edmonton. As a final note, Penava says she’s only been with BioWare for 10 months. When she told people where she’d be working, “Young people were jumping out of their seats, saying, ‘You’re going to work for the coolest company in Alberta!’” she says. “I asked, ‘Why?’ But now that I’m here, I see why – it’s all about the quality of the games and having fun while you do it.”

The Finalists

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Ambyint, Calgary The oilfield service company launched its unlimited vacation policy to allow recent immigrants time to visit home more frequently and for longer periods of time.
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City of Calgary Calgary’s summer student program provides jobs for 150 post-secondary students in areas as diverse as communications, emergency management, engineering, law and environmental science.


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North Strategic, Calgary Winner for Benefits, Perks and Incentives and Best Overall, Under 100 Employees, North Strategic also scored well for young people.

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RedBloom Salon, Calgary Also a finalist for Best Overall, Under 100 Employees, RedBloom has an in-house stylist program, offered at no cost, to train new apprentices.