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May 15, 2017

Students from Fanshawe College learn to build houses as part of a Construction apprenticeship program.

Work-Integrated Learning: Preparing Students for the World of Work

With graduation season upon us, finding meaningful employment is top of mind for all students. Graduates are looking to put their skills to use in launching a career, and students returning to school in the fall are looking for summer jobs to supplement their learning.

Recently, a lot of attention has been paid to the difficulty faced by students in finding work after graduation, using the terms youth unemployment and, more appropriately, youth underemployment to identify a labour market where skills don’t seem to match job prospects.

Budget 2017 committed $221 million over five years in increased funding opportunities through Mitacs – a not-for-profit that has been working to build partnerships between academia and industry to create a more innovative Canada– to increase the capacity of their work-integrated learning placements from 3,750 to 10,000. Colleges and institutes and their industry and community partners are eager to access the expanded Mitacs program, to provide more students with this valuable experience and boost the innovation capacity of local employers. The Business/Higher Education Roundtable (BHER) also recently announced an exciting joint initiative with the Toronto Financial Services Alliance (TFSA) and seven universities and colleges to provide 10,000 work-integrated learning placements by the end of 2020.

The success of the work-integrated learning (WIL) approach is undeniable. BHER’s October 2016 “Taking the Pulse of Work-Integrated Learning in Canada” report identifies WIL as systematic training (apprenticeships), structured work experience (co-ops, internships, mandatory professional practice, and field experience), and institutional partnerships (applied research projects, and service learning).

Colleges and institutes have long worked with industry partners, particularly small and medium-sized business (SMEs), to perfect this approach and include WIL in nearly all the programs they offer. Applied research projects on campuses across the country also offer students opportunities to gain skills through hands-on experience while also contributing to the success of Canada’s innovation ecosystem.

The federal government is also trying to address issues related to youth unemployment via Budget 2017’s commitment of an additional $395.5 million over three years for the Youth Employment Strategy (YES), which aims both to help youth develop the skills and knowledge they need to participate in the labour market, and to help employers make more skilled-job opportunities available.

As part of the YES, CICan’s Clean-Tech Internship program has helped bridge the skills gap by connecting college and institute students with employers working to build a clean, green Canada. Julia Edgar, a student in NAIT’s Alternative Energy Technology Program, said of her Clean-Tech internship:

“Having the opportunity to work in my field allowed me to solidify the skills I had and demonstrate confidence as an industry professional. I was able to meet some of the key players in the renewable sector and was recognized at a Women in Renewable Energy seminar for the work that myself and other women in the company have completed.”

Another successful intern, Mathew Fraser, a student from Fleming College, was hired by Bruce Power Generation after his internship. The strength of their relationship with industry partners is one of the reasons colleges and institutes boast such high employment rates for students upon graduation.

Integrating employment experience into education addresses both students’ concerns about finding jobs, and employers’ concerns that they won’t be able to find candidates with the necessary skills and experience to help their businesses grow and thrive.

As the federal government takes steps to provide a stronger path to employment for youth, the need for action is clear. Colleges and institutes as the key to unlocking opportunities for Canada’s youth to build an innovative future.

Member News

UNEVOC launches Skills-in-Action Photo Competition

Screen Shot 2017-05-15 at 9.54.08 AM

World Youth Skills Day is July 15th, and the UNEVOC International Centre is organizing a photo competition to celebrate the event. As the pan-Canadian UNEVOC Centre, CICan is inviting its members to take part in the competition!

It is time to highlight the opportunities and positive impact of TVET for people, their families and their local communities. We are therefore inviting young amateur or professional photographers to contribute and use their skills in capturing pictures that not only show but tell amazing stories about “Youth and Skills” as an entry to the Skills-in-Action Photo Competition.

Detailed information, including on the prizes to be won, can be found by clicking here.

CICan participates in Round Table on Learning Abroad

GG05-2017-0151 May 8, 2017 Rideau Hall, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada, attended the Roundtable on Learning Abroad and Canada’s Global Engagement Challenge on May 8, 2017 at Rideau Hall.  Credit: Sgt Johanie Maheu, Rideau Hall, OSGG

On Monday, May 8, 2017, CICan President and CEO, Denise Amyot was pleased to participate in an important discussion on international education with the Governor General of Canada, David Johnston, at Rideau Hall, during the Canadian Bureau for International Education (CBIE) Round Table on Learning Abroad and Canada’s Global Engagement Challenge.

Participants discussed the personal and professional benefits of international education, from opening minds and shaping global citizens, to the value of global experience through the hiring process. His Excellency also gave recommendations to address some of the common barriers to studying internationally. CICan has long advocated for the importance of student mobility and was pleased to have been part of such an important conversation.

CICan was also pleased to have worked with Algonquin College and their Student Leadership Program in providing the opportunity for four students to attend the event at Rideau Hall. One student, Nour Hannawi, noted that she and her fellow students were able to challenge assumptions to the benefit of the dialogue.

It’s so great to see young leaders actively engaging in such important discussions. Well done!

SSHRC introduces new Partnership Engage Grants

The Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) is introducing a Partnership Engage Grant to better address the short-term needs, challenges and opportunities of researchers and institutions.

The grants will have a value of between $7,000 and $25,000, and will put a strong emphasis on the relevance to, and involvement of, partner organizations. However, they will require fewer partners than the existing Partnership and Partnership Development Grants, as they are designed for a single partner organization from the not-for-profit, public or private sector. The Partnership Engage Grants will also have a more streamlined application process, and be offered four times a year as opposed to once a year as is the case for other Partnership grants.

The Partnership Engage Grants will be launched in June 2017. The deadline for the inaugural competition is September 15, 2017. Successful applicants will be notified in December 2017.

Please check the SSHRC website for the official launch announcement, funding opportunity details and application forms.

CICan signs MoU with Korean organization


On April 30, 2017, CICan was pleased to formalize a growing partnership to explore collaborative opportunities with the Korean Council for University College Education (KCCE) with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) during the KCCE delegation’s visit to Canada. The organizations will explore opportunities related to student mobility; administrator and faculty exchange; sharing of exemplary practices, research and learning materials; applied research partnerships; and opportunities to collaborate on improving leadership development.

The delegation also had the opportunity to learn about the Canadian college system and the World Federation of Colleges and Polytechnics (WFCP), and to introduce the Korean Vocational Education and Training to CICan and its members.

While in Canada from April 26 to May 3, 2017, the KCCE delegation visited Fleming College, Centennial College, Algonquin College, with program interest in automotive mechanic, beauty, food technology, airline services, IT, and Childcare and Early Childhood.

KCCE is an incorporated national membership organization of university colleges in Korea.  It has 137 members made up of 1 national university college, 7 public university college, and 129 private university college.

CICan to offer Leadership Training Program to Italian delegation

CICan was pleased to sign an agreement with the Istituto Istruzione Superiore “Luigi Einaudi” of Italy to develop and deliver a 1-week leadership training program for 13 administrators of Istituti Tecnici Superiori (Higher Institutes of Technology [ITS]) and executives of the Ministero dell’Istruzione, Universita e Ricerca (Ministry of Education, University and Research [MIUR]) from June 12 to June 17, 2017.

This leadership program aims to provide the participants an opportunity to discover and learn best practices in governance and leadership from Canadian colleges and institutes to better lead, manage, and sustain the new network of ITS. Participants are expected to come from 6 sectors including energy efficiency, sustainable mobility, and new and innovative technologies.

Seneca College of Applied Arts and Technology will host the leadership program after a Call for Proposals to colleges and institutes in the Greater Toronto Area.

The leadership program is the result of several initiatives carried out by CICan in partnership with the Rome Trade Office in the last two years. The program is funded by the MIUR.

Eureka! Moment

Did you know that the W. Garfield Weston Foundation Fellowship provides tuition and bursary incentives to help Loyalist College Skilled Trades students and apprentices train for and succeed in the growing industry? Students with passion, desire, and motivation can fill out a Fellowship application here!


Cégep Limoilou was pleased to announce the appointment of Rachel Bégin as the institution’s new Directrice adjointe des études. Bégin comes from a varied background in primary, secondary, and post-secondary education in Quebec.

Lethbridge College welcomed two new additions to its academic team. Dr. Janet Welch joins the college as Associate Vice President Academic after 25 years in higher education in Alberta and internationally; and, Dr. Jagvir Singh has been appointed as the college’s new Director of Applied Research after a long career in post-secondary research.

Mohawk College was also pleased to make two new appointments. Maxine Carter will join Mohawk College as Director & Special Advisor, Equity & Social Inclusion, after many successful years with the City of Hamilton; and, Tim Fricker will take on the role of Dean of Students after serving as Director of Student Success Initiatives at the college.


Jun 20 - 24th, 2021
CICan Leadership Institute for Leaders in International
Toronto, Toronto Marriott City Centre
Jun 20 - 24th, 2021
CICan Leadership Institute for Leaders in Applied Research and Innovation
Toronto, Toronto Marriott City Centre
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Canada’s 150th Anniversary! 

Submissions for CICan’s Canada 150 project are ongoing. Check out our Canada 150 website for more details.

CICan’s Leadership Institutes 

Registration is live for CICan’s 2017 Leadership Institutes. Click here to register.

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