Free Workshops Help SCS Students Enter Job Market

2013-2014 Issue 1

PHOTO: MEGAN HUDSON

PHOTO: MEGAN HUDSON

This fall, McGill’s School of Continuing Studies’ (SCS) launched a series of Labour Market Workshops, which focus on Quebec economic trends and labour standards, interview skills, cultural tips and tools for newcomers to Canada’s job market, how to leverage LinkedIn, targeting CVs and cover letters, and more.

Each free workshop, open to all SCS students, is offered at three different times – afternoon, evening or Saturday morning – so students can choose a time slot to fit their schedule.

The workshops are part of a pilot project in career advising and transition services, developed within Client Services.

“We hope that these pilot workshops help our students to make a smooth, confident and fulfilling transition into the labour market,” says Maia Korotkina, project coordinator, workshop facilitator and employment advisor.

MAIA KOROTKINA AND GIANNA GIARDINO; PHOTO: MEGAN HUDSON

MAIA KOROTKINA AND GIANNA GIARDINO; PHOTO: MEGAN HUDSON

Last August, 61 students signed on to attend all eight workshops in the pilot project. By making this commitment, they became eligible for a one-hour orientation interview and two additional one-on-one employability coaching sessions with Korotkina – all sponsored by McGill donor funding.

The combination of group workshops and individual coaching sessions provided them with continuity, coherence, and targeted support through the professional transition.

“On average, our students are 10- to-15 years older than full-time university students. They possess international or local credentials and work experience. They may juggle multiple work and family commitments,” explains Korotkina.

“We’re trying to help them cross the bridge to employment with practical, concise workshops that are relevant to their needs.”

TOPICS ON TARGET

“Other workshops really didn’t give me enough information about what I needed to know about the Canadian labour market,” says Gloria Jaime, a chemical engineer and SCS student making the transition from the job market in Columbia. “When I worked with Maia, I began to realize many things I didn’t know before.”

Jaime landed two job interviews after revamping her CV, based on what she learned in a labour market workshop. “Our vision is to help our students become employment-ready,” says Gianna Giardino, Senior Manager, Client Services. “It’s all about helping them move through the job market confidently.”
Student surveys, faculty consultations and focus groups guided the project’s development. In addition, surveys of new SCS graduates have consistently asked for more career planning and transition services.

“We know we’re right on target in terms of what we delivered and that we met our students’ needs,” Giardino says.

PHOTO: MEGAN HUDSON

PHOTO: MEGAN HUDSON

The Labour Market Workshops are the first step in Client Services’ strategic plan to expand their career advising and transitional services, she adds. Future initiatives may include mentoring, networking and internship projects.

Client Services hopes to offer a similar series of workshops during the winter session, based on the availability of donor funding.

“We’re extremely grateful for the donor funding that allowed us to launch this service,” says Giardino.

Donors included the State Street Foundation, Zellers Foundation, McGill Association of Continuing Education Students (MACES), and generous supporters.

Planning to attend a winter workshop? Check our website for news: http://www.mcgill.ca/scs-workshops.

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