Ottawa, ON – The Business + Higher Education Roundtable is committed to helping Canada’s employers create quality, inclusive work-integrated learning (WIL) opportunities for every-post secondary student. As part of that commitment, we have released a new resource, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion in WIL: Student Stories, Employer Priorities to help employers tackle equity and inclusion barriers in the WIL ecosystem.
COVID-19 dramatically altered the nature of work, including WIL, and it continues to impact students and recent graduates from equity-deserving communities. But, it also made way for employers, and post-secondaries to develop new opportunities to meaningfully address the challenges.
EDI in WIL: Student Stories, Employer Priorities is a three-part series exploring Access and Awareness, Recruitment and Onboarding, and the WIL Experience.
This resource reflects and amplifies the student voices that are often unheard in the WIL ecosystem. BHER spoke with EDI leaders and nearly 100 equity-deserving students and recent graduates from across Canada. Together their stories paint a picture of lived experiences and expert perspectives that call out complex, systemic challenges in WIL but also outline priorities for employers, post-secondaries, and practitioners to build a more equitable, inclusive post-COVID WIL ecosystem.
Many of the challenges students face are a result of coming up against a system that wasn’t built for them, including:
- Awareness gaps, as many students don’t know about WIL opportunities or the value they can have for their careers.
- Engagement & recruitment barriers, as students don’t always feel they ‘connect’ to, or can see themselves in WILs
- Lived realities, like socio-economic barriers, tend to prevent low-income students or those with financial and caretaker responsibilities from taking advantage of WILs
- Systemic barriers of belonging and inclusion persist on campuses and in workplaces, including racism, discrimination, a lack of representation in supervisors, and a lack of culturally appropriate supports that acknowledge the lived realities of many equity-deserving communities.
EDI in WIL: Student Stories, Employer Priorities is the latest resource to be added to our WIL Hub, a “one-stop shop” for WIL tools and resources, made possible through generous support from the Government of Canada.
About the Business + Higher Education Roundtable
The Business + Higher Education Roundtable (BHER) is a non-partisan, not-for-profit organization bringing together some of Canada’s largest companies and leading post-secondary institutions. Since 2015, BHER has worked to harness the strengths of Canada’s business and post-secondary education sectors to build opportunities for young Canadians, boost innovation and drive collaboration. Learn more at www.bher.ca.