Educational institutions today are under plenty of pressure to equip students with skills to survive in the future workplace.
In a future rife with new technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), robotics and automation, menial tasks will soon be taken over by technology and humans will need to acquire the skills to think beyond what computers can do.
This includes skills such as adaptability and resilience to survive the rapidly changing workplace as well as critical and innovative thinking to come up with creative solutions to complex problems.
In the uncertain future ahead, employers will value the leaders who are prepared to take charge and drive change across teams. Preparing for the future of work in your career may involve learning leading-edge software engineering skills for AI application development.
Developing cultural competence and exposure to global environments is also important, as the world becomes increasingly interconnected and companies work across international teams.
At Centennial College, Canada, students are able to acquire these skills through a myriad of initiatives that prepare them for their future careers.
As many would attest, education here, at Ontario’s first public college, is high-quality, hands-on and employment-driven.
International students are welcomed with open arms here, as the college often goes the extra mile to show them that they truly belong here if they are eager to learn, supporting them on their journey to find employment and pave a career path in Canada.
In fact, Centennial College in Toronto welcomes more international students than any other Canadian college, with over 170,000 proud Centennial College alumni around the world.
Experiential learning opportunities through hands-on projects
One of the best ways to prepare students for the workplace is to provide plenty of opportunities where they can experience real working environments and what is expected of them.
Not only does this allow students to apply theoretical knowledge to practice, but it also helps them develop skills like teamwork, interpersonal communication and collaborative thinking.
These skills are highly valued by employers today as they ensure that their employees will be able to work well with others and progress as capable managers and leaders.
At Centennial College, students gain these skills through various forms of experiential learning offered here, such as lab instruction, co-op education and industry work placements.
Kirsten Innis, a Centennial International Student Ambassador from Barbados who is studying Food Science Technology, said: “My programme incorporates a ton of group work, projects and presentations as well as exams and assignments both online and in class.”
“Each lecturer I have has been in the industry for years before they began teaching at Centennial. In fact, some of them still work at labs in their spare time. Faculty helped guide me through each part of my programme using real practical examples from the field,” she added.
Kirsten even participated in the Ontario Food Protection Association’s conference through the encouragement and guidance of one of her lecturers, who also happens to be the course coordinator.
For Mara Antonela, an international student from Italy studying Interactive Media Management, the stand-out feature of studying at the College is the experience and expertise its faculty members bring to the courses they teach.”
Mara said: “The professors at Centennial not only taught about things related to the field but also taught in context with the current industry.”
“The Canadian college teaching style involves hands-on projects that provide opportunities to learn from your mistakes. The big difference is that in university you learn more about theory.”
As the College works closely with industry to prepare students for the latest industry trends, the Programme Advisory Committee made up of over 800 industry leaders helps to shape the curriculum and learning outcomes at the College. Among them are Air Canada, Bombardier Inc, CAMH: The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Canadian Press, Facebook, Google, The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants and many more.
Meaningful relationships with industry also create opportunities for students to gain work experience as part of their program. “After completing a one-year co-op at a pharmaceutical company, I was offered a full-time job once I graduated.” explains biotechnology alum Sam Antoniadism.
“I am now working as a Microbiology Analyst and I owe it all to Centennial College,” he said.
Citizenship skills for academic and professional success in Canada and beyond
The Signature Learning Experience (SLE) at Centennial also invites students to recognise how global thinking impacts the success of a specific industry.
Employers today are increasingly expecting to hire job-ready candidates who have the cultural competence to skillfully navigate across multiple identities and cultures in a globalised economy.
At the same time, the public is insisting on greater social accountability and environmental sustainability from local and global businesses.
Centennial College students gain the global citizenship skills that potential employers are seeking. They learn to think globally, develop innovative solutions, engage effectively across diverse groups, and integrate multiple viewpoints.
Kirsten said: “The idea of global citizenship is new to me since starting school and has quickly become something I think about often when dealing with events for student clubs.”
“Being included and making sure everyone has a fair chance no matter their background is very important to me. The global impact is also felt in having friends from all over the world. I discovered new cultures and learned perceptions I never would have thought of before.”
Through these diverse avenues for students to acquire important soft skills, Centennial College is paving the way for students to become successful leaders in their respective industries.