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Canadian public colleges continue to adapt to labour market needs

Canadian colleges are known worldwide for their agility and unique ability to anticipate and respond to the needs of the workplace, providing their students with relevant job skills that are in demand.

Fanshawe provides flexible learning arrangements and experiential education opportunities developed in response to labour market needs. Photo: Fanshawe

Innovation Village is valued at $58 million

One of the largest Canadian colleges is Fanshawe College in London, Ontario, Canada. Today, Fanshawe boasts a graduate employment rate of 90.3% and continues to evolve with further commitments to students and their future employers.

Employers articulated seven job skills that they value most in today’s economy. Fanshawe adopted these skills across programs and within projects, ensuring that students continue to have the rich, experiential learning opportunities that lead to rewarding careers.

Fanshawe students collaborate to win International Fashion Film Award

Job skills of the future took centre-stage this fall in a film project called UNBOUND Revival, involving Fashion Design students as well as more than 50 students from other programs across the College. The film explores the issue of over-consumption in the fashion industry, how those choices impact the environment and ways designers can adapt to create fashion-forward reduced waste designs.

“Job skills of the future took centre-stage this fall in a film project called UNBOUND Revival”

The students were six weeks from hosting their signature end-of-year runway fashion show when the restrictions due to Covid-19 threatened to cancel the event. The fashion students were already working with video effects students on a video for the show, so together they created a plan to have students shoot more content on their phones to produce a film.

The film follows 11 students as they navigate the challenges posed by the pandemic to complete their collections. It won Best Student Film at the 2020 Canadian International Fashion Film Festival, and illustrates students in action using many of the job skills of the future: complex problem-solving, implementation skills, novel and adaptive thinking, and resilience.

SILEx – using the job skills of the future  

The Fashion and Video Effects project is just one example of putting the job skills to the test to create a hands-on learning opportunity,

Fanshawe College has committed that every student will have the opportunity to participate in at least one rich, experiential learning opportunity called a Signature Innovative Learning Experience, or SILex, before they graduate. Some examples include working with external clients on research and presentations, student teams creating business proposals, working with international organizations to address a global problem, feedback from external parties on student projects, and students from multiple programs working together on professional projects.

Innovation Village – where community and students produce

Job skills are part of student life, and central to this interdependency at Fanshawe is Innovation Village, a physical and virtual hub in the heart of the London campus. It is where students and community members discover one-stop supports and exceptional learning complete with collaborative workspaces, virtual realty and multimedia labs, project rooms and more.

Innovation Village is valued at $58 million and has been receiving funding support from the federal government and the City of London. The project will be completed by 2023. For more information, click here to see the video.

About the author

Sue McKittrick has spent the past five years as the International Communications Coordinator at Fanshawe College, working with students, recruiters and education agents. She is also a former college professor who brings nearly 20 years of broadcast journalism experience to the position.  

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