Province of BC provides a 3-year funding commitment to enhance and strengthen WIL opportunities
College of the Rockies’ received a boost recently when the Ministry of Post-Secondary Education and Future Skills indicated that they had received funding under the StrongerBC: Future Ready Action Plan to support efforts to increase and enhance co-operative education and other work-integrated learning (WIL) opportunities for students.
“We are so pleased the province recognizes the value of work-integrated learning as part of a whole education and is supporting us in building out a robust suite of opportunities for our students,” said Paul Vogt, College of the Rockies President and CEO. “As a college early in our WIL journey, the funding will enable us to connect our students and industry in an intentional, community-minded, and sustainable manner.”
Work-integrated learning is a form of experiential education that integrates a student’s academic studies with quality experiences within a workplace or practice setting. WIL experiences include an academic institution, a host organization, and a student and is important in the development of student learning objectives and outcomes related to: employability, agency, knowledge and skill mobility, and life-long learning.
“Every action in the StrongerBC: Future Ready Action Plan is designed to build a better future for people and a stronger economy for B.C.,” said Selina Robinson, Minister of Post-Secondary Education and Future Skills. “Work-integrated learning helps future workers access the hands-on experience they need to launch their careers and benefits employers by having workers who they train and can become potential new employees.”
“Co-op allowed me to put my education to practice and get an up-front view of the social work industry,” said Jasmine Mclean, Pre-Social Work Major. “It provided an opportunity for personal and professional growth, and I was supported through the entire process. This experience gave me the opportunity to ensure I was on the right education path and created a clearer picture of my future career. I would absolutely recommend co-op to other students.”
Funds received by the College, will be used to build out systems and processes, collect data, conduct outreach to faculty and regional communities, and to tell the story of WIL at the College.
Of the nine types of work-integrated learning opportunities, College of the Rockies currently engages in six:
- Community Projects
- Co-operative education (either embedded in the curriculum or an optional add on)
- Service Learning
- Professional Practicum/Clinical (i.e., education assistant, nursing, dental)
With these additional funds, the College will focus on engaging with employers and informing them of the different types of WIL, connecting employers with College faculty, sharing WIL success stories, monitoring progress while looking for opportunities for improvement, and building knowledge through training and conferences that lead to improvements in administrative processes, recruitment, and barrier reduction. The goal is to make continual improvements to the program so students receive maximum benefit.
“I completed my co-op term at the Golden Skybridge,” said Lauren Cameron, Tourism Management student. “It was a great way for me to experience tourism first-hand and get a better understanding of what opportunities in the industry. It helped me to be more focused on my job and in reaching my goals. Co-op is a great way to test the waters in the sector you are interested in, get real-world experience, and to better connect with what you learned in class.”
Learn more about work-integrated learning at College of the Rockies at: cotr.ca/wil
About College of the Rockies
For more than 45 years, College of the Rockies has provided post-secondary education that meets the needs and aspirations of the people, industry, and businesses of our region. Each year, we welcome more than 10,000 full-time and part-time students into a full range of programs, including: skilled trades, university studies, adult upgrading, early childhood education, health and human services, business, office administration, tourism, hospitality, recreation, fire services, continuing education, and contract training. Through smaller class sizes, highly personalized instruction and dedicated support services, our students are primed to succeed in the job market, or in the next stage of their academic journey.
Manager, Communications and Marketing
College of the Rockies