With workforce needs constantly evolving, and jobs being disrupted by technology, globalization and other forces, equipping students with the skills to tackle current challenges as well as meet tomorrow’s job requirements has become a tall order. Fortunately, Humber Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning in Toronto offers practical answers.
Graduates with experience in academic as well as work settings have an edge when it comes to launching a successful career, believes Larisa Duravetz, manager, Placements & International Initiatives at Humber’s Faculty of Media and Creative Arts. “Experiences in the workplace help students implement their skills in a real-world setting,” she says. “This allows them to explore – and reflect on – their chosen career, understand what they are good at, and receive critical feedback. They have guidance and mentorship from their employers as well as Humber advisers during their work terms, which contributes to a more meaningful learning experience.”
Work-integrated learning experiences, which bridge academic learning and the professional workplace, benefit both students and employers, says Ms. Duravetz. “Employers value the energy, enthusiasm and fresh ideas of our students,” she says. “When employers get to know the students and the students get to know the work environment, in many cases, there comes a job offer at the end.”
In the public administration graduate certificate program at Humber’s Faculty of Business, for example, 60 per cent of the graduates gain field placements with – and go on to work for – the Government of Ontario, 20 per cent for the Government of Canada, and the remainder for local governments and non-profit organizations, says Dr. Ted Glenn, professor and the program’s coordinator. “Our students have a minimum of eight weeks of experience working in their fields. After that, they don’t need much onboarding for these positions,” he says. “When they can prove their worth in the workplace, this leads to employment.“
Employers value the energy, enthusiasm and fresh ideas of our students. When employers get to know the students and the students get to know the work environment, in many cases, there comes a job offer at the end.— Larisa Duravetz, Manager, Placements & International Initiatives at Humber’s Faculty of Media and Creative Arts
Students also benefit from instructors with work experience, who present new and relevant case studies and examples in the classroom, says Dr. Glenn. “All our instructors come from the public sector. They bring their connections and experiences with the latest trends.”
Another priority area, which is strongly aligned with Humber’s academic and institutional strategies, is internationalization, says Rebecca Fitzgerald, associate director, International Mobility and Partnerships. “We know it is essential to prepare our students for the global knowledge-based economy. That’s why we offer a blend of academic and experiential learning experiences, including work placements, semester exchanges and courses abroad,” she explains. “We connect our students with peers, educators and leaders in their field from around the world. More than 700 of our students leave Ontario annually to pursue these kinds of opportunities.
“By offering experiential learning with and from global academic, community and industry partners, our students are better equipped to contribute and thrive in the global workforce,” says Ms. Fitzgerald.
An online global citizenship certificate attracts Humber students from a range of academic programs, such as community development, the culinary arts, electromechanical engineering and business, says Ms. Fitzgerald.
The program is focused on showcasing that “global citizenship is good citizenship,” she says. “The goal is to empower students to make choices that consider the interconnection between local context and global consequences.”
Students are craving the opportunity to engage with the world – they are already connected to a global audience through their communities and social media, believes Ms. Fitzgerald. With a diverse student body that includes over 7,000 international students at Humber, and situated within the multicultural hub Toronto, this provides a rich cultural background.
“By fostering cultural sensitivity, critical thinking, curiosity and global awareness, we are not only educating global citizens; we also equip them with a skill set that is highly valued by employers,” she adds.
Humber College • humber.ca
Produced by Randall Anthony Communications. The Globe’s editorial department was not involved in its creation.