Page 1

how affects your student debtcareer New game

&

Careers in the video game industry

to boldy go

The future of biomedical engineering

| april 2011 | careers. education. ideas. all of it.


BUSINESS DEGREES BUSINESS DEGREES IN: Accounting e-Business Marketing Fashion Management Human Resources Management International Business Tourism Management

business.humber.ca


16

who’s

hiring

Hey. Did you know that these companies have lots of entry level positions? Visit their websites to see a full list of positions available.

3 The Home Depot (Part-time) 9 Aecon 11 College Pro 13 The Source 15 OSCO Construction Group 15 Chair-man Mills Inc. 15 The New England Center for Children 25 Tommy Hilfiger Canada OBC Canon Canada Inc.

yay! more school

IFC Humber, The Business School (Undergrad) 21 Seneca College 29 Hult International Business School 29 Humber, School of Social and Community Services 29 Durham College 30 Humber, School of Media Studies and Information Technology 30 Queen’s University 31 Brock University 31 Canadian Automotive Institute, Georgian College 31 Centennial College 31 Conestoga College 31 Fanshawe College 31 Ithaca College 31 Queen’s University 31 Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry 31 Sheridan College 31 Trent University IBC Centennial College

Image: iStockphoto/Thinkstock

who else?

6 21 22 24

Insurance Institute of Canada School Finder Scholarships Canada Canadian Grocery HR Council

stuff to buy

5 Rogers Wireless 7 Excel

jobpostings.ca | april 2011

how student debt affects your career What happens when the money you borrowed to pay for school affects your career decisions? A look at how student debt can have you putting off your life plans, and what you can do about it.

4

21

Success Story

— Keira De-

To Boldly Go…

— The bright

nyse Balderston on dedication,

future of biomedical engineering.

hard work, and finding time to

23

play guitar. Brought to you by Rogers Wireless.

6

What the Textbook Won’t Teach Ya! — When it comes

From our blogs —

meeting people, and getting your

Probably the worst job. Ever.

hands dirty can bring your career

12

to the next level. —

The last impression.

26 Pick your Character — Tester, programmer, animator, sound de-

30

10 careercupid

Don’t

cheat on your new job with another job.

14 startup — Kendal Netmaker on sports, Aboriginal youth, and Moose Meat Apparel.

signer, producer… these are just

Edu-ma-cation —

a few of the positions in the video

Save the world with a Master’s of

game industry. Press start to con-

Social Work.

tinue.

32

28

JobLife

Paul Sayers from Hydro One gives us a few tips.

to trades, getting out to shows,

Soft Skills

8 interviewsmarts —

— Showing up is half

the battle.

One Rung at a Time

Climbing the retail ladder can be tricky, but you can’t beat the view from the top.

1


our favourite quote this month:

jobpostings publisher Nathan Laurie nlaurie@jobpostings.ca

"I probably wouldn’t have been as confident today without the sports that I’ve played. And I think if more Aboriginal youth would find these teams to play on, we could develop more positive things for the Aboriginal communities." Kendal Netmaker, from Start Up (page 14)

editor’snote

associate publisher Mark Laurie mlaurie@jobpostings.ca

editor Jason Rhyno jrhyno@jobpostings.ca

graphic designer Sonya van Heyningen svanheyningen@jobpostings.ca

contributors Jeff Sebanc, Kevin Nelson, Christine Fader, Allison Mitchell, Laura Manuel.

editorial intern Andrew Williams

national account managers Sarah-Lyn Amaral, Lori Blanchard, Mary Vanderpas

Jason Rhyno

I have debt. A lot of debt, actually. And I’m very late on mak-

what you are studying, what you are investing in, is worth the

garnish my wages any day now. I try, though.

if you are studying something that you don’t enjoy, stop it.

ing payments. In fact, I’m pretty sure that they are going to I had to drop out of university during my fourth year because

Right now.

I had too much debt, and couldn’t pay my rent (ever get an

I recently received an email from a student who is torn be-

which was the bees knees at the time, but I needed to make

I attended. Being a reader of jobpostings magazine, she dis-

Published by Passion Inc. 25 Imperial Street, Suite 100 Toronto, ON M5P 1B9

tiative to ask me a lot of questions. She was curious about the

jobpostings.ca 1-877-900-5627 ext. 221

eviction notice? Not fun). I landed a position with a magazine,

more money. So I quit, and decided to work in another industry where I could potentially make more money. I was miserable working that job, and it soon became apparent that I

wasn’t paying off my loan any faster than I was at the last job. I was working longer hours, had no vacation, and no benefits. Then, the company I was working for fell on dark financial

days, and I took a pay cut. And then the creditors started calling. I used to wake up sweating, panicking about that bill that

I couldn't pay. So I asked myself, is the stress I’m experiencing from my debt worth this job?

It wasn’t. If I was going to be stressed and poor, I may as well

be happy in my career. So I enrolled in a post-grad program,

tween two programs, both of which are housed at the school

covered that I attended one of the programs, and took the iniquality of the program, whether or not there were work-study

options, how well did the program prepare me for a career in book and magazine publishing, and whether the program would make her more “marketable” in the “real world.” I an-

swered her immediately, and then passed her email off to some of my former classmates so that she could benefit from their unique perspectives. If you are thinking of doing a postgrad, or a master’s, this is one of the smartest things you can

do to make sure you are getting the best educational bang for your borrowed buck.

ignored all my bills, and took out more loans to get to, well,

It’s going to be tough finding a career in your chosen industry,

live, food, and lots of pride. But I’m here now, doing what I

But stay positive, stick to your guns, and don’t get disheartened.

to where I am now. Since graduation, I’ve given up a place to love. Was it worth it? Yes. Could I have done it a little more strategically? You bet.

If you take away anything from this month’s feature story on how student debt can affect your career, make sure that

2

cost. Higher education typically leads to a better career, but

and probably even tougher with all that debt on your shoulders. If you love what you are studying, you’ll end up loving your career. And hopefully the money, as they say, will follow. Best of luck with the spring job hunt.

jobpostings is published eight times in the school year. Issue dates are September, October, November, January, February, March, April, and May. Copies of jobpostings are distributed to over 105 universities and colleges across Canada. Contents of this publication are protected by copyright and may not be reprinted in whole or part without permission of the publishers. Take the time to write a really good cover letter. Standard cover letters will not get you the job.

on the cover: © iStockphoto.com | Olena Chernenko

april 2011 | jobpostings.ca


If you don’t know which paint dries faster, but you like helping people…

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Apply online at homedepotjobs.ca/1924 We are committed to diversity as an equal opportunity employer. Oh, by the way, the paint that dries faster is the latex paint. See, you’ve already learned something.


successstories Keira Denyse Balderston

What drew you to your current field?

Length of employment 1 year

My father was a partner with a big firm and was able to talk to me about all of the opportunities available to CAs. With a true passion and interest in the field of business, I knew that this designation would be invaluable in shaping a successful future career. A few key attractions of the accounting profession are that I would be exposed to a wide variety of industries and business issues while working with many different, highly intellectual individuals; being able to travel and being placed in a nourishing training ground to develop my skills. Every day I learn something new, something I can take forward with me in anything I do in the future. This is why I chose accounting.

Degree

Tell us a bit about your responsibilities.

Company

KPMG (Vancouver office)

Position

Staff Accountant

Bachelor of Commerce (BComm), Currently Completing Masters in Professional Accounting (MPAcc)

There are many responsibilities. Working for an accounting firm means that you have to be “accountable” (no pun intended), not only on a personal level but also on a team level. On a daily basis, I am responsible for completing key sections on an engagement. I am responsible for communicating any issues that I find with my senior in order to ensure they are properly resolved. I am responsible for communicating with both the team and the client on related business matters. Overall, the responsibilities can be summed up as working hard and ensuring that I continuously work efficiently and strive for excellence in meeting all deadlines.

What is the most challenging aspect of your position? There are many challenging aspects of my position, but all of them are incredibly positive. I would say that one challenge would be learning to balance personal time and work time. I am just finishing my first “busy season,” as it is called in the industry, where we have to work hard to get all of the work done in order for our clients to issue their year-end financial statements. Because there are long hours sometimes, it was important to ensure that I set time aside for the things that I love to do. Finding time in my week to run, play the guitar, and hang out with friends was challenging but also taught me how efficient I really can be on both a professional and personal level. Another key challenge would be that there is a huge learning curve in this job. This challenge is also one of

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the most rewarding parts of my job as well. Every day I am faced with something new and it is important to confidently and assertively assess the issues and be aware of what questions I need to ask.

What is the most rewarding part of your job? That is an easy one — everything! Honestly though, it is the people I get to work with and the daily learning. I am constantly either strengthening my work skills or developing new ones. There is not a day that goes by when I do not have a positive take-away in terms of skill development. And back to the people — my teams have all been fantastic. We have a lot of fun together while at the same time supporting each other both on the job and in personal and career-related development. KPMG has an amazing support system in place, which, through being both a mentor and a mentee, I have the opportunity to learn from others and create new stretch goals.

What do you think it takes to be successful in this career? Dedication, hard work, and accountability to personal and career-related growth. It requires that you take advantage of all of the opportunities available within the firm. Opportunities can range from on the job experience to getting involved in the community with the support of the firm. From what I have seen, the most successful individuals are those that take full accountability for their own learning and development, ensuring that they are truly enjoying as well as benefiting from the work that they do.

What advice do you have for students looking to land their first job? Talk to as many people as possible—friends, family, teachers, counsellors, firm representatives. Get as much information as possible and then assess it on a personal level to figure out what works for you. Create specific goals and analyze the path and support that you will need to attain them. Also, make sure that you are developing the skills that firms are looking for. Get involved in the community, act as a mentor for others, be dedicated to your studies. If you are working hard, then a potential employer will recognize this. Remember that landing a job is a two way street — yes a firm is hiring you, but you are also hiring them as well.

rogers.com/careers/campuslife


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from our blogs | 02/25/2011

And you Thought you

had a Bad Job… A bad job is in the eye of the beholder. What one

That said, some jobs are really just... awful.

ers who posted them. Rapidly cycling through

person considers to be an endless grind of suck,

Take the psychologically-damaging, low-pay-

pages of 300 images each, they are asked to

another might find a limitless source of chal-

ing, truly craptastic plight of the Internet Con-

flag material that is obviously pornographic or

lenge and joy. For example: I know people who

tent Reviewer, for example:

violent, illegal in a certain country or deemed

about anything — undertake a third or fourth round of schooling, participate in some seriously shameless schmoozing — to escape the front lines. I also know several career servers who've been perfecting their craft for decades, who would never think of doing anything else; one of these recently opened her own restaurant. And regardless of the particulars, even

"Ricky Bess spends eight hours a day in front

inappropriate by a specific Web site.”

of a computer near Orlando, Fla., viewing some

You can read the rest in The New York Times then

of the worst depravities harbored on the Inter-

get back to me on this. What was your worst job

net. He has seen photographs of graphic gang

ever? The one with the barely-there pay, the in-

killings, animal abuse and twisted forms of

sufferable colleagues, the total lack of redeem-

pornography. One recent sighting was a photo

ing qualities — the one you quit with Maguire-

of two teenage boys gleefully pointing guns at

esque fanfare and aplomb. And did you need

another boy, who is crying...

counselling after you escaped? Let's hear it.

the worst jobs often have something to teach

“Workers at Telecommunications On Demand,

us about ourselves, the world, or whatever.

who make $8 to $12 an hour, view photos that

by Emily Minthorn

have been stripped of information about the us-

Image: © Getty Images/Jupiterimages/ liquidlibrary/Thinkstock

work in the service industry and would do just

april 2011 | jobpostings.ca


GOODBYE COFFEE BREATH


So you screwed up in the interview, huh? They asked the ol’ “What’s your greatest

process works. It is an immediate indicator of a candidate’s personality since those who are “people persons” tend to respond in a reasonable amount of time and have numerous life experiences to pull from to answer this question. Candidates who struggle with this question tend to lack a proper response or sit in uncomfortable silence.

weakness” question and you responded with “cupcakes,” hoping to get a laugh. Awkward. Lucky for you we have friends on the inside – recruiting friends (the people who’ll be interviewing you). It cost us a few favours, but they finally agreed to explain

I’ve seen several candidates go into a tailspin in a job interview because they struggle with this question. However, if people skills are not your strong point, here are a few tips to remember if you want to develop this skill:

why they ask what they ask, and what the best answers are. It’s a cheatsheet for interviews. Good luck!

* interview

smarts

Be open and friendly to everyone. Treat others the way you like to be treated. It’s simple, but effective.

Be yourself but remember to keep it within a professional context.

Become a good “listener.” People skills are not only about being an effective communicator, but also about really listening to what a coworker or business contact is saying. Effective two way communication is the end result if all parties involved are engaged and really listening to what the other person is saying.

Find out if your school offers public speaking workshops or clubs, and sign up and join. It is proven that active participation in these groups leads to improved communication skills.

Maintain semi-regular contact with co-workers and business clients who are not a part of your everyday work day. A short email to touch base with them every few months says that you value them as a colleague/client. This will always be beneficial especially if there is a possibility that you may work more closely with them in the future.

by Paul Sayers Aboriginal Recruitment Consultant

@ Hydro One Networks

Q

Describe a specific situation when you built a good working relationship with others?

A

The ability to create and maintain successful working relationships is an essential component of success in any job. However, people skills do not come naturally or easily to all people. Although work experience and education are two critical criteria in obtaining a position, increasingly it is the personality of the candidate that sets them apart from their competitors and successfully lands them the job. Relationship building is important for numerous reasons, but in the workplace it’s a valuable skill to have in everyday dealings with co-workers, and equally important if your job requires you to work with external clients.

These are some of the tips that have worked for me and guided me throughout my career. Remember, when you are applying for a position, your competition may have an equivalent level of experience and education, but in an increasingly competitive job market, a person with exceptional interpersonal skills will walk away with the job. 

This is one of my favourite questions because it allows me to gauge how a candidate interacts with people, how they would work on a team and how their relationship building 8

april 2011 | jobpostings.ca


A Place to Build Your Future We welcome talented students and graduates to join our team.

As a fast-paced and growing organization, Aecon is actively interested in talented new and soon-to-be graduates looking to begin their careers in the construction and infrastructure development industry. Challenging work, diverse opportunities, a learning culture, the latest technologies and room to grow: as a 50 Best Employer and the largest publicly traded construction and infrastructure development company in Canada, Aecon can offer you that and more. From the CN Tower to the Calgary Olympic Oval, from power plants and hospitals to highways and gas distribution networks, Aecon has been building things that matter for over a century. Build a career that matters with Aecon. Aecon offers many opportunities to begin and continue your career. Visit our website to learn more about opportunities for Civil, Mechanical and Electrical Engineers as well as Engineering and Construction Technologists To apply: http://careers.aecon.com/BuildingCareers.aspx Send your resume, quoting “Grad Opportunities� in the subject line.

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romantic equivalent of getting engaged) but don’t notify outstanding job applications that they’re now

I’m recuperating from a crush. You know the feeling. You can’t stop thinking about them, you wonder what they’re doing right now and you

career cupid

daydream that they’re dying to call you. I thought I looked pretty good. I wore the good shoes and took my fancier

by Christine Fader

pens, and it seemed as if there was… y’know… chemistry. They stood

my cheatin’ heart

there day after day, all

employed (the romantic stayed home in Canada

equivalent of continuing to

and got buried in more

date while you’re engaged).

snow. Okay, so, I guess it’s

It happens easily. After all,

not hard to see the begin-

you have to hedge your

ning of the attraction.

bets, right? You apply to

But it didn’t end there. There were campus tours and meetings with fascinating faculty and students from all over the world. There was even some overcoming of adversity (I’m always a sucker for that)

more than one job to help increase the odds that someone will want to interview you and hopefully offer you a job. And from there, it’s one small step to drama which can end badly.

as we learned about what

Perhaps the outstanding

it’s like to live in a place

applications look a little

where there isn’t a single

more appealing but you

Tim Hortons or Starbucks

don’t want to lose out on

(or even reliable electricity).

a job in hand for a job you

But most of all, there was

don’t know you’ll get. So,

an incredible community

you accept the first job

Funny, how an invitation

of people who were so pas-

but sort of stick it in your

from a Caribbean medical

sionate about what they

pocket and keep going to

school can do that to a

were doing that it made me

other interviews or waiting

girl. I was invited to tour

want to join them.

for the call from the other

friendly and interesting and sort of twinkly to boot and they made me get a crush on them, even though I’m already in a long-standing relationship.

their Miami and Dominica campuses — in February — while my regular job

Now, we’ve gone our sep-

jobs. You might not think

It’s like a big ol’ Hollywood divorce and you thought that all you were doing was backing out of a job at Flap Jack Attack. So, before you accept a job, ask for time to make the decision. Then, weigh the pros and cons. Even though the jobs you are dreaming about look really amazing, it’s important to note that most times, you will rarely be accepting A PERFECT JOB. There are always compromises to make.

it’s a big thing but if you

Ask yourself: on balance,

do get offered something

can I give and gain some-

by hot job down the street,

thing from this job that

first job is not going to be

makes it worth pursuing at

happy to be thrown over.

this time?

great family. Even though,

And sometimes that

Don’t accept a job until

y’know, officially, I’m

unhappiness has teeth

you’re ready. And once you

already in a committed

that will bite your career

do accept it (remember, it’s

career relationship here

for some time to come. Re-

like getting engaged!), with-

in Canada.

cruiters in particular fields

draw from the outstanding

often know each other. You

applications you have out

might want to work for the

there. There will always be

first organization at some

things that look like better

point in the future. You

options so remind yourself

will probably see the first

that you are leaving those

organization at industry

exciting possibilities intact

events and how awkward

for the future.

will that be? In particularly

As for me, I have steeled

arate ways and I won’t lie, I’m feeling quite bereft. It’s as if I’ve been dating a pretty hot guy and he also happens to come with a

You don’t have to stay in the same job forever, but, my little crush is a prime example of how easily and quickly you can complicate your career. Most students I see don’t have a longterm job that they’re being wooed away from, but they often mess up their career relationships because of a crush, nonetheless. A most common career blunder is students who accept a job offer (the

harsh cases, first organization might actually sue you for reneging on your job offer because you’re breaking a legal contract.

myself against my Caribbean crush by reminding myself of something I hadn’t fully considered while I was dreaming about my hot new, palm tree career: life without Starbucks. I love my Canadian job. 

Christine Fader works as a career counsellor at Queen’s University and is the author of, “Career Cupid: Your Guide to Landing and Loving Your Dream Job.” Visit her website at careercupid.com

april 2011 | jobpostings.ca


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Closing the Interview » Once the interviewer has finished asking their questions and you have finished asking yours, it’s time to say goodbye. This goodbye may happen

wherever your interview took place or, if the interEveryone knows how important it is to make a great first impression; especially when you go to a job in-

terview. You spend time preparing for the interview and looking your best so that you can wow the inter-

viewer, but have you ever thought about the last impression that you are leaving? Imagine that you‘ve made a stellar first impression but didn’t bother

worrying about the end of the interview: what impression is the interviewer left with? It’s that last im-

pression that can propel you into the next round of interviews, so you need to make it memorable.

Interviewing the Interviewer » In my mind, the last impression starts as soon as

the interviewer gives you an opportunity to ask

your questions. This is a fantastic opportunity to learn more about the position, the team, the

manager, the company, and the next steps in the interview process. Use this opportunity! Failing to ask questions means that you don’t get the infor-

mation that you need in order to make an informed decision of whether this position and company are

the right fit for you (remember: when you go to an

viewer walks you out, it may happen at the front door of the company’s building. This could be the last face to face contact you have with the inter-

viewer: shake their hand, look them in the eye and thank them for their time and the opportunity to meet. Most people are pretty good at this, but it is

so simple that everybody should be doing it. Starting to walk out the door and then turning around to do this step as an afterthought doesn’t count.

aren’t done with making a good last impression.

The next step is to send a thank-you note. Some

interviewers don’t put a lot of weight on receiving a thank-you note while some consider it extremely

important. Play it safe and always send a thankyou note, and while you never know how the interviewer feels about them, it certainly can’t hurt;

it can only help you. An interviewer will be meeting with several people so why not give them another reason to remember you?

note? Tough call. It really comes down to timing. decision quickly, then email is a good option. If you know that the decision will be made in a week or

so, then try a handwritten note. If you are local to

the company, then drop it off instead of relying on the mail. Even when dropping it off at the compa-

ny, it may take a few days to get to the right person, by Allison Mitchell

(and if they didn’t tell you this timeline, then that should have been one of your questions!). For ex-

ample, if they told you that they would be contacting you with their decision within a week and it has

been two weeks since your interview, then by all

porarily sidetracked; either way, you want to know.

left the building — congratulations! But, you still

If you know that the interviewer will be making a

you want to leave the interviewer with?

told you about the timeline of the interview process

You made it through the interview and you have

It could also tell the interviewer that you aren’t in-

pare and ask questions. Is that an impression that

view. It will really depend on what the interviewer

means, follow up. Maybe you weren’t the successful

Now the question: email or handwritten thank-you

terested enough in the position or company to pre-

You may or may not have to follow up after an inter-

Thank-You Note »

interview, you should be interviewing the com-

pany as much as the company is interviewing you).

Follow Up »

so keep that in mind.

candidate or maybe the interview process got temYou can follow up with a phone call first, and if the interviewer isn’t available, then send an email. Just let them know that you are following up on the in-

terview that you had on (insert date) for (insert po-

sition title) and you are wondering if a decision has been made. If you were not the successful candidate, then ask for feedback; you can use this information

to improve your chances the next time you go to an interview. Following up in a professional manner is a great last impression to leave them with.

A great first impression is extremely important, but you cannot rely solely on that first impression. You

have to follow through and leave an equally great last impression. Even though I am referring to only the first and last impressions, you really need to bring your A-game to the whole interview; there is no room for coasting in an interview. Some people

are so nervous about the interview that they breathe a sigh of relief when the interviewer stops asking

questions and they don’t follow through on the last

impression. The first and last impressions tend to

make the most impact, so keep this in mind the next

the last

time you are in an interview… and thank you for taking the time to read about last impressions!

impression


Image: Š iStockphoto.com/Jenny Horne

softskills

jobpostings.ca | april 2011


Kenda Netmake

startup

23 years old. Athlete, coach, student and owner of Moose Meat Apparel: The first clothing company in Canada to

create, support and develop Aboriginal youth-based sports teams and have sales

year-round. Studying Native Studies at

University of Saskatchewan. ACE 2011 Student Entrepreneur

Saskatchewan Champion.

Where did the inspiration come from for Moose

What were some of the biggest challenges at

It all started back on my men’s volley ball team. We

The first challenge for me was having the confi-

cally that name kind of created a big fan base for

background; I’ve never taken a business class be-

started calling ourselves “moose meat,” and basius. People liked our name, they liked our slogan, our

humour — everything. So I thought there’s an opportunity here to make a clothing line because of

the response, and there’s also an opportunity to do something good with it as well, as in creating more sports teams with the name Moose Meat.

Can you tell me a little about those initial stages of getting Moose Meat off the ground?

I found some mentors to help me because I don’t

dence in myself to do this. I don’t have a business

fore, even prior to starting the business. I think that

was the biggest challenge — believing in myself. The competitions really gave me that confidence.

If I hadn’t won any of the startup competitions, I wouldn’t have started right away

Can you talk about the importance of sports in relation to youth? There are some funding problems

The first thing is being part of a team. I think be-

curious as to your thoughts on that.

for a lot of First Nations people, we’re brought up

with sports and youth teams here in Canada. I’m

have a business background. I made my first busi-

I’ve seen the problem back when I was growing up

tions, one being the Aboriginal Youth Idea Challenge

of mainstream sports teams. The primary reason

ness plan and I entered in a few business competiin Saskatchewan, and the second one being the Wil-

son IQ Idea Challenge at U of S. I ended up finishing first in the Aboriginal one and fifth in the Wilson one. So that’s how my start up plan came, and that’s how I was able to get my first batch of inventory.

You mentioned some mentors. How did you go about finding mentors?

I found someone who was an Aboriginal clothing company owner, and his name was Timothy

Lewis. What he owns is Tansi Clothing; what he does is promote Aboriginal languages through

his clothing. I asked him via Facebook if we could meet up, and that’s how it all started. He met with

me after classes and evenings once a week, and encouraged me to do this. He helped me with my first business plan as well.

14

this stage?

— that Aboriginal youth had trouble being a part

for that was funding and the whole income situation. That’s what I faced as a youth. I had trouble getting to and from the city to play on the volleyball team. I was fortunate to be gifted in many sports, but I could only afford to play one sport, and I think

I could have excelled in all of them. But I was still fortunate to play volleyball and it carried me on to

college; I played two years there then transferred to

U of S. That’s why I created these sports teams as well as pursue my clothing line, because I’ve seen what it does for me, I’ve seen what it does for my

friends, some of whom are top players in Canada. Sports are very powerful and that’s one area that needs to be developed, funding-wise for sure.

How do you think sports can combat some of the

ing part of a team allowed me to open up, because,

a little differently than mainstream society, especially if you live on a reserve. We’re more traditional and taught to not be too open to everything, so I guess being part of a team kind of opened me up

that way and helped me meet new people. And it helped me develop my skills — one of them being

confidence. I probably wouldn’t have been as confident today without the sports that I’ve played. And

I think if more Aboriginal youth would find these teams to play on, we could develop more positive things for the Aboriginal communities.

Any advice for students starting their own business? I would find really positive people to inspire you, because that’s the hardest part — just believing that you can do it. I was the only one holding myself

back from pursuing this idea. If you find positive

people to help you, they will really help you start up any idea you have.

traps that a lot of youth fall into, especially Aboriginal youth?

Interviewed by Jason Rhyno april 2011 | jobpostings.ca

Image: Courtesy of carleyoliviaphoto.com

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15


how affects your career


by Laura Manuel

jobpostings.ca | april 2011

sions when it comes to managing their money and career. Nearly 60 percent of Canadian post-secondary students graduate with some form of debt, and the average Canadian graduate owes tens of thousands of dollars. It’s a debt that can tie your hands, holding you back from moving onto the next stage of your life.

Image: © iStockphoto.com/Olena Chernenko

I

t is a frequent refrain: a post-secondary education is the key to a professional job. And a professional job should be one’s ticket to saving a nest egg, purchasing a home, perhaps starting a family, and saving for retirement. Students, for the most part, tend to be comfortable financing their postsecondary education with loans; they are told that this is ‘good debt.’ Yet today’s graduates are facing difficult deci-


STUDENTS GRADUATING WITH STUDENT DEBT 1995

%

%





the average debt for university graduates doubled between 1990 and 2000

CURRENT AVERAGE DEBT UNIVERSITY vs. COLLEGE

$26,680

$13,600

Source: Tallying the Costs of Post-secondary Education: the Challenge of Managing Student Debt and Loan Repayment in Canada, CCL. September, 22, 2010

2005


m

eet university graduate

Jordan Stanley from Nanaimo, British Columbia.   He’s well educated but

paralyzed  with debt. Two years after graduating

Managing Student Debt

from Thompson Rivers University with a tourism

degree, Stanley went back to school. “I was having trouble finding a well-paying job in the tourism field, and my student loan payments were diffi-

cult to manage on my monthly income.” Stanley returned to school to study accounting, taking on

more student debt. With over $50,000 in student loans, he now feels immobilized when he consid-

ers his career. “I have been forced to take jobs that I really didn’t want because I need to pay back my

student loans. The jobs that I have taken have usu-

ally not been in the area that I wanted, or even in the firms that I wanted to work for.”

At Wilfred Laurier University Career Centre, career advisors confirm there is a trend in how students

approach their career search. “Anecdotally speak-

ing, we would say with debt increasing, students are more apt to take the first job that comes along

w

having student debt is effective manage-

ment. Rice suggests making a budget of

Is it worth it?

monthly expenses, and accounting for

hile student debt increases,

the  outlook is still optimistic

for   new graduates. According

to   the University of Alberta’s

most recent employment survey, those with a post-

secondary education are likely to secure better paying jobs in the long-run. The key is to avoid a hap-

hazard approach to attending college/university. A post-secondary education is an investment. And,

like any serious financial investment, a strategic approach is best.

versus investing energy, volunteer time, and more

Bronwyn Rice, student aid administrator at McGill

lucrative paying career. Students have a sense of

education with an investment-like strategy. Rather

taining ‘a career’ becomes second to getting ‘a job’

rected, Rice advises students to carefully examine

where borrowed money is spent. She also

stresses that government student loans are su-

perior to bank loans, credit cards or lines of credit. “All Canadian government guaranteed loans are interest free for the student while they are [study-

ing] full time. With all programs there is also a pos-

sibility of loan forgiveness should the student finish their studies within the prescribed time frame, so the overall debt could be reduced.”

Don’t underestimate other sources of financial support, either. Rice advises students to consider other methods of financing their education: savings,

part-time work, scholarships/grants, and family

money on additional credentials to pursue a more

University, encourages students to approach their

urgency to just pay the bills, and that means ob-

than get bogged down in loans that may be misdi-

to pay their debt.”

and plan for their education, finances and career.

Tracy Watson from Money Mentors, an Alberta-

uate earning power relative to their level of educa-

young graduates are often not aware of how much

explains Rice.

writing out a list of debts including student loan

In the fall of 2010, the Canadian Council on Learning (CCL) released a report about the long-term

consequences of student debt. According to the CCL, the average debt for university graduates dou-

support. They can help decrease the amount you need to borrow year after year, and much of it you don’t need to pay back.

“Students need to be realistic about their postgrad-

based credit counselling organization, warns that

tion — underestimating that could be dangerous,”

debt they have accumulated. She recommends

bled between 1990 and 2000. Today, the average

The career advisors at Wilfrid Laurier University

average for college graduates is $13,600. The report

their reasons for pursuing a post-secondary de-

ating with student debt increased from 49 per cent

they suggest that you do effective occupational

debt for university graduates is $26,680, while the

echo Rice. They encourage students to consider

also found that the proportion of students gradu-

gree. Before embarking on additional education,

in 1995 to 57 percent in 2005.

research. This way, you can assess whether or not a

These high debt loads are impacting the career

Image: © iStockphoto.com/Olena Chernenko

f

  or many students, financing their edu-

cation with loans is a given. The key to

degree/diploma is worth the time and money.

choices of graduates. There is evidence that current

Sometimes, the post-secondary education road is

with the government or work in the not-for-profit

two off to think about one’s education and finances

graduates, like Jordan Stanley, are faced with a large

dent has calculated the cost versus the resources

es. Erin Mills, senior research analyst with the CCL,

ing studies is a better option than going into more

post-secondary students are keen to secure a career

not the best fit for an individual. Taking a year or

industry. But these aspirations may evaporate when

is a sign of wisdom, not foolishness. “Once a stu-

student loan and juggling day-to-day living expens-

available, it may indeed come to light that suspend-

agrees. “Some [graduates] may re-consider their ca-

debt,” says Rice.

payments, credit cards, and any other debts such as car loans. This way, you can have a clear picture of how much you owe and when it is due. Watson encourages new graduates to seek help if they are

having difficulty managing their debt. Credit Coun-

selling Canada is an organization that can assist

r

graduates. Often, free credit counselling is available.

Looking Forward ice maintains that “Higher education

is  surely worth the cost.” The key is to

apply   a strategic approach when taking

on   student debt. And, if necessary, have

the courage and wisdom to take time off from pursuing higher education to re-evaluate one’s strat-

reer choice, particularly in the event of poor wages.”

egy. This way, debt can be kept to a minimum and

The CCL’s report also found that large student debt

new career.

affects more than careers. As Mills explains, “Gradu-

easily managed when you embark on your shiny,

ates who had borrowed were less likely than non-

Stanley admits that in retrospect he might have

investments, and were less likely to own their own

definitely tried harder in my classes and applied for

borrowing graduates to have retirement savings and

done things a little differently. “I think I would have

homes.” Stanley confirms that he is part of the group

more scholarships and grants than I did.”

that Mills refers to, admitting that he’s had to put off buying a house. “I have no savings for retirement.” jobpostings.ca | april 2011


To Boldly Go… “It’s alive! Oh, in the name of God! Now I know

upon many areas of medicine, Yip explains,

what it feels like to be God!” Dr. Frankenstein

“having a solid grounding in biology, chemistry

shouts none too subtly to the skies in the 1931

and physiology, in addition to one’s core engi-

film — you guessed it — Frankenstein, thus

neering training,” — chemical/mechanical/elec-

becoming one of the most iconic portrayals of

trical/et cetera — “is essential in order to fully

what could be fiction’s first modern biomedi-

understand the complexity of the biomedical

cal engineer.

problems.” The scope of work is mind-boggling-

classier than Dr. Frankenstein was, but the basic idea is more or less the same: apply engineering techniques to the many fields of medicine. Only instead of dirty old used body parts dug up from Victorian graveyards, biomedical engineers are in the business of putting people back together

ly enormous, he says, adding that that’s also what makes it such an attractive field. “There are opportunities for individuals with core training in all of the classic engineering fields.” So while an undergraduate degree is definitely enough to enter the field, an advanced degree will prepare you for a more focused position.

using brand spankin’ new, state of the art artifi-

Meanwhile, over at Ryerson University, Peyman

cial bits and pieces. From joints and limbs to or-

Moeini is studying in his third year of biomedi-

gans and tissues, what we’re seeing today rivals

cal engineering. “Biomedical engineering [at

any mad scientist of fiction as far as displaying

Ryerson University] is an engineering discipline

the ambitious drive toward a future where hu-

that is closely related to electrical engineering,”

man beings can be fixed as easy as any vehicle.

adding that it’s 60 percent electrical, 20 percent

“Engineering has always been about solving problems,” explains Christopher Yip, associate director of graduate studies for the biomedical engineering program at the University of Toronto. “In biomedical engineering, the focus is now on solving problems in the medical context.” It’s a discipline of medicine that has had, and will continue to have, significant impacts in the world of health care. “Biomedical engineers are involved in everything from medical devices [and] imaging to regenerative medicine. Stem

science and 20 percent mechanical. Students in the field are expected to become highly specialized engineers, applying these engineering skills toward different disciplines of medicine. “[Medical] devices are rapidly becoming more complex, meaning strong knowledge in both engineering and science [are] required to design medical machines,” Moeini explains, stressing the importance of how the electrical and mechanical tie into the science when it comes to creating biomedical tools and equipment.

cell bioengineering, tissue engineering and bio-

Yip speaks of the future of biomedical engi-

materials to biosensors and diagnostics devices

neering positively, calling it not only bright but

to rehabilitation engineering and clinical care.”

talking of the huge opportunities being brought

forward by “exploiting some of the exciting new

Yip goes on to explain the potential for “rapid

insights in stem cell biology, systems biology,

diagnosis of disease and facilitating treatment

regenerative medicine, nanotechnology, bio-

strategies to cure disease.” He breaks down the

sensing...” It’s obvious he could go on for hours

engineering approach to help in all aspects of

discussing the possibilities. Of course there are

health care delivery: “From diagnosis to preven-

always the more conventional applications as

tion, treatment, rehabilitation and cure.”

well, such as medical devices and robotics. Be-

Obviously it’s a field for not only the forward

ing receptive to new advances is important, he

thinking but the creative as well. So now you’re

explains, as well as being able to understand

thinking, “Great! With biomedical engineering

and work within them.

having its finger in so many delicious medical

So perhaps the Frankenstein analogy isn’t too far

pies I’ll have no problem choosing an area to

off. With the future potential of biomedical engi-

specialize in!” So just what should you know

neering looking vastly infinite, who’s to say what

before heading in to a biomedical engineering

incredible advances in medicine might be discov-

program? Well, because it’s a field that touches

ered… just don’t attack anyone with pitchforks.

industryinsiders » 20

the bright future of biomedical engineering

by Jeff Sebanc april 2011 | jobpostings.ca

Image: Hemera/Thinkstock

Okay, so today’s biomedical engineers are a bit


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21


industryinsiders

what the textbook can’t teach ya. ~ begin ~

(what

the te

xtboo

k can’ t teach

ya.)

by Andrew Williams jobpostings.ca | april 2011


Think of any field, and you’re bound to find successful people who didn’t wait for school to teach them how to do their job. Instead, they dove headlong into what they love, turning a passion into a skill and becoming the best at what they do. And like knives, skills need to be honed and sharpened, especially in the trade industry where skills are an asset. In this industry, hobbies and extra-curricular activities

e t t e b

are your whetstone.

Landscaping is among the more accessible trade careers

out there. Indeed, serious revenue is made here, enough to

make it into a full-time job. But landscaping also presents

s i g n i o d Reading is great, but doing is better.

the perfect mode to get a taste of a major trade industry

when not in class. Manufacturing is another area where

fields often overlap, including fabricating and construction. Apart from that, home renovation allows students to work

with lighting, windows, wiring, and roofing with proper safety equipment and supervision.

Car modification is a great way for auto enthusiasts to get a hand’s on feel of the automotive industry, especially if you plan on being a mechanic or engineer. Vehicle customization

can help you develop a keen knowledge on the multitude of car parts from the various manufacturers, and also learn the

basics of automobile assembly and aesthetics. Nick Samain, show manager for the Canadian Manufacturing Technology

Bag one in the grocery industry. Where’s the action? Just about everywhere – from grocery to warehousing, from store management to store design, from marketing to real estate. You could be a store manager running a multimillion dollar operation, a pharmacist dispensing pharmaceuticals to customers, or a grocery clerk making sure shelves are stocked and customers are served. Whatever your career interests are, you’ll find a career path that’s right for you.

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24

april 2011 | jobpostings.ca


Show (CMTS), says “The larger demographics of

Paul Maryschak, BUILDEX show director, adds

other, explains Maryschak. “Just because you’re

attendees that you’ll find coming to CMTS is for

that it’s the responsibility of the student to get

in interior design doesn’t mean you have to work

the automotive industry.” Samain is a four-wheel

out there and meet people. “It’s all up to the

for an interior design company; you may end up

drive enthusiast himself, and an active partici-

individual student as far as how effective they

working for a builder,” he says.

pant at a Jeep club. “Definitely, motor sports are

are with [networking],” says Maryschak. He ex-

something. From a student perspective, you don’t

plains that at the BUILDEX expos, held annually

need to have a lot of money, you just need to ask

in Vancouver, Edmonton, and Calgary, you have

around and ask if you can help out and volunteer.

the chance to meet representatives from various

The good thing about those types of communities

companies dealing with interior design, renova-

is that you’d mostly find people who want to pass

tion, construction, and real estate management.

on the knowledge provided there’s interest.”

You also have to opportunity to meet top execs

er

CMTS is just one of the trade shows that could help students prepare for a career, aside from hobbies. These exhibitions are one of the best

Images: Previous Page - Digital Vision/Thinkstock; Current - George Doyle/Stockbyte/Thinkstock

ways to see what the industry has to offer and

and vice-presidents, who walk the show floor and attend the seminars themselves. “If you want to meet with some higher-ups, there’s defi-

One thing to note with some types of trades is that they require supervision, especially for novices. This makes having one as a basement hobby rather difficult. So whether you’re working with heavy machinery or hazardous material in the classroom, or sharpening your welding skills in your garage, make sure you’re doing it with someone who’s experienced. “If you’re going to try something, ask,” Samain insists. Learning never depended on having to open a

nitely plenty of opportunity there.”

network with others. CMTS heads to Toronto

At the core of any trade hobby is the idea that

every two years, and of the 10,000 attendees,

practice makes perfect. Samain asserts that

roughly 700 to 1,000 of them are students in

when it comes to the field of design, students

the trade and manufacturing industry. “We see

should work it into their daily routine, even if

two types of students,” says Samain. “We see the

they’re designing something for their apartment.

ones who come to the show dressed any way

In addition, schools typically make computer

they want, and walk around for magnets and

programs in design available for students at dirt

pens. [But also] we see a lot of students who

cheap prices, so saying you’re broke is no excuse.

come to the show, and they’re looking at this as

The more adept you are with a skill set, the eas-

a real opportunity to go and make connections.”

ier it could be to transfer it from one field to an-

text book. In fact it’s quite the opposite. It’s the hands on experience that really solidifies your skill sets. When not in the classroom taking notes from the instructor, or in the library studying for that exam, you should make the time to get your feet wet, and look for opportunities to meet those who are doing what you love, no matter the industry. ~ end ~

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25


Pick your Character by Andrew Williams

In the old days, video games were confined to the vice of socially awkward, sports-phobic nerds who sat in front of the Nintendo and saw dating as a horrifying and alien concept. Or so the stereotype goes. But now, video games themselves have matured and hit the dating scene, so to speak, and are among Canada’s most diverse and fastest growing markets of the past decade. If you aim to get in this industry’s entourage, there are a number of roles that can suit your skills, background, and what you’re passionate about.

“Lately, there’s definitely been a big push in the portable — iPhones, iPads, tablets and that kind of thing,” says Antonio Santamaria, head of engineering at Ottawa’s Artech Studios. He explains that touch interfaces and different kinds of input mechanisms are making these portable devices, including cell phones, an avenue where the industry is heading. Also, more opportunities are becoming available for teams to be working on content aimed at portable and mobile markets. Alex Hyder, studio lead at Playfish Montreal, adds that mobile devices have been contributing to the popularity of social network games, which have introduced whole new groups of people to this market.


industryinsiders

Perhaps the most multi-fac-

eted aspect of game develop-

ment. In the gaming industry, Images L-R: Stockbyte/Thinkstock; iStockphoto/Thinkstock; Hemera/Thinkstock; © iStockphoto.com/Doug Berry; © iStockphoto.com/Valerie Loiseleux; iStockphoto/Thinkstock

programmers write the code

Before official release, games are tested for quality assur-

for game engines, which can

“[Producer’s] a more senior

determine how the finished

not something you’ll start out

Another senior level posi-

sor role and oversee much of

conceptual and less tech-

be tweaked here and there to

role,” says Santamaria. “It’s

product would look and feel..

as.” Producers play a supervi-

Programmers also code for

the base functions of characters, game play, even sound. They’re essentially the tool and die makers in this in-

dustry, but work closely with

many other personnel on the development team.

Animators typically work with powerful software en-

gines such as Maya and 3D Studio MAX. Like the other areas of development, ani-

mators work as a team along with the artists and mod-

elers. “Usually, we look for

people who have the technical skills and the traditional artistic ones you would learn

It’s a fairly comprehensive

role in that they deal with au-

dio mixing, music and sound tracks, and sound effects.

“Making realistic sounding dialogue is very difficult,” says

doing old fashioned animation,” says Santamaria. They

would also work closely with programmers, as this area may require a programmer’s coding expertise.

Hyder, explaining the play-by-

Modelers are a distinct but

Madden and NBA Live. Sound

opment. “You can almost

technical proficiency to suc-

sculptors,” says Hyder. Mod-

sound data into a cohesive

animators must bring to life,

seamlessly during game play.

such as texture.

play in sports games such as

related role in game devel-

design requires considerable

think of them as digital

cessfully compile all the raw

elers design any object the

“package” that would weave

while artists provide details

jobpostings.ca | april 2011

the logistical and marketing aspects of a game (much like in film), and work closely with management. That’s not to

say game producers have no technical know-how. “Usu-

ally they’ve come up from a development role, so they’ve

been in the trenches,” says Santamaria. “I wouldn’t expect a producer to crack open

some code and start writ-

ing something, but certainly when

your

development

team is saying they can’t do something, you should have an idea why.”

tion. These folks are more nical. As a designer you’ll

conceive of the content of the game, layout, and even its overall theme. “[Game] Designers are typically very

difficult to categorize,” says Hyder, explaining how some

might have PhDs in philosophy, while others might be

writers. “They come from all

over.” A game designer may not necessarily deal with

any of the programming,

but typically knows scripting language and would work

closely with the programming team among others.

ance, ranging from compli-

ance to corporate guidelines, compatibility, bugs, and other issues. “Essentially your

responsibilities are to verify the integrity of the game it-

self and verify that it meets the criteria that’s necessary

for it to get published,” says Santamaria. Gamers might

be familiar with beta testing, which is when a developer

allows external users, mostly volunteers, to test the prod-

uct and relay feedback to the development team. This

method reveals bugs the programmers

may

have

missed, but also gives game

enthusiasts a chance to get a taste of the industry.

Employers such as EA and Artech Studios are looking for students who have a technical background in scripting, art, programming, and communication skills. But as always, having that hands-on experience outside of your studies would really make you stand out.

27


industryinsiders

school teacher Mr.Davis always said, ‘arm yourself with knowledge and utilize it to the max’,” he recalls. “The more experience you have and knowledge you develop, the more an individual stands out from the next candidate.” It’s true that some people work their way up from the ground-floor, but sometimes there are other ways to prove yourself. While attending Humber College of Business, Khangura heard from his classmate Meetul Shah about the Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) program. As a non-profit initiative of Advancing Canadian Entrepreneurship (ACE), the program aims to help students become adept at business through the development of projects that better their communities. “At the time, I was working for myself, doing video production and providing DJ services for various private events,” says Khangura. His classmate’s passion about starting a SIFE group on-campus inspired him. “Being an entrepreneur at heart, I spoke with Meetul and of-

ONE rung the reAT A TIMEClimbing tail ladder can by Kevin Nelson

be tricky, but you can’t beat the view from the top.

fered my services to assist with the start up at no cost.” As he became more familiar with the program, he assumed more of a hands-on role in the campus group and opportunities arose from there. Through SIFE, Khangura was offered a summer internship at Walmart that carried on as a part-time job while in school, doing special projects for the company. He has now accepted a fulltime position as an Assistant Store Manager when he graduates. “The ACE initiative had helped generate an interest from employers in recruiting a SIFE student,” he explains. “I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to meet with employers at that particular time in my education without the program.” Once you’ve got your foot in the door, it’s important to maintain the upward momentum. “It can be hard to get noticed,” says Diotte. “Offering to take on anything that helps the team achieve common goals and making yourself the ‘go-to’ person definitely helps.” When things go wrong at work, opportunities can arise. “Some people are lucky in that they find themselves in a situation that can make them shine,” says Laurent Lapierre, an associate professor at the University of Ottawa’s Telfer School of Management. “A crisis

Those of us who’ve done time at a retail store know there’s

can provide a chance to show commitment to the firm, but it can also be risky,” he warns.

more to keeping it running smoothly than stocking prod-

“It can reveal a person’s lack of managerial potential.”

vice and business savvy. If you’ve got the drive and knowhow, but feel like it’s a long ways from working the retail floor to sitting in that cushy office chair, don’t despair. It’s not impossible to climb that ladder — you’ve just got to know where you’re grabbing.

feedback provided, ask your boss to help you identify areas for growth,” offers Diotte. “That way you’ll know your boss is paying closer attention to your performance and you’ll understand how you can develop to meet your goals.” It might seem obvious to you, but it doesn’t hurt to let others know of your ambition. “The first step is letting your employer know you’re interested in moving up,” says Khangura. “Once a manager is aware of an associ-

While some of the more menial tasks associated with retail

ate’s development plan, they’ll do their part in developing an individual to the level where

might appear pointless, putting your time in at the bottom

they can perform that particular job’s duties.” Checking your attitude and pre-conceptions

doesn’t have to be fruitless. “Sometimes gaining experience

at the door is advisable. “Avoid assumptions that you won’t have a good relationship with

in various departments can help you gain a better under-

your boss,” says Lapierre. “Carefully determine what your boss expects from you. Put simply,

standing of how a business works at a macro-level,” says

they will invest more time in helping you progress if they view you as having the talent and

Monique Diotte, career advisor at the University of Wind-

commitment to help achieve managerial objectives.”

sor’s Odette School of Business. “It can make you a more effective manager with a more long-term perspective in your approach.” As an entrepreneur and a business student, Sunny Khangura has learned this lesson well. “Like my high

28

Another way to advance is to keep communication open. “If there’s no formal performance

It’s also important not to burn out on the way to the top. “Good friends have pulled me aside from the beginning and, even if it was only half an hour or so, we would hang out at a coffee shop,” says Khangura. “My family also stresses the importance of home-time. Those are the key ingredients in achieving a balance.” april 2011 | jobpostings.ca

Image: Goodshoot RF/Thinkstock

ucts and jockeying a register. It’s a fine mix of customer ser-


Top-ranked. Five Locations. Infinite Possibilities. Hult. Boston

San Francisco

London

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29


edu-ma-cation

focal point # A Master’s in Social Work

offers a chance

As the backbone of

ever, it’s not necessary to have a Bachelor’s in Social

prepare is through diligent work at the undergrad

infrastructure, social

come from psychology, political science or women’s

skills in critical analysis and reflective practice, and

the Canadian social

workers are on the

for specialization,

front lines, offering

but what are its

ple at risk. It can be

applications?

key services to peoa demanding line of work, and preparing to face the challenges that arise on the

job takes a lot of mental and emotional stamina. University degrees in social work give a student the necessary skills, and the theoretical and practical background necessary to grapple with real-world

problems. But knowing how far to pursue education to achieve one’s career goals can be a dilemma

in itself. If ‘Master’s or Bachelor’s?’ is a burning

question in your mind when considering your career in social work, read on!

It’s important to note that policies and programs differ from school to school in Canada, or even in On-

tario alone. “At Ryerson, we offer a one year Master’s

program to those who’ve completed a Bachelor’s in Social Work,” says Judith Sandys, interim director of the School of Social Work at the university. When

screening applicants for the program, there are

some important factors that come into play. “We look for students who have demonstrated a high academic achievement in the Bachelor’s program,” she continues. “Also, ideally, people with substantial

social work experience.” At some universities, how-

Work to enter the master’s program. “A lot of people

studies backgrounds, or even other professions, such as law, nursing or teaching,” observes Andrea

Litvack, director of the Master’s of Social Work program at the University of Toronto. “The first year of

our two year master’s program is generic, introducing students to various subjects that are important. By the end of the first year, however, the playing field

is pretty level. Those with a Bachelor’s in Social Work enter the second year of the program.”

One of the differences between obtaining a master’s

and a bachelor’s in social work is the question of fo-

cus. “The bachelor’s is a generalist degree that prepares students to work in a variety of settings, while the master’s is characterized by particular areas of

specialization,” says Sandys. “The master’s curriculum includes theories, policies and practices relevant to a student’s major area of social work practice.” This is also the case at the University of Toronto. “Our

master’s offers a specialized understanding of social work,” explains Litvack. “For example, if you choose to

pursue a specialization in mental health, you’ll have a much better grasp of issues, work and research in that area.” It’s not all theory, however, as Social Work

is one of the more applied areas of the social sciences. “At Ryerson, our master’s program includes 450 hours of field experience,” confirms Sandys.

As far as preparing to undertake a master’s, there

are some important things to keep in mind. “It’s an intellectually demanding degree, so the best way to

level,” Sandys advises. “Students should develop good, clear writing skills are a major asset. Also,

experience working with diverse populations is a must — the more, the better.”

A master’s degree can be a valuable asset for recent

graduates and experienced social workers alike. “It enhances one’s employability in the short run,” says Sandys, “and increases the likelihood of moving into

supervisory roles in the future.” Of course, the deci-

sion to pursue further education should always be subject to a person’s view of the big picture. “I think

it’s important to have a clear understanding of what

social work is, and why a student is choosing social work as a career, as opposed to law, sociology or an-

other related field,” says Litvack. A person’s academic

and practical background should also factor into the decision. “Consider whether you’ve had a solid enough experiential background to get the benefit

from advanced study,” cautions Sandys. “Students need to have a solid understanding of the societal

factors that lead to the marginalization of certain groups within society, and be deeply committed to

issues of social justice and equity.” This commitment is important, as the stakes are high and the road is long. “I would urge prospective students to consider

whether they’re up to the difficult but rewarding task of working to promote change,” continues Sandys, “even it requires years of dedicated effort.” by Kevin Nelson

more

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graduate school directory

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Located in the beautiful Finger Lakes region of New York,

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Our one-year graduate certificate programs enhance your

Trent’s commitment to research excellence, innovation, and

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career education. The college offers more than 120 diploma, post-diploma and certificate programs in business, communication and media arts, community and consumer services, engineering technology, health, hospitality and transportation.

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provide students with world-class research opportunities and strong support to enrich your educational experience and advance your academic career. Expect an ideal environment to set your ideas in motion.

diploma or degree with a blend of theoretical knowledge and work experience that fully prepare you to launch your career. Choose from more than 20 programs in the arts, business, technology and community service fields.

college in Ontario for nine of the last twelve years. Our graduates get jobs with a job placement rate of well over 90%! We have campuses in Kitchener, Waterloo, Guelph, Stratford, Ingersoll and Cambridge.

halfway between Toronto and New York City, IC offers 20 graduate degrees, many of which can be completed in 1 year or less, leading to professional certification.

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collaboration has earned us a reputation as a progressive leader in graduate education. Whether we are talking about disciplinary or interdisciplinary programs, Trent is known for nurturing a vibrant intellectual community and scholars who are engaged, critical thinkers.


If my dad taught me one thing over the years, it’s

Often, it’s the time you put in during the first few

When I was a kid it seemed like my dad was always

basics of your new job, the type of working envi-

always been that you have to work hard for success. working — he made time for us kids, no worries there, we just went to work with or for him — but

he was ALWAYS working. He would get calls late at night that would drag him out to a work site and he

months that count the most: you’re learning the

ronment that you are in, and proving that you should stay past the probation period.

Show up early, and stay late.

Go home sick, after you’ve shown up for work. I don’t know about you, but I always feel guilty when I get sick, and worry that people think I’m

playing hooky. Not to mention, sometimes you

may feel sick first thing in the morning and then

wouldn’t return until early the next morning, crash

This is crucial for making a good impression; it

feel fine a few hours later. So, unless I’m vomiting

couple hours later to shower, change, and head

done. You may not be able to do it all the time, but I

make it impossible to even get to work, I head

getting older and the kids have all (but one) moved

before you, and if you can help it, you should rarely

fice. Now I know what you’re thinking: “Then I’m

company he’s helped build to what it is today. He’s

in and sees you sitting at your desk already knee

condoning going to work in dire straits — I’m just

think he’s found success in his own way is the fact

tice. When they sign off for the night and you are

it’s better that you head in and tell your boss. They

that you are serious about what you do. Of course,

compared to if you call and fake a cough because

dawdling all day on your regular tasks, but this is

you’ve earned your sick day in my books.

on the couch fully dressed, and wake up again a

shows that you want to be there getting your work

all over myself and other horrible things which

back out. He still does that now, even though he’s

think you should never let your boss be in the office

out as usual and see how I feel once I’m in the of-

out. He’s still out and moving, now in charge of the

leave before he or she does. When your boss walks

spreading my bug to all of my colleagues!” I’m not

smart, he’s got the skills, but the biggest reason I

deep in the day’s projects, they are bound to no-

saying if you’re feeling a little under the weather,

that he shows up! He always shows up.

just finishing up another project, they will know

can see that you look a little pale and groggy,

you shouldn’t be staying late because you’ve been

you’re unsure if they will believe you or not. Then

a great time to go the extra mile. Try it, you’ll be

Show up for EVERYTHING.

I’ve taken this to heart with each and every job or position I’ve taken. For me, it’s imperative that if you want the job, and you want the people who

count to see you mean it, you show up, you stay late, you do whatever it takes to get the job done.

surprised how many of your colleagues don’t use this simple practice to their advantage.

When I started my current position, I was show-

ing up early, leaving late, sweating streams at my desk as I pumped through project after project and tried to overcome what I didn’t know and make

better what I did. If I was invited into a meeting or

Showing up is half the battle

jlife

ob

presentation I made sure I was there, and if I needed to make up the time afterwards at my desk, I

did. Then the annual dinner came up where all of our customers attended as well as staff. It was a

big to-do where relationships could be grown from formal meetings into casual conversations

and friendships. And I got sick. Now, I know what I said a minute ago, but at the time everybody was scared of Swine Flu and so nobody wanted me

around them, let alone eating dinner and drink-

ing wine with them. I can understand that — but the missed opportunity came up all the time at meetings only letting up once I was able to attend

the following year. So for an entire year I was null

on conversations about the dinner, how good it was, funny things that happened, and of course everybody seemed to forget I was sick; in fact, I felt people just thought I didn’t show up because

I must not have felt like it (free fancy dinner and bottomless glasses of wine! Are you nuts?). It just took that much longer

to build and work on my relationships both within the company and out. So I’m telling you, you have to work hard, but show-

Image: Digital Vision/Thinkstock

ing up is half the battle.

with Ross Harrhy

32

april 2011 | jobpostings.ca


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