DC’s PD Day is a success as employees network and learn

Durham College (DC) employees enjoyed their Professional Development (PD) Day with sunny skies and a positive tone.

The role of PD Day is to remind college employees how their roles are essential to igniting the passion and imagination of DC students to help them achieve their goals. It’s also a day for employees to reconnect with each other and recharge through exposure to new ideas and skills.

The day coincided with National Aboriginal Day which was celebrated with a smudging ceremony performed outside the Campus Recreation and Wellness Centre (CRWC) by representatives from the Aboriginal Student Centre. Employees then gathered in the CRWC gyms where Don Lovisa, DC’s president, welcomed participants to the event and introduced Elder Dr. Shirley Williams, a member of the college’s Aboriginal community. Lovisa acknowledged DC’s presence in the traditional territories of the Mississaugas of Scugog Island First Nations which was followed by Elder Shirley’s blessing for the event.

Lovisa touched on DC’s 50th anniversary theme, ‘The Start of Something Amazing’ and the PD Day theme of You Matter, emphasizing that DC employees are amazing and play a key role in providing excellent educational experiences for DC students.

Keynote speaker and ‘happiness expert,’ Neil Pasricha followed the president’s welcome, giving an inspirational and funny talk from his perspective on finding happiness at home and at work. Pasricha, who is the bestselling author of The Book of Awesome and The Happiness Equation, also reflected on his childhood in Oshawa throughout his presentation.

For the remainder of the day, employees took part in breakout sessions where they discussed current best practices in education with experts from DC, and also learned about using social media, incorporating helpful work practices, eating healthy and creating an appropriate work-life balance. An Aboriginal reconciliation workshop was also provided.

The event’s theme, the importance of playing your role, was present on social media with participants encouraged to tweet about their experiences with the hashtag #youmatter. Highlights, photos and videos of the day can be viewed on Twitter.

With more than 770 full-time employees and approximately 1,400 part-time employees, DC is one of the region’s largest employers and provides more than $800 million in positive economic impact annually. Events like PD Day are a great opportunity for DC employees to learn, network and appreciate their peers.

DC says thanks to its placement and practicum hosts

Representatives from businesses, government institutions and non-profit organizations across Durham Region and the Greater Toronto Area gathered at the W. Galen Weston Centre for Food on April 3 for Durham College’s (DC) annual Placement Host Appreciation Evening.

Organized by students in DC’s Event Management (graduate certificate) program, the event was held to recognize the invaluable contribution placement and practicum hosts make to experiential learning when they open their doors to DC students. In fact, more than 600 organizations serve as hosts to more than 5,000 students each year.

Guests heard from Elizabeth Corner, director, Medical and Academic Affairs at Lakeridge Health, and Bob Verwey owner, Owasco Automotive Group, about their experiences hosting DC students.

Jennifer Jones, a third-year student enrolled in the college’s Human Resources – Business Administration program also spoke about her placement at the Durham Children’s Aid Society.

DC offers robust suite of services to help organizations take their business to the next level

If you think Durham College (DC) is just for students – think again! From seasoned professionals with decades of experience to newer offerings based on the latest industry trends, DC Solutions for Business brings together experts from across the college to offer a range of results-driven services to help businesses reach their goals.

DC Solutions for Business is a network of service area professionals who work seamlessly with clients to provide innovative support, customized solutions, expertise and training that align with the specific needs of each individual client. This can include, but is not limited to, talent acquisition, skills training and upgrading, research and development, funding procurement, hosting student placements and charitable giving.

“Working with DC Solutions for Business offers business owners and employers an excellent opportunity to assess their operations and talent pool to ensure company resources align with an overall vision or goal,” said Tara Koski, director, Career Development and Co-operative Education, DC. “Opportunities for growth are available for any organization willing to explore, and our experts can provide customized, innovative solutions to identify and address challenges.”

DC Solutions for Business offers a range of services from which organizations can choose, either singularly or in a combination that will best suit their needs, provided by the following service areas:

  • Career Development and Co-operative Education.
  • Community Employment Services.
  • Corporate Training Services.
  • Event and catering services.
  • Office of Development and Alumni Affairs.
  • Office of Research Services, Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

“No matter their size, stage or specialization, businesses need direct access to trusted advisors and service providers,” said Koski. “They also need the support of an adaptive team that can provide the expertise and training needed to emerge at the forefront of today’s rapidly changing market.”

From research and development services and prototyping new technologies to customized training and building an employee dream team, DC Solutions for Business can meet business owners and employers where they are and help them evolve to where they want to be tomorrow.

To learn more, please visit www.durhamcollege.ca/solutions.

DC Career Week events connect students and employers

As part of its commitment to preparing students for the workforce and connecting them with employers, Durham College (DC) held its annual Career Week on campus from February 6 to 10. Co-ordinated by DC’s Career Development office, this year’s series of events provided students with opportunities to meet potential employers, network with industry experts, access helpful resources, learn from the real-world experiences of successful DC alumni and much more.

The week’s activities included:

  • Icebreaker Night, co-hosted by FastStart DC, the college’s entrepreneurial training partnership.
  • Alumni in the Pit, which saw two DC grads return to campus to share their success stories and answer questions about life after graduation.
  • The Tradesmart Career Fair where skilled trades students and alumni had the opportunity to meet with over 20 employers seeking highly qualified, enthusiastic candidates with specific trade and technical skills for full-time, part-time, summer and contract employment opportunities.
  • Campus Job Fair, which this year put its focus on the art of networking — having meaningful career conversations with recruiters – while connecting students and alumni with over 70 employees, all of whom are planning to hire within the next six months.
  • Job Fair Follow-up Friday, aimed at helping students stay on the track to employment by offering employer follow-up strategies, tips on how to target resumés and cover letters, and thoughts on thank-you letters.

New for 2017 was the connection between Career Week and DC’s new backpack2Briefcase program (b2B). Students and alumni who attended select b2B events during Career Week earned points towards DC’s Co-curricular Recognition program and had the chance to win $100-door prizes. b2B events will continue throughout the academic year.

The Career Development office offers coaches who assist, guide and encourage DC students and graduates to learn about their chosen career path; discover what employers are looking for in new recruits; translate their academic experiences into resumes and professional letters; and prepare for success at the interview and on the job. In addition, the Career Development office hosts the DC Hired site, which allows students to view job postings and employer links, sign up for events, and book coaching appointments.

For more information, please visit the Career Development website.

DC grads wow audience with their success stories during Alumni in the Pit

On February 7, Durham College (DC) alumni captivated their audience with stories of hover engines and the Canadian Football League (CFL) during the college’s Alumni in the Pit event.

The event, which can be viewed here, saw John Hotts, associate creative director at OneMethod design shop, and Brent Lessard, technical co-ordinator at International Leak Detection (ILD) and co-founder of rLoop, return to campus to share their experiences following graduation. The DC grads also answered questions and provided guidance to students about to embark on their own career paths.

“When you love what you do, it doesn’t feel like work,” said Lessard, who graduated from DC’s Mechanical Engineering Technology program in 2014.

“Failure is okay,” added Hotts, a 2008 graduate of DC’s Advertising and Marketing Communications program. “You will make mistakes, but it’s important to learn from them.”

Although Lessard had already completed some post-secondary education before he began his DC journey, he said it was the applied learning experiences offered at the college that made a difference and kept him engaged in innovation and technology.

It was that engagement that also helped prepare Lessard for his biggest opportunity. When SpaceX, a company that manufactures and launches rockets and spacecraft, announced a Hyperloop pod competition, Lessard put his DC training to work and co-founded rLoop, a team of more than 140 people worldwide, to develop a prototype — one that ultimately won the competition’s non-student category.

“It’s like a plane without wings,” said Lessard of the travel pod. “It’s propelled by active magnetic levitation or ‘hover engines’, and moves through a tube at hyper speed.” He added that if implemented in Canada, the pod could transport people from Toronto to Montreal in 22 minutes. “You could live in Montreal, work in Toronto and go to Ottawa for dinner.”

Now recognized as one of Canada’s top creatives under 30 years old, Hotts also had past experience in his field before attending DC. He shared with students that it was the field placement opportunity through his advertising program that helped him break into the industry.

“You have to plan and put together a resumé and a portfolio you are proud of,” said Hotts of the experience. He added that one of his professors helped him and a classmate secure the interviews for their placements – a connection he remembers and is grateful for to this day.

It was at this placement that Hotts learned two career rules he still carries with him to any job: first, check your ego at the door, and second, ask all the dumb questions. Following these two rules combined with his unbridled creativity and talent have landed Hotts projects with big-name brands such as Sweet Jesus, Delissio, World Wildlife Fund, Kit Kat Canada and Coors Light. However, it’s his redesign of the CFL’s logo that stands out among the rest. “It has longevity and has been engrained into Canadian culture,” said Hotts fondly.

Alumni in the Pit is part of DC’s backpack2Briefcase program, a series of events designed to help students and recent alumni make a smooth transition from college to the workplace.

Events and workshops are held throughout the year to offer opportunities for both personal and professional development that will enhance the skills and training students learn in the classroom.