Last Thursday, the Career Centre organized the Summer Job Fair in the Recreation and Wellness Athletic Centre. Targeting all university students in any discipline and recent alumni who graduated up to two years ago, the fair hoped to provide students an opportunity to network with representatives from a range of industries about summer opportunities and career paths within their organizations and what skills, experience and education are required for these positions.
Participation in the Summer Job Fair increased again this year to 1,600, from 1,368 in 2008-09. According to Career Centre statistics, this increased use is reflected in all of the centre’s other services as well. Over 60 employers also came to the
fair, including Air Canada, Blockbuster Canada, Camp Trillium, Mississauga Business Enterprise Centre, Peel Police, Service Canada, Canada Customs and Revenue Agency, Chartered General Accountants of Ontario and Community Living Mississauga.
Representatives from the Camp Trillium booth at the fair were also impressed by the student response and turn out. Almost all students came prepared to the fair and were seeking employment, as opposed to wasting time between classes, said a Camp Trillium representative.
As of today, two days after the fair, I have received strong positive feedback from both employers and students, said Claire Westgate, the Career Centres coordinator. Most importantly, many employers received great applications at the fair, and are already setting up interviews.
Adrian Berg, the assistant director for Employee Relations and Marketing, expressed the same sentiments. He regarded the success of the centres events as primarily enrooted in the philosophy and experiences from all of its previous fairs, where staff tailored more events to connect students with potential employers and other industry reps.
UTM graduate Jane Feung credits the Career Centre for helping her land a job with the Royal Bank of Canada. The booklets and career binders in the centre, along with the staff assistance in applying to graduate school and finding post-graduate employment has been really helpful.
The Career Centre is funded
primarily by student service fees, with the career portion currently at $49.86 per term per full-time student ($9.97 part-time). This year, the centre has proposed an increase to $53.99 ($10.80 part-time).
The Career Centre portion of the Student Service Fee was not increased for 2009-10 due to a carry-forward of unspent funds from 2008-09 (staff positions that were vacant for longer than anticipated). According to the centre’s director, Joan McCurdy-Myers, it is not in that situation this time—no carry-forward is anticipated. Yet costs, including staff salaries and benefits, which are typically the largest expense in student services, along with other costs like technology maintenance, utilities and care-taking, continue to rise.
This means that the Career Centre fee needs to increase to cover these costs or its services will need to be decreased. The impact would be most obvious in longer waits for the one-on-one services like resume critiques, less tailoring of workshops for particular areas of study, and stagnation in developing new materials and supports. “I believe students would be at a disadvantage in seeking work and further education if some of these services were discontinued, but that’s the harsh reality we may be facing,” said Mark Overton, Dean of Student Affairs.
“Because more than half of UTM students use the Career Centre in an average year, from on-line services like job and volunteer postings and resume toolkits, to group activities like workshops, fairs and networking events, students are likely to recognize the value of these services even though leaders may be reluctant to endorse fee increases,” said Dean Overton, adding that the overall increase being sought in QSS-deliberated fees will likely be less than $10 ($2 part-time) in total per term.