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Choosing Your Career Before You Choose a School

There are many avenues to take when it comes to post-secondary education. It is important to remember that a specific university or college is not the only option for every individual. All schools have a lot to offer and it is worthwhile to take all into consideration when determining your academic goals.

Factors to Consider
Before students can make an informed post-secondary decision, they must consider all factors. Firstly, it is important for prospective students to research their chosen career field before deciding if attending a college or university is best. There are many resources available online outlining the high school level requirements for admission to post secondary programs, and the types of careers college and university programs lead to. Each institution will provide students with a different set of qualifications, even for similar programs. Co-op placements in school are also a fantastic way to try out a field you may be interested in, while establishing connections that may help you down the road.

4 Reasons Why you should know your Career Path before you choose a school

  1. Save Time – If you are struggling with a career choice and jump into a University or College course, you may end up switching streams after year 1 or year 2 which can slow down your career process. All that said, most students are young enough that they are not in a great hurry to graduate and jump into the workforce. Always speak to your high school guidance office and look into co-op placements. You may want to become a lawyer, work 3 months at a co-op internship at a law firm and realize it is not for you.
  2. Get Scholarships – Knowing what degree or diploma you are going for is a great idea when trying to gain assistance through scholarships. You can find a complete guide to University Scholarships in Canada here https://www.univcan.ca/programs-and-scholarships/ You can find information on Ontario Scholarships here https://www.ontario.ca/page/student-loans-grants-scholarships-and-bursaries#section-2. You can also find Canada wide info here https://www.canada.ca/en/services/finance/educationfunding/scholarships.html
  3. Smooth Transition to the Work World – If you are in the right stream and have a good idea of your career path, your chances of landing a job are better than most. Networking events, connections through graduates, joining clubs and if co-op or internships are available, you will open many doors to your career.
  4. Save Money – If you are undecided on your career choice while enrolled in university or college you may decide to make a change and this can be costly. If you switch degrees, change courses, relocate to a new campus, the cost of new books, and find living accommodations, can all lead to an expensive transition while at school. As mentioned above, talk to people in a field you are interested in, look for high school co-op programs to help you make the right choices

Students should also take their financial situation into consideration. Tuitions may differ slightly depending on the program and Institution and typically University fees will be higher than college. In addition, the length of a university program can take between 3 to 5 years to complete, while most college programs may only take 2 years.

For those considering post secondary in Ontario they are fortunate to have a diverse wealth of choices that can appeal to any student. Those who thrive
in a more intimate setting may prefer to look at a small school, others may
like the action in the middle of large downtowns. Simply put, todays colleges and universities provide students with greater opportunities to study and work in a specific field than ever before.

It’s Never too early to start thinking about a post-secondary plan

With so many resources in Ontario, young students can do their research and start asking questions

There are few decisions in life bigger than choosing a college or university,
and the range of options can be daunting. There are 24 colleges and 21
universities in Ontario offering more than 3,000 programs of study, so where to start?

The Ontario Universities’ Info website and the Ontario Colleges website are
the best places to get underway. They provide checklists, key dates and links to every university and college in the province.

The OUInfo website last year got more than two million hits and it’s had
14 million hits since September 2010, so we know it’s a huge resource,” said Deanna Underwood, manager of communications and events for the Ontario Universities Application Centre.

“The information there is updated by all Ontario universities and goes live
at the end of August for the coming school year.”

There are also reputable rankings of colleges and universities in publications such as Macleans, Times Higher Education and QS. All of that will give you a lay of the land and help narrow down your options. The next step is getting out from behind your computer.

Grade 12 student Tawhid Ahmed plans to attend post-secondary fairs, take campus tours and maybe even visit one of his older brother’s classes as he makes a decision about what comes after high school for him.

His father wants Tawhid to study at university but he’s also considering

“I like hands-on. I can’t just sit at a desk. I need to do something with my hands.”

He’s leaning towards engineering and has relied heavily on advice from
guidance counsellors at his Hamilton high school, Bernie Custis Secondary

“They’ve told me that it’s important I find something I am passionate about.”

Trish Wilson, head of student services at BCSS, says some parents are still of
the mindset that university is the most ideal path, but that’s based on outdated notions.

“If a student wants to go to college, they should get their parents to visit the campus to look at the facilities and talk to faculty. A lot of parents don’t understand the close relationship between colleges and universities.”

Educational and career counsellor Edie Kaus says many colleges offer degree path programs that are great for students who need practical, hands-on learning with smaller class sizes.

Start early
Students must submit their applications by January and February of their graduating year. Leaving all the research until Grade 12 isn’t feasible and will only lead to feeling overwhelmed and stressed and rushing a very important decision.

“There are so many programs out there and so many different models for how they are delivered. It’s so difficult to keep up with all of it,” said Kaus. “It’s a full-time job for me to do that.”

She starts working with students mid-way through their Grade 10 year. That’s an important time because Grade 11 courses are the first grades
examined by post-secondary schools and lead to prerequisites for first year.

She says students who have a program in mind should look at the courses they will be taking, the kinds of electives that are open to them, whether they can do a co-op. They should even look at the course outlines to see kinds of assignments they will be doing, and the methods of evaluations. Is it multiple choice tests or group projects?

“This is a very expensive endeavour, so put the necessary time into it,” says Kaus, a former leader of high school guidance departments.

Take advantage of fairs
The fall brings one-stop college and university fairs for prospective

The Ontario Universities’ Fair (ouf.ca) and the Ontario College Information Fair (ocif.ca) have been doing an incredible job hosting virtual events allowing high school students and their families to meet faculty, students and staff from admissions, residents, sports and other co-curricular programs from each institution from your computer.  The health and safety of everyone has been priority one.  Planning is in the works for face to face fairs, please keep checking this and the OUF & OCIF websites.

Like the in person events, the online versions have are filled with information sessions about programs, admission requirements, paying for education, career planning, the application process and student life.

Don’t be shy, Wilson tells students. It’s your chance to interview your
potential choices (both virtually and when they are live events).

“Start writing down questions so that when you have the opportunity to talk to someone you are prepared. Be organized, keep a notebook with your
questions and answers.”

Not sure what to ask? The Ontario Universities Fair website includes questions to ask yourself about your strengths, interests, and goals and to ask university representatives, students and alumni about programs, finances, and campus life.

Recruiters from the universities and colleges also take to the road to visit high schools across the province, offering presentations and opportunities for students to ask questions. Be sure to ask your guidance counsellors for a schedule of visits.

Campus life
Do you want to be part of a big, bustling school or a small intimate one? Do you want a big-city campus experience or a quiet, self-contained one? How do you want to learn? Big lectures or small labs? Are you all about research, analysis and writing or hands-on experience and applied practice? Working alone or in teams? Universities and colleges hold open houses where faculty and students are available to talk to current students, and all labs and classrooms, residences and campus amenities are open to explore. You will know after spending a few hours wandering and asking questions whether a campus is a place you could picture yourself for the next three or four years.

“Anything within a few hours’ drive is worth the effort to see in person. You
really want a sense of whether you feel comfortable,” said Wilson.

If you can’t make an open house, students and their families can also book private campus tours hosted by current students. Check university’s websites for more information on in person and virtual open house.

While a campus visit is ideal, it sometimes can’t be achieved. So be sure to read thoroughly about the dorms, food, recreational and cocurricular activities on campus. Look at photos and watch videos. Try to track down current students or recent alumni to ask them questions.

Embrace this time
Kate Hatcher, a student success officer at BCSS, helps young people manage
the transitions into and out of high school.

“When students are panicking about all the choices and decisions they have to make, I tell them that (post-secondary) is an amazing experience and will be the best time of their life. Embrace it and know that there all kinds of supports along the way.”

7 Strategies That Successful Students Use to Stay Focused

Post-secondary is much different than high school. That may seem obvious, but it’s important to be prepared for what will be expected of you. Students who aren’t prepared for the heavy work load, longer classes, and increased independence can find themselves struggling to adjust.

■■1. Find a way to organize
The volume and speed of the work that comes in university and college takes many students by surprise. It’s important to stay organized and on top of readings, assignments, labs, tests and exams. Use a calendar – either electronic or paper-based – to write down due dates and to-do lists.

Journalism student Isabella Krzykala, who graduated from Sheridan College, says a day planner “saved my life. I wrote down everything I had to do and checked things off as I did them. It was my brain in one book.”

Maddy Patterson, a special events management student at George Brown College, goes through the course outline for each class and writes down all the due dates for the semester. Each Sunday, she writes a list of what she needs to accomplish for the upcoming week, incorporating her part-time work schedule and laying out a plan for the nights she’s free.

“My visual outline of my work really helps me stay ahead of things.”

Check out this “how to” guide for Google Calendars found here:

■■2. Focus on focus
Krzykala says at first it was hard to sit still and concentrate during three-hour classes. But she forced herself to adjust by answering and asking questions and writing down notes. Both require active listening, enhance learning, and help to build a relationship with instructors. Bring along water and healthy snacks to stay fuelled up.

Limit mobile distractions while studying by leaving your phone in another room, disconnecting your laptop from Wi-Fi, or at least limiting how much you’ll check social media or texts to once an hour or so. “It’s easy to look at it without even thinking about it,” said Krzykala. “It’s just out of habit but it interrupts your concentration.”

How to Study with INTENSE Focus:

■■3. Don’t procrastinate
Leaving work until the last minute increases stress and decreases quality. Krzykala always starts assignments as soon as she gets them, even if it’s just 20 minutes. “There were a couple of times I left things too late and I got overwhelmed and stayed up too late and it was terrible. If you start everything on time, get into a good rhythm and use your time right, it shouldn’t happen too much.”

Patterson says it’s important to make good use of breaks between classes because the pace of work in college can be deceiving. “You can feel ahead one week and behind the next.”

Video tips for productivity:

■■4. The right place
Find the place that allows you to work the most productively – an office at home, a dorm room, a library or a coffee shop. “I know the room in my house where I work best,” said Patterson. “I go in there with the mindset that I will work for this amount of time and not do anything else.”

How to create an organized, productive study space:

■■5. Find a good group to work with
Seek out relationships with fellow students who share your motivation. You’ll learn from one another and reinforce good habits in each other. “Not everyone has the same initiative or cares as much about their education,” said Patterson. “Group work can be a challenge. Learn who you work well with and who shares your work ethic.”

Study groups and other tips on how to excel at University or College:

■■6. Set goals
Think about the marks you want to achieve. You may find you have to readjust but it’s always better to have something to shoot for than to just hope for the best. And when you reach your goals, reward yourself. Maybe that’s with a fancy coffee, a dessert with friends or a few hours off from studying.

But Krzykala, who now studies journalism at Ryerson University, warns against being too hard on yourself. “A bad mark should not ruin your day. My mom told me that I’m going to school to learn. I’m not an expert. So, I try to learn from it when I get a mark I don’t like.”

Set goals for your next exam, video here:

■■7. Use college resources
Don’t be afraid to ask help from your instructors. University and College is the time to advocate for yourself and seek what you need. There are plenty of campus academic resources, too, to help with course selection, career path preparation, and study skills. Take advantage of everything available to you to do well.

“Going to a guidance counsellor has been so helpful to me in choosing my electives well,” said Patterson. “Most people don’t realize the help they can get with that.”

5 things to know after you get in to University (U of T edition) VIDEO

Post Secondary Choices. Words of Wisdom

post secondary education

Real life examples of Post Secondary Choices.

If only we had the opportunity to go back and offer words of wisdom and advice to our younger selves, especially our younger selves about to embark on one of life’s great transitions – moving from high school to college or university.

But since time machines have yet to be perfected, we will rely on the words of those who have recently been through it. What would current college or university students or recent graduates tell high-school students thinking about their post-secondary choices and the journey ahead?

Randeep Mandar

Every time a university recruiter came to visit her high school when she was in grades 11 and 12, Randeep Mandar collected university program brochures.

“I meticulously went through them all. I put a lot of time into narrowing down my choices.”

Ryerson University was an easy choice. She liked the big-city setting and it was the ideal distance from her hometown in Waterloo, Ont. But picking the program was harder, she says.

She eventually settled on journalism and fast forward five years and Mandar, 22, has earned a four-year degree and will embark on earning a graduate degree in a year.

She advises incoming students to take part in every faculty event and to get to know their instructors.

“Take part in the opportunities that you have. It’s part of the experience.”

As for what she would do differently if she had to do it all again, Mandar says she should have more seriously considered attending college. She says she succumbed to family pressure to go to university.

“I was hyper-focused on university, but I actually think I may have been better to do two years at college first,” she said.

“My advice would be that if you don’t feel ready for university, look at college. There are a lot of options out of college. Don’t limit yourself to what you think others want. Focus on what makes you happy.”

Nikolai Laganin

Nikolai Laganin had little idea what he might want to study as he approached the end of his school years at a Burlington, Ont. high school.

His mother Bojana Maric worried that he wouldn’t find his way. She urged him to try technology or computers, but he wasn’t convinced. He listened to the presentations of college and university recruiters who came to his high school and came home with half a dozen brochures.

But nothing really captured his interest.

He applied to five different programs at several colleges, including computer technology and cybersecurity, but Laganin, 18, who likes cars and working with his hands, decided Mohawk College’s aviation maintenance program was a good fit for him.

He says it’s the best decision he’s ever made.

“I honestly love it. My classroom is in a hangar with helicopters and airplanes,” he said. “I couldn’t be happier with the program. Every day I’m learning something new.”

Maric hoped he would choose Mohawk, since she had such a great experience there in the 1990s, studying office administration and then computer systems.

Now her son is texting her pictures with captions that read: “Mom, I’m under a plane right now.”

In January, Laganin and his classmates will move into a new facility at the airport with state-of-the-art classrooms and hangar space to work on aircraft.

“I look outside and there is a constant arrival of cargo planes. It’s just so cool.”

Laganin’s advice to high school students is simple: “Find a program that suits you. It doesn’t matter what you do as long as you like it.”

Maryse Belleau

When Maryse Belleau was choosing which university to attend, her choice was rather simple. As a Francophone, she knew she wanted to learn in French and wanted to stay in Ontario. That left her with Laurentian University and the University of Ottawa.

A visit to the Sudbury university campus made her decision for her.

“I’m not a fan of big cities. My high school was about 90 minutes away from Ottawa, so I had visited the university there a number of times. My father convinced me to go visit Laurentian. The second I arrived, my decision was made. I loved it.”

The natural, outdoorsy northern setting and the relatively small size of the campus suited her, says Belleau. An upper-year student conducting the tour painted a picture of university life that resonated, too.

She graduated in June 2019 with a bachelors in geography. She’s now in the second year of a French education program with the goal of becoming a teacher. Belleau is also a senior liaison ambassador at Laurentian, overseeing the students who conduct tours.

Looking back, Belleau says she should have done more research into her university choice, even though it has all worked out for her.

She urges all high-school students making a post-secondary decision to visit prospective campuses, even if tours aren’t available right now. Connect with student ambassadors who can answer your questions and give you a student perspective, she says.

Spend time on virtual tours and take advantage of all the online resources post-secondary institutions have created to help students make a decision.

Belleau advises new students to take as many electives in areas of interest as they can. She discovered her initial choice in health sciences wasn’t for her, but a geography elective showed her a new path.

“I wish I had known earlier it was OK to change my mind. I didn’t switch programs until third year, even though I knew in first year health wasn’t for me.”

Belleau also urges students to participate in all the clubs and events that interest them. When she arrived to Laurentian, she was a shy first-year student five hours away from home. Extra-curricular activities helped her make friends and feel a part of the university community.

“Delve in campus life as much as you can. It will be over before you know it.”


Student Perspective 2021 in the Globe and Mail

student perspective globe and mail 2021

Student Perspective is an annual feature in The Globe and Mail showcasing Ontario’s Colleges and Universities. Check out our features on how to plan during these uncertain times, online learning, and tips on choosing a school. You can also check out the many Fall and Winter 2021 Open Houses inside.

Student Perspective Globe and Mail 

Lazaridis School of Business & Economics: Be More Than Your Degree

lazaridis school of business & economics

Be more than your degree at Lazaridis School of Business & Economics.  You need to be ready for the world that’s coming.  Today’s society needs exceptional people, those people study and teach at Lazaridis School of Business & Economics.  Join the growing community at the Lazaridis School and surround yourself with top business and economics students, professors, and business leaders.  Earn while you learn, gaining experience in Canada’s largest business degree co-op program. Graduate career-ready and in high-demand. Earn your BBA or Economics degree in Waterloo, Canada’s most vibrant startup community.  Study Business Technology Management on our Brantford campus and be part of a specialized tight-knit community. It’s your time to succeed, so Succeed at Laurier.


How to Help Your Child Choose the Right University or College

Going off to university or college is one of the most exciting times in a young person’s life. It is the climax of so many rom-coms and high school dramas for a very good reason; this is the moment where teenagers take their first great steps towards becoming adults.

Even before applications to schools start going out, there is a lot of work to be done simply to determine which schools and programs best meet your child’s needs and goals. Picking the right school is often an extremely complex process involving research, talking to the right people, and budgeting for expenses such as tuition, accommodation, commuting, and food.

Though this can be a stressful time for your child, it is also an excellent opportunity for you as a parent to step into an uber-supportive role and help them through this process in a productive way. This is especially true in a post-COVID-19 world, where a great deal of uncertainty still surrounds what the future will hold for many young individuals’ academic experiences. Being there to help your child navigate the new pandemic-spurred complexities of choosing a school is important.

Here are a few useful tips on how you can help your child choose the right university or college:


Your child is probably completely overwhelmed by everything that picking a college or university involves. This is the biggest decision they have ever made and knowing how to work through it in an informed, organized way, as well as what questions to ask, may not come naturally to them.

As the parent, you can help your child by advising them on what things to research when looking at different colleges and universities. Suggest using spreadsheets and note-taking systems to record information like tuition costs or programs of interest in ways that will be easy to reference later. It is also helpful to ask questions about the location of the campus, what first year housing is like and most importantly, whether the school has programs that cater to your child’s interests.

sheridan college globe and mail

For example, one university may have a science program that your child is interested in, but its campus may lack the excitement of another university with a downtown location. Helping them to decide what is important to their student experience and where compromises are acceptable will aid them in narrowing down their choices.

It is important that throughout this process you do not tell your child what they should be prioritizing but rather help them to identify the things that they value.

Look for virtual events and resources

COVID-19 has changed the game for how prospective students explore colleges and universities. While nothing quite captures the magic of visiting a campus in person, schools are quickly adapting to the limitations of safe travel and accommodation by programming a slew of virtual events. These offer people plenty of opportunities to connect with other prospective students and get to know what a school has to offer.

While it is still worthwhile to try and visit campuses to get a real sense of what student life is like, virtual events make it easier to explore more options without having to spend money and time on flights, accommodations, or long drives.

Compare student safety information

Even though COVID restrictions are gradually easing, the student experience has fundamentally changed as a result of the pandemic. As mandated by the government, all colleges and universities are expected to have a COVID safety plan in place for staff and students, however, not all plans are equal.

It is important when considering schools for you and your child to review each institution’s safety plan and how it has been received by people in attendance. Look for articles published in local and student papers and do your own research to establish whether you and your child are satisfied with the measures put in place. This will help give both of you peace of mind knowing the institution your child chooses is a responsible one that prioritizes student safety.

Run the numbers

There are no two ways about it; school is expensive. We may be lucky in Canada to have low tuition relative to the United States, but even so, going to college or university is no small financial consideration. Even after tuition payments, there are always the added costs of textbooks, housing, commuter fees, and food to factor in.

This can be an excellent opportunity to educate your child on financial responsibilities by having them put together a budget based on estimated expenses and doing research into financial aid. The Canadian Government offers their provincial and federal loan programs and your child’s prospective school will likely have its own scholarships, which can help to reduce the costs associated with enrolling for higher education in a college or university.

Know when to step back

Going to a post-secondary school is all about your child leaving home to take their first steps towards adulthood. It is about them learning how to be independent from their parents, making challenging decisions on their own and then embracing what those decisions lead to. This is also a huge adjustment period for parents who might not be used to life without their kids around everyday. That dreaded “empty-nester” feeling can actually be as bad as it is made out to be!

One of the most important things you as a parent can do is know when to be there to support your child and then when to step back and let them figure things out themselves. Giving your child the space to work through things like deciding which school or program they want to apply to will make the results of those decisions all the more fulfilling.

Choosing a university or college can be stressful but it does not have to be. By following these steps and helping your child to navigate the complexities of researching schools and completing applications, this can be an opportunity for immense growth and development.

The odds are you and your child will only get this one opportunity to apply to schools (unless they go on to a master’s degree), so, make the most of it! School is an exciting time and there is so much to look forward to. Bringing positivity and encouragement to the discussion rather than stress and pressure, can set the tone for your child’s overall experience at university or college. It also helps them to cultivate better coping strategies for stress which will serve them extremely well come examination time at the end of each semester.

Ontario Graduates:Partnerships with Business on the rise

Ontario attracts investment from global companies because of the talented and skilled graduates of its post-secondary institutions. Finding and keeping the right talent is the biggest challenge for today’s employers in a time of upheaval, transition and labour shortages in many sectors.

Each of the province’s 24 colleges and 22 universities provide a continuous pipeline of skilled workers, partnering with employers to create innovative ways to prepare students for the jobs of today and tomorrow and to help current workers adapt to changing technology.

“Input from employers plays a pivotal role throughout all of Durham College’s program development activities,” said Debbie Johnston, Dean of the Centre for Professional and Part-time Learning at Durham College in Oshawa.

Frequent labour market scans allow the college to identify and analyze emerging employment trends and opportunities. As well, Durham College gets input on ideas for new certificates, diplomas, graduate certificates and degrees from its more than 100 program advisory committees, which are made up of industry leaders.

“The close working relationships that Durham College has with hundreds of businesses play a critical role in ensuring we address real needs – both now and for the future.”

Mohawk College in Hamilton has established partnerships with more than 2,000 employers and industry stakeholders, said James Vanderveken, Dean, Centre for Community Partnerships and Experiential Learning.

lazaridis school of business economics

Mohawk has made a significant commitment to implementing a demand-led education model, involving employers in all stages of the education process, says Vanderveken.

“This approach has proven successful over the past several years, providing students with the most relevant skills they need to pursue their chosen fields of work and providing employers with a potential workforce that has been trained with employer input to ensure suitability for the regional work environment. Often, the demand-led model of training creates a pathway directly from education to employment.”

Mohawk has embarked on an ambitious five-year workforce-recovery initiative called Challenge 2025 that commits intensified resources to address poverty, under-education, labour shortages, unemployment and underemployment in the Greater Hamilton Area. Employers, social service agencies, and the college are working together to provide training, family support, work placements and an opportunity for employment to people on social assistance.

A material handling program through City School by Mohawk provides participants with six weeks of instruction, a two-week paid work placement, and wraparound supports such as childcare, work safety equipment, and referrals to support services such as legal clinics, housing, and health care.

Similar projects have focused on programs for pharmacy assistants, early childhood education assistants and personal support workers.

Challenge 2025 initiatives also include a pilot project in the supply chain sector that is training 144 people, including recipients of Ontario Works, newcomers and youth. Another project is engaging other colleges across Canada in delivering targeted training courses.

Ontario’s universities are also leading innovative partnerships, including Ryerson University, which along with the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, founded Magnet Hub to harnesss jobmatching technology that addresses unemployment and underemployment. It brings together 30 postsecondary institutions, 13,000 employers, 250 community partners and more than 90,000 job seekers.

The Executive Master’s in Technology Management program at Wilfrid Laurier University develops digital literacy, innovation management and design thinking skills for business leaders in order to drive innovation and technology adoption.

Universities have also developed deep sector-specific collaborations, including Lakehead University’s new Centre for Advanced Science and Engineering Studies works with businesses on sustainable resources development and prepare students for jobs in the mining sector.

The University of Windsor’s Clean Combustion Engine Laboratory (CCEL) is where the university and Ford Canada are working together to train the next generation of auto workers.

Aerospace giants Bombardier, Pratt & Whitney Canada, Honeywell and Safran are investing in a collaboration between Ryerson University, the University of Toronto, York University and local colleges to transform Toronto’s Downsview Park into an aerospace hub, advance the industry and train the next generation of aerospace workers.

The Centre for Research in Occupational Safety and Health (CROSH) at Laurentian University has a one-of-a-kind mobile lab dedicated to the prevention of occupational illness and industry through research into fatigue mitigation, mobile equipment accident prevention,  vibrationinduced injury prevention, heat stress prevention, and sleep hygiene.

Universities are also helping prepare workers at all stages of their careers in advanced manufacturing to work with emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, 3D printing, and robotics.

A great example is the Continuous Studies office at Ontario Tech University, which offers short programs that allow manufacturing workers to develop transferable skills while working. The university is also developing short master’s certificates to assist managers to move from one sector to another.

Another great example of a partnership in action is between the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) and the School of Transportation at Centennial College, which offers programs in automotive, truck and coach, heavy duty equipment and aviation.

“The aging workforce and growth in urban transit are exacerbating an existing technician shortage,” said Dean Alan McClelland. Centennial College is doubling the number of  apprentices in TTC program, which better prepares truck and coach apprentices for novel technologies that are found on buses. These include advanced climate controls, hybrid-electric drive systems, battery-electric drive systems and communication networks.

“There are several trades with such a shortage of skilled people that merely letting apprentices go for their in-school training leaves their workplaces shortstaffed,” said McClelland. So, to prevent disruption to their employer, Centennial now offers a part-time option where apprentices can attend class on Saturdays and complete one level each academic year.

The trades included in this option are autobody and collision damage technician, truck and coach technician and truck trailer technician.

Colleges and universities are also rolling out a suite of micro-credentials – rapid training programs to help workers upgrade their skills to succeed in their current careers or find new employment.

Micro-credentials are short in duration, may be completed online, and can be designed for the specific needs of employers and jobs.

At Fanshawe College in London, for instance, micro-credentials are responding to emerging demands in business, information technology, media, technology, trades and education.

As well, Humber College’s Advanced Manufacturing Micro-Credentials Program offers laid-off workers and job seekers seven new micro-credentials that prepare them for employment in
advanced manufacturing.

DeGroote School of Business: Strong support system for students

Nijhum Saha has only just started her first year at McMaster’s DeGroote School of Business, but she’s already become an integral part of the community.

The Brampton native has always been a very community-oriented person. In fact, she says that one of the reasons why she chose to attend DeGroote for university is its reputation for having a strong network and support system for students. “I’ve been researching universities since middle school and I was so excited to come here. When I was accepted, I wanted to contribute to that community network in my own way.”

Even before high school ended, she created two social groups called “DeGroote Class of 2025” (on Instagram and Discord) that aimed to create a sense of community and engage the incoming class.

“I noticed other students were a bit intimidated about going to university. So I started the social groups as a way to put information out there and gather others together to make it a little less scary. Soon, clubs at Mac were contacting me to give out their information and it became kind of a communications centre. I made sure to attend all the webinars and source good information so I could help answer questions and direct people to the right places.”

When she and her fellow classmates arrived on campus in September, the social groups grew even more. With about 600 followers now on Instagram, Nijhum posts stories that share resources for events, club activities, residence info and other social and academic opportunities.

“There’s a lot going on during first year here on campus, and especially with Covid, this seems to be a great way to connect with others going through it too.”

Nijhum says that Welcome Week activities were a lot of fun and a fantastic way to continue building the community and add the in-person element. “I met a lot of Greensuits that first week and introduced myself and was recognized as the admin behind the groups. It was such a fun feeling and it’s been really great to have their support.”

When asked why she’s passionate about fostering a sense of inclusivity, engagement and community, she responds that it’s less scary and more supportive than trying to do it alone.

“I love that the DeGroote experience has lived up to its reputation – the profs are very helpful and the community is amazing. I’m joining the DeGroote Women in Business group and the Accounting Association and I’m going to run for first-year class rep. I know my experience here will be a good one where I can focus on both building a close network and focusing on academics. I’m so glad I chose DeGroote.”

degroote school of business globe and mail

Success Matters at Durham College

How do you prepare for the careers of tomorrow at a time when everything seems to be
changing? It’s a question many students are asking themselves after eighteen months of a
global pandemic that has transformed the way we work, learn and live.

Despite this, the formula for success hasn’t changed – and it’s the same one Durham College
(DC) has been using for decades to prepare students to face the world head-on.

Whether learning from expert faculty in state-of-the-art facilities or participating in
interactive, experiential learning opportunities – like co-op, applied research, field placement
and more – students at DC gain the theoretical knowledge and real-world experience that
help them pursue their ambitions and make them valuable to employers.

Since 1967, more than 100,000 DC students have graduated career-ready and prepared to
create meaningful change in their communities, including notable alumni like Tamara Dus and
Brent Lessard.

A health care trailblazer on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic, Dus co-led the provincial pilot vaccination roll-out plan in 2021 and administered the first Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine in Ontario. In the tech industry, Premier’s Award recipient Lessard graduated from DC and went on to co-found rLoop, Inc., a non-profit think tank with more than 1,600 members who develop and launch world-changing technology. Dus and Lessard began their stories at DC, where they gained valuable skills required to become leaders in their sectors.

As students are given the opportunity to forge their own path, exploring programs
and credentials that best suit their needs, they’re supported with access to programming,
events and services that nurture entrepreneurship, creativity, sustainability, diversity,
inclusion, mental wellness, and Indigenous culture, helping them develop as global citizens.

This unique DC culture has helped graduates in the real world draw on their knowledge and
passion to contribute to their career sectors in amazing ways.

As a chef turned filmmaker who has seen early career success putting the ‘art’ in culinary
arts, alumna Kristin Atwood is another example of how DC students are thriving post graduation.  Atwood spent her time at DC gaining hands-on experience in the kitchens at the W. Galen Weston Centre for Food, while exploring her creative interests outside of cooking.  Since graduating in 2017, she has relocated to Scotland and founded Chef Studio, a Daytime Emmy® and James Beard nominated creative food and film production company specializing in creative cooking content for digital and broadcast platforms. She was also named Best New Filmmaker at the Canadian Diversity Film Festival.

There are thousands more stories of innovative DC grads succeeding in their chosen careers
– building upon the specialized knowledge and real-world experience gained in college
that employers are looking for when hiring. As students prepare to take the step into postsecondary education, asking themselves, “where do I go from here?” the answer is easy – go where success matters.

To learn more about Durham College, its market-driven programs and exceptional student
experience, visit www.durhamcollege.ca.

durham college open house 2021

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