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Career Centre honoured for innovation

By Will Sloan

Ryerson Career Centre

Employees from the Ryerson Career Centre, Co-op office, Business Careers Hub and the Magnet team took awards from the Canadian Association of Career Educators and Employers. Photo by Clifton Li.

Ryerson received four awards from the national Canadian Association of Career Educators and Employers (CACEE) on May 30, with two awards for the Career Centre capping a two-year period of change and innovation.

“The awards really reflect the approach we’ve been taking with the Ryerson Career Centre: recognizing that career education is really about the whole community,” said Caroline Konrad, director of the Career Centre. “It’s national recognition of the direction that career education needs to be taking to ensure that it is relevant to students and stakeholders alike.”

Ryerson University received the Educational Institution Recognition Award. Career Compass, the Career Centre’s job search compendium, was awarded in the Excellence in Innovation: Student Engagement category. The unique online portal helps graduating students explore multiple paths through interviews with Ryerson alumni and industry leaders, sample resumes and cover letters, tips on career planning (including networking, personal branding, and using social media), and job interview tips. “The Career Compass is not just a job search guide: it’s about career building being both aspirational and relatable, embedding inclusive material which speaks to diverse student groups,” said Konrad.

The Career Centre team was also honoured with the Excellence in Innovation: Leadership Development award for Career Checkpoint. The professional development program combines learning with on-campus work experience, delivering a cross-campus induction program and providing supervisors with a development toolkit for students in more than 1,000 on-campus jobs across faculties. “It’s the culmination of voices from faculties and departments coming together and contributing to the skills development they observed student staff requiring,” said Konrad.

When Nujhat Nabeela worked as an intern for the Career Centre under the Summer 2015 – May 2016 Career Boost program, she received training from the Career Centre in a pilot program that would become Career Checkpoint. “This training not only focused on my job duties, it focused on team bonding, where I got to know all the other student interns and staff,” she said. “There was also a section that simply focused on me. That was a surprise. The training helped me think about who I really am, what my personality is, what my short term and long-term goals are, and how these can help me achieve my goals for the summer and beyond.”

In addition, an award for Outstanding Contribution will go to Mark Patterson, executive direction of Magnet, a social innovation accelerator for employment and economic development. “Mark has really vocalized the importance of this being about communities coming together,” said Konrad. “He’s been very clear about how this isn’t just about getting graduates jobs, but thinking about how we support the Aboriginal job-seeker, the adult job-seeker, the new Canadian job-seeker. They all require a different thought-process.”

Konrad, who has been announced as Member of the Board on CACEE, added that we can look forward to more innovations from the Career Centre in the future. “We are continually looking to see what is happening globally with career education, and constantly looking at global best practice. This is why last year we had a staff member go out on exchange to Oxford University, bringing back home to Ryerson best practice that we can learn and evolve from.”

For more information on Ryerson’s Career Centre, go to www.ryerson.ca/career.