Gaining on-the-job skills before graduation sets DC students up for success Posted on March 23, 2023 at 9:24 am. Future fitness professional and Durham College Fitness and Health Promotion student, Josh Malbon, is getting on-the-job experience before he even graduates from college. He is one of a number of students participating in a collaborative project* with students in the Firefighter – Pre-Service Education and Training program who are measuring the vital physiological responses of future firefighters as they perform real-life fire simulations to help learn how to improve their health, safety and performance. “Working with students in the firefighter program is strengthening my ability to connect and communicate with clients in a professional setting,” said Malbon. “And the chance to work with a special population and learn specific procedures and protocols related to occupational testing is a huge benefit.” Providing opportunities like this for students to participate in hands-on learning – also known as experiential learning or work-integrated learning – is a focus and priority for Durham College. Whether it is field placement, applied research, apprenticeship or co-op, they all have the shared objective to strengthen the skills students learn in the classroom by applying them to real-life settings. And the result is undeniable that it gives students the skills employers are looking for and helps set them apart from the competition at graduation. For Russell Waring, a third-year Computer Programming and Analysis student at DC, the opportunity was a co-op experience with the Ontario Ministry of Transportation that he says has helped boost his employability in the competitive field of information technology in advance of his graduation this spring. “The Experiential Learning office supported me throughout the entire co-op experience,” said Waring. “Without the opportunities provided by DC’s work-integrated learning, I would not be graduating with the experience and confidence that I have today.” Hands-on learning opportunities can also be student-led. In the Faculty of Media, Art & Design (MAD), a collaborative project lets students test out entrepreneurship and gain first-hand business experience. Project Founders Drive*, a series of podcasts launched by DC’s Enactus Team, is helping student entrepreneurs realize their dreams and materialize business opportunities. With 18 jobs created for students across six MAD programs, the project has helped young professionals start seven businesses and exposed 780 people to entrepreneurship, not to mention the experience gained by the team. No matter the form of learning, it’s all about gaining valuable experience while completing your studies to be job-ready on graduation day. And DC is here to help you get there. To learn more about hands-on learning at DC, visit www.durhamcollege.ca/experiential-learning. *These projects are funded in part by the Government of Canada’s Innovation Work-Integrated Learning program and Co-operative Education and Work-Integrated Learning (CEWIL) Canada’s Innovation Hub.