The Career Centre offers career exploration programs, such as the In the Field and Extern Job Shadowing programs, to further assist students in making suitable career choices for themselves.
In the Field was introduced last year, and consists of a half-day visit to an organization, where students have the chance to hear from professionals in the field, learn about different types of roles, as well as gain an insight into the application process. They also get to experience a professional working environment.
Anne Gaiger, the assistant director of the Career Centre’s Employer Relations & Marketing team, said, “So far, we have had successful visits to the Peel Regional Police, the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Citigroup, and the City of Mississauga. We have some upcoming In the Field site visits this term: February 28 at the Peel Police, March 6 at CAMH, March 9 at Spectra Helpline, and March 23 at the City of Mississauga, Benares Historic House.”
The locations for these programs are chosen based on the career choices of students who attend the preparation workshops. The Career Centre relies on formal and informal surveying of students to come up with a list of possible career site visits.
In terms of feedback from students, the Career Centre has received requests of more site visits in the local Mississauga region.
The Extern Job Shadowing program involves the job shadowing of a professional for anywhere from one to five days. It has been conducted for several years in conjunction with the St. George campus. UTM is now attempting to run this program on its own. Dimitra Tsalpouris, who has recently joined the UTM Career Centre as the coordinator of partner relations for experiential learning, will focus on expanding the Extern program and increasing the number of job shadowing placements, primarily in the GTA west.
Additionally, last summer, the Career Centre designed the Career Exploration 101 Module online, which takes students approximately 10 to 15 minutes to complete. It provides students with an introduction to explore careers on their own, and allows the Career Centre to guide them in the process. Until now, around 300 students have completed the online module.
Any UTM student is eligible to participate in each of these programs. After completing the online Career Exploration 101 Module and attending a two-hour in-person workshop, students can select any of the In the Field site visits and the job shadowing placements.
Last year, there were a total of 77 participants for the Extern Job Shadowing program from UTM. Across all three campuses, there were a total of 469 participants. About 80 UTM students have participated so far in In the Field.
The trips are funded through the student service fees, and are part of the services the Career Centre offers to students. There is no extra cost for students who are participating in these events.
“Breaking into today’s labour market requires an understanding of what roles exist in today’s organizations, what different career paths can look like, and what skills and experiences are needed in different areas in order to break in successfully,” Gaiger said. “Some focused career explorations can have a big impact on decisions, and this career exploration doesn’t have to take a lot of time. We like to call it a ‘high impact’ activity—a small investment of time can garner lots of returns in terms of next steps for students.”