Linking the classroom and the workplace

An excerpt from an article written by Anne Sado, President of George Brown College, Elizabeth Cannon, President of the University of Calgary, and Tom Jenkins, Chair of the Board of OpenText. Together, they co-chair the Business/Higher Education Roundtable. The article appears in full in Policy Options.

We are living in rapidly changing times. The pace of innovation, disruptive new technologies and rising global competition for talent mean that today’s graduates are entering a labour market dramatically different from the one that awaited previous generations of Canadians. With career trajectories less linear, and jobs requiring a very different mix of skills, Canada needs a fresh approach to meeting the challenges that exist at the intersection of business, education and employment.

As we prepare students for a world increasingly reliant on technology, we must ensure that the fundamental skills acquired in higher education – the ability to unravel big problems, to work on diverse teams, and to communicate complex issues – can be applied to new and unexpected challenges. By bridging the classroom and professional world, work-integrated learning (WIL) allows students to test-drive their skills and ease their transition into their careers.

As members of the Business/Higher Education Roundtable (BHER), we believe that 100 percent of Canada’s post-secondary students should have the opportunity to benefit from a meaningful WIL experience before completing their studies.