Laurier at the top in career services

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Photo by Luke Sarazin

A national study ranked Wilfrid Laurier University number one for establishing the most impressive career services model amongst other Canadian post-secondary institutions.

Laurier’s high rank emerged from an independent study conducted by the Canadian Education and Research Institution for Counselling (CERIC).

CERIC is an organization that focuses on advancing education and research in career development and counselling.

Their study analyzed the career development models of universities and colleges across Canada to determine which models were deemed the most effective and efficient.

“The report stemming from the study, ‘Insight into Canadian Post-Secondary Career Service Models,’ looked at four characteristics which make up an impressive model of career services delivery,” Jan Basso, assistant vice-president of experiential learning and career development, said.

The key elements included evaluating services regularly, measuring outcomes, being proactive in delivery and being collaborative with campus stakeholders.

One of Laurier’s strengths includes the university’s focus on experiential learning, which ultimately provides students with a vast number of opportunities to gain career development and necessary skills.

Opportunities such as co-operative education, internships, laboratory experience, field placements and more provide students the chance to develop career-related skills.

One of the main ways that Laurier strives to implement their career services model is through the Centre for Experiential Learning and Career Development.

“When we look at the career centre’s vision, it’s that every student is engaged in their career development and an integral part of Laurier experience,” Basso said.

“In defining the vision in that way, it means we need to be providing comprehensive services to meet the needs of all students.”

According to various data, Basso said, students have indicated that it is decisions related to careers that lead them to pursuing post-secondary education.

“Students need to be engaged in the process. Taking the opportunity while you’re at university to explore options, to really get a better understanding of yourself, to look at career opportunities that might exist and make some good decisions based on experiences,” Basso said.

The career centre aids students throughout their undergraduate degree in order to match an individual’s interests to the correct programming or opportunities.

Basso explained that first and second-year students are given guidance surrounding summer and part-time jobs, whereas students in upper years begin to acquire information regarding skills, strategic volunteering and more.

“Working with the staff here in the [career centre] we provide [an] extensive number of individual appointments to talk [to individuals] about their particular career situation. We do about 7000 appointments annually through the career centre,” Basso said.

19 per cent of all appointments in the career centre are dedicated to helping students pursue or gain information about further education.

According to Laurier’s graduate survey for the class of 2015, 33 per cent of Laurier graduates have pursued further education upon finishing their undergraduate degree. The career centre runs over 600 workshops and events each year for students to participate in.

In a student engagement survey that was filled out by approximately 1000 Laurier students, 84 per cent of undergraduate students claimed to have engaged with the career centre in some shape or form.

“Whether it was by an appointment, a workshop, connecting through our website, using the resources that we have, [or] seeing us in our classrooms because we’re out delivering programming,” Basso said.

“We take a look at individual needs and try to develop specialized services to meet those needs.”

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