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DC Advertising students support DRPS human trafficking awareness campaign

As part of its effort to provide the best student experience, Durham College (DC) fosters strong connections with a variety of local partners, offering students the opportunity to put theory into practice while completing their programs. In the School of Media, Art & Design (MAD), students learn to establish and maintain client relationships by collaborating with community partners, quite often on real-life challenges and opportunities.

One such partnership led to a creative solution that helped address a serious issue – human trafficking. Through a collaboration with the Durham Regional Police Services (DRPS) Human Trafficking Unit (HTU), Advertising and Marketing Communications students worked to raise awareness in the community with the design and creation of an informative hotel card.

“The Advertising and Marketing Communications Program prides itself in providing promotional support to local business, not-for-profit and public service sectors. For this reason, a key component of the curriculum has students working alongside community partners to develop and implement effective communication strategies and programs,” says Dawn Salter, professor and program coordinator, School of Media, Art & Design.

Human trafficking involves the use of force, coercion or fraud to influence the movements of a person, typically through sexual exploitation or forced labour. Unfortunately, a number of human trafficking cases occur in our very own community, with aggressors often operating in local hotels throughout Durham Region.

Victims of human trafficking often have no possessions and are left to spend time alone in hotel rooms. As part of a DRPS initiative, DC students Lauren Crummey and Raphael Maturine leveraged input from over 50 of their peers to develop an ingenious solution that provides vital information to victims but can go undetected by traffickers. Disguised to look like a spa brochure, the students created a hotel card for victims that contains important information for various support services, in a subtle, yet impactful way.

“It was amazing to see how addressing a real-life, close-to-home matter sparked such interest and enthusiasm among the students,” says Dawn. “The opportunity to be part of an important initiative and make a valuable contribution to their community made such an impact. Involvement meant so much more than just getting a good grade.” 

MAD has been fortunate to work with the DRPS human trafficking unit since 2019, and has hosted HTU members and survivors as guest speakers on a number of occasions to raise awareness.

Students Lauren and Raphael shared their experience working on this important initiative in a special interview on our blog.


Durham College Work-Integrated Learning programs receive nearly $500,000 in funding from CEWIL Canada

The Office of Research Services, Innovation and Entrepreneurship (ORSIE) and the Student Affairs office at Durham College (DC) are pleased to announce $492,654 in funding from Co-operative Education and Work-Integrated Learning (CEWIL) Canada to support eligible students enrolled in six of the college’s Work-Integrated Learning (WIL) programs this semester.

CEWIL Canada has a long history of supporting DC and its WIL-related initiatives. The new CEWIL Innovation Hub (iHUB), which is funded in part by the Government of Canada’s Innovative Work-Integrated Learning Initiative (I-WIL), is a program dedicated to developing career-ready students through quality WIL-training. Acting as a centre of expertise for grant-based funding, the CEWIL iHUB launched its first call for proposals in 2021.

DC students from a variety of programs will benefit from this funding, including:

  • Practical Nursing and Personal Support Worker – Through the Financial Support Grant for Frontline Health Care WIL Requirements, frontline health care students at DC with winter semester placements – many of whom were impacted by COVID-19 closures– will be eligible to receive financial support for WIL-related expenses, including pre-placement requirements, transportation, technology and childcare. The goal of this program is to expand access to WIL opportunities, particularly to students in underrepresented populations.
  • Chemical Engineering Technology – Students in their final year of the program will complete a high-impact field placement in chemical engineering technology laboratory enhancement and equipment repair. Students will benefit from access to current, industry-relevant technology, such as chemical process simulation software and hands-on experience developing standard operating procedures (SOPs) for in-house use of these technologies. The experience will enable students to employ practical troubleshooting techniques for equipment repair and calibration contributing to their career-readiness.
  • Video Production and Photography – Students will partner with the K.M. Hunter Charitable Foundation to experience the arts and culture sector while producing communication materials centred around Ontario’s contemporary Indigenous arts community. The funding will allow students to leverage new technology, adapt to COVID-19 limitations and explore new approaches to remote digital film production using 360-degree angle cameras, lighting and sound enhancements.
  • Fitness and Health Promotion – In collaboration with experts from Ontario Tech University, DC students will implement wearable technologies and use sports science techniques to assist in developing unique training programs for elite varsity athletes. This funding will foster opportunities for DC students to leverage the fitness industry’s leading-edge technology, such as the Kinduct training platform, used by over 450 professional and elite sports teams to analyze data from wearable technologies to customize training programs. This experience will familiarize Fitness and Health students with technologies used in their field, bridging the gap as they enter the workplace.

“This funding demonstrates CEWIL Canada’s dedication to the training of future professionals and the value work-integrated learning programs add to the student experience,” says Dr. Elaine Popp, executive vice president, Academic. “After an unprecedented year, this support will benefit many of our students whose academic paths have faced numerous challenges.”

“This investment will have an incredible impact on unique, experiential learning opportunities that ensure our students are better prepared with the skills required for today’s changing workplace,” says Debbie McKee Demczyk, dean, Office of Research Services, Innovation and Entrepreneurship. “We are incredibly grateful for CEWIL Canada’s commitment to student success.”

As part of DC’s commitment to provide unique experiential learning opportunities to students, WIL has been a vital part of DC’s framework and student experience for decades, embedded as a formal component in many programs of study.


DC opens its digital doors to more than 2,700 prospective students at Spring Virtual Open House

On March 27, more than 2,700 prospective students and their families from 124 countries across the globe got a taste of the Durham College (DC) experience during the college’s immersive Virtual Open House event.

Through informative live program information and student support services sessions, visitors had the opportunity to ask questions about DC’s more than 140 market-driven programs and learned about financing their education, living on campus, career outcomes and everything in between.

Guided virtual tours of campus spaces, including learning environments, residence and wellness facilities, allowed visitors to envision themselves at DC. Attendees also had the chance to enter to win a $3,000 tuition credit.

Since last year, DC has welcomed more than 7,800 visitors to virtual student recruitment events and information sessions, providing the opportunity to create the meaningful connections between visitors and DC community members that are a hallmark of the college’s pre-pandemic in-person events.

For more information on applying to DC and upcoming student recruitment events, please visit www.durhamcollege.ca/student-recruitment or reach out to recruitment@durhamcollege.ca.


DC’s Enactus team wins 2021 Central Canada Regional Championship

The Durham College (DC) Enactus team, EnactusDC, recently won its first-ever regional championship at the 2021 Enactus Canada Regional Exposition in the Scotiabank Climate Action Challenge, for Project 3eeHive.

A branded apparel social enterprise, Project 3eeHive is focused on education, empowering consumers, and collectively restoring bee habitats.

“I’m extremely proud of our team’s commitment this year despite the obstacles we faced,” said Heather Brown, student president of EnactusDC, who just finished her third year with the team. “Because of COVID we had to shift to virtual operations in March 2020 and were one of the few student Enactus teams to continue operating during the pandemic. However, the culture we’ve built has kept us going. This win reinforces our commitment to the competition, as well as social enterprise, and demonstrates our drive to make sustainable change.”

The team now moves on to the Enactus National Exposition, where 66 teams from colleges and universities across Canada will compete.

“Being a member of the DC Enactus team has been an incredible opportunity for me to put everything I’ve learned from my program to the test,” said Cameron Billingham, a second-year Photography student. “It’s been a fantastic way for me to meet and work with a great group of people and I’m excited for the next stage of the competition.”

Enactus is an international non-profit dedicated to creating social change through entrepreneurship. DC’s chapter launched in 2016 through FastStart DC and is comprised of student leaders looking to make positive social impacts in the community.

For more information on how to get involved with EnactusDC, visit www.enactusdc.com.


DC helps more than 2,000 students gear up to get hired at its Virtual Career Fair

More than 2,000 Durham College (DC) students and alumni spent the first two weeks of March working to achieve their goals and launch their careers during the college’s virtual Gear Up to Get Hired at Home events and Career Fair.

From March 1 to 11, DC’s Career Development office organized numerous career-focused webinars and virtual events, which included valuable advice on how to create a personal pitch, resumé writing techniques, virtual interview tactics, and more, preparing them for DC’s largest Virtual Career Fair to date on March 11.

This year, the annual Virtual Career Fair brought in 142 potential employers for students and alumni to meet, including those currently hiring for part-time, summer and seasonal work. Over 2,700 job seekers accessed the event platform in the month leading up to the fair to visit virtual booths and research the participating employers.  Organizations involved represented a mix of economic sectors, including business, community services, manufacturing, skilled trades, information technology, engineering, health care, hospitality and justice.

In previous years, in order to participate, companies were required to be hiring within six months of the fair. Due to COVID-19, the event was open to companies not in a position to hire at the moment, but looking to build brand awareness among DC students, so they could begin to map out how they would like their career to look down the road.

DC’s Career Development office provides students and alumni with year-round support for all things career-related, including support for career exploration, resumé building and cover letter writing, interviewing skills and job search strategies. To learn more, please visit www.durhamcollege.ca/careerdevelopment.


Music Business Management students receive 2021 SHINE! Music Bursary

The School of Media, Art & Design at Durham College (DC) is pleased to announce three Music Business Management students – one graduate and two currently enrolled – are recipients of the 2021 SHINE! Music Bursary. Second-year students Whitney Otis and Kailey Haskell along with Alexa Michaels, who graduated from the program in 2017, received the awards at the 2021 SHINE! Concert on March 7.

Established in 2010, the SHINE! Music Bursary is an external financial assistance award aimed at supporting young musicians looking to further their study of traditional or folk music. Originally named the Jim Fay Music Bursary, the award has evolved over time in memory of four influential contributors to the Greater Toronto Area’s music scene, including:

  • Jim Fay – Irish-born guitar and mandolin player
  • James Gray – musician and long-time keyboard player for Blue Rodeo
  • Doug Queen – musician, singer and song-writer, and member of the bluegrass band Jughead (“Hockey Song”)
  • Bruce Adamson – lead guitarist of Staggered Crossing

Funding for the bursary is raised through the annual SHINE! Concert as well as generous donations from individuals and groups. Now in it’s 12th year, the concert was streamed virtually due to COVID-19. DC’s Alexa and Whitney were two of four recipients to join this year’s lineup and performed on the virtual stage.

“Quite often, financial barriers can cause disruptions in the continued practice or study of music,” explains Marni Thornton, professor, School of Media, Art & Design. “Financial assistance awards, such as the SHINE! Music Bursary, can make all the difference for those hoping to forge a future in music.”

Youth between the ages of 16 to 24 can apply to the bursary each year, with award amounts ranging between $500 and $2,000, to support opportunities for aspiring musicians to advance their careers, such as album releases and additional coaching.

“We are thrilled that the college and SHINE! found each other,” says Ian Newall, chair, SHINE! Music Bursary. “Durham College has an innovative program that produces keen musicians and I look forward to meeting new applicants in the future.”

To watch the 2021 SHINE! Concert, click here.


DC supporting Ontario’s workforce in acquiring in-demand skills with new micro-credential

Durham College (DC) is pleased to announce its latest micro-credential, Ultrasonic Testing Level II. Designed to meet the demands of industry by quickly teaching highly sought-after skills, DC is the only college in Ontario to offer this level of qualifying certification for the in-demand field of Non-Destructive Evaluation (NDE).

Offered through the college’s School of Science & Engineering Technology (SET), the development of Ultrasonic Testing Level II micro-credential is an example of the strong link that exists between post-secondary institutions and industry.

“Initially we were approached by Ontario Power Generation (OPG) to offer the ultrasonic testing training to its employees,” said Michelle Hutt, executive dean, SET. “As we anticipate the demand for qualified NDE inspectors will continue to grow based on expected retirements and, thanks to the college’s expert faculty and specialized laboratory testing equipment, we are well-positioned to teach these skills.”

“DC’s School of Science & Engineering Technology offers high-calibre training in an industrial setting, led by facilitators who ensure the training meets the type of performance excellence demanded by our industry,” said Scott Burns, Vice President, Emergency Services and Training, OPG. “The long-standing educational partnership between OPG and DC continues to add value to our training programs as well as to the skill development of our employees.”

After agreeing to train OPG’s employees, DC made the decision to offer the Ultrasonic Testing Level II micro-credential more broadly.

“It is important to teach students methods that industry demands they know,” said Hutt. “Within the NDE field, employers will not consider job applicants without non-destructive testing (NDT) certification from the Canadian General Standards Board. When compared to other non-destructive testing (NDT) methods, ultrasonic testing is the most cost-effective, however, it is a skill that requires a specialized learning environment.”

Designed to help those studying to be an NDE professional, as well as those currently working in the industry quickly develop their skills, successful completion of the micro-credential will mean that they meet the educational requirements to be eligible to write the Level II Ultrasonic Testing (UT) certification exam.

Developed following a rigorous quality assurance process, the micro-credential requires students to complete case studies and hands-on laboratory applications to build their competencies, confidence and employability. 


Durham College awarded two Mitacs Accelerate grants to support student research internships

Durham College’s (DC) Office of Research Services, Innovation and Entrepreneurship (ORSIE) is pleased to announce it has been awarded two Mitacs Accelerate grants totalling $120,000, in support of two new applied research projects creating eight internships for DC students.

Mitacs is a not-for-profit organization that fosters growth and innovation in Canada by solving challenges with research solutions from academic institutions. It is funded by the Government of Canada with support from provincial governments across the country.

Among the first colleges in Ontario to access the program, the grants are allowing DC to build research partnerships while also giving students meaningful experiential learning opportunities to participate in research as paid interns. Not only does this help partner organizations that need their expertise, it contributes to the training of highly qualified research personnel by providing work-integrated opportunities at DC that support students’ career readiness.

“Hands-on and real-world experience is a crucial part of a world-class post-secondary education. That’s why our Government is proud to support our colleges and universities through Mitacs to create more work-integrated learning opportunities for Ontario students,” said Ross Romano, Minister of Colleges and Universities. “By helping our students get new experiences in their field of study, Durham College and Mitacs are giving their students access to the skills they need to find a good job and succeed in the career of their choice.”

“The Mitacs Accelerate program is a unique funding model that brings researchers, students and businesses together to solve real-world challenges,” said Debbie McKee Demczyk, dean, ORSIE. “We are very excited to see the two research projects come to fruition and are grateful to be receiving support from our partner companies and Mitacs itself.”

Project One: Developing a unique inventory optimization model

Recognizing that manufacturing is a $174 billion industry in Canada, representing over 10 per cent of the total GDP and 68 per cent of merchandise exports, efficient inventory management plays a vital role in a business’s profitability.

Thanks to Mitacs funding, two DC students from the college’s Supply Chain and Operations Management – Business Administration (SOM) program have created an inventory optimization model that predicts factors affecting stock, as part of an internship with electronics manufacturer Creation Technologies LP.

Students worked under the supervision of Creation Technologies’ Supply Chain Leader Maura Kirby, who also sits on the SOM Program Advisory Committee at DC, and faculty researcher Brent Clemens, to create a system that can determine the optimal levels of supply needed to support customer needs, while meeting the company’s business targets. By creating significant cost-savings and improving customer satisfaction, the outcome of this project will support the company’s continued growth and the creation of high-quality jobs for Canadians.

During their internship, DC’s students applied the skills, theories, and concepts learned in their program in a workplace setting, while building their professional networks, and acquiring hands-on experience. Since the project ended in January, both students were hired by Creation Technologies.

“I am very pleased to be able to participate with Durham College and Mitacs on this project,” shared Kirby. “The students were able to apply their supply chain knowledge to help identify inventory factors contributing to the creation of the optimization model. Overall, this project has been a great success and has been a valuable learning experience for myself and the students.” 

Project Two: Improving recruitment for employers and job seekers

In today’s highly competitive job market, the recruitment industry often struggles with information overload and the ability to effectively match potential candidates with available positions.

To help address this problem, DC faculty researcher Uzair Ahmad and six interns from DC’s Artificial Intelligence Analysis, Design and Implementation and Data Analytics for Business Decision Making graduate certificate programs will work with Reachout Inc., a start-up company that is building a diversified early career community for post-secondary students and an end-to-end virtual recruiting platform for employers, to develop a two-way hybrid recommendation system to support both employers and job seekers. The system will learn relevant content and rank candidates based on the job description. This will result in stronger candidate recommendations for employers while also promoting appropriate job opportunities to candidates.

It will also ensure increased accuracy and explainable recommendations—an innovation that will provide Reachout with a competitive advantage.

The students involved in this research will be integrated into Reachout’s technical team, with direct supervision provided by Thomas Liu, it’s CEO, and will benefit from the ability to leverage the skills and knowledge they’ve acquired in the classroom and apply them to solve businesses challenges in a real-world setting.

“Mitacs is delighted to support these exciting projects at Durham College. By enabling the creation of valuable academic-industry partnerships that provide students with meaningful, paid, experiential-learning opportunities, Mitacs is proud to contribute to innovation in Ontario. These internships are helping partner organizations access Durham’s rich expertise in AI and systems optimization, while contributing to the career development of college students,” said, John Hepburn, CEO and Scientific Director at Mitacs.


DC launches immersive virtual tour for prospective students to explore Oshawa and Whitby campuses

From simulation labs and skilled trades shops, to culinary kitchens, media studios and more, the state-of-the-art facilities and learning spaces at Durham College (DC) facilitate hands-on learning that enables students to develop career-ready skills for an ever-changing job market.

As prospective students begin to make their decisions about their post-secondary programs for the next academic year, DC has made exploring its campuses easier and safer for applicants by leveraging leading-edge technology to develop a new immersive virtual tour.

With 56 spaces to visit at the Oshawa and Whitby campus, prospective students, parents, and the public can experience what it’s like to be on campus and learn more about the innovative facilities available to students at DC.

At the Oshawa campus, users have access to behind-the-scenes at the massage room in the Durham College Spa, Global Classroom and Nursing Lab and can explore the industrial-grade equipment available in the flexible, fully automated Integrated Manufacturing Centre. While at the Whitby campus, those interested in hospitality and horticulture, skilled trades and more can learn more about the innovative service areas, labs, shops and training facilities that will help them develop career-ready skills through transformative education.

Take a virtual trip to DC and visit our campuses or learn more about the programs and services available at DC by attending our Virtual Open House on Saturday, March 27 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.


DC and OPG renew successful longstanding partnership

Durham College (DC) is pleased to announce Ontario Power Generation’s (OPG) continued championing of skilled trades development and training thanks to a $500,000 donation provided through OPG’s Centre for Canadian Nuclear Sustainability (CCNS). The funds are supporting the ongoing construction of DC’s Whitby Campus Expansion project.

“We are excited to continue our longstanding relationship with OPG,” said Don Lovisa, President, Durham College. “As a key player in the skilled trades industry, they truly understand the importance of training the next generation of tradespeople. In choosing to direct funds to the college’s latest capital project, which will see an additional 750 seats added at the Whitby campus, they are helping DC continue our tradition of educational excellence, while also ensuring there is a pipeline of qualified graduates to support the success of the nuclear industry as a whole and help OPG achieve their organizational goals.”

OPG recently opened the CCNS, a world-class facility that will attract skilled jobs, innovative businesses, and economic development to the Durham Region. Whether working on collaborative research or planning for the decommissioning of the Pickering Nuclear Generating Station, one the CCNS goals is to create jobs to benefit Ontario’s economy, including a variety of skilled trades roles. As such, supporting DC’s efforts to increase its educational capabilities in those related fields, through capital development, is a natural fit.

“OPG and the CCNS, is extremely proud to support Durham College’s latest capital project,” said Carla Carmichael, Vice President, Nuclear Decommissioning Strategies. “Investing in this state-of-the-art facility, designed for hands-on learning, is just the latest milestone in our funding partnership with the college.”

In addition to the latest $500,000 contribution, the 15-year partnership with DC has resulted in more than $5.5 million to support numerous initiatives and programs throughout the college. These include the development of DC’s first-ever Boiler and X-ray labs, funding towards specialized pre-apprenticeship programs, purchasing of specialized equipment and instruments for numerous other technology labs, sponsoring the Young Women in Science Technology and Trades Conference, establishing paid internship and co-op programs at OPG, and funding student scholarships and bursaries.

In return, the college has been able to support OPG through training for its own employees, as they seek to find innovative solutions for the nuclear industry.

“For more then 15 years, DC has played a key role in meeting OPG’s needs for well-educated and enthusiastic people to join our company or work on our capital projects, such as the Darlington Station Nuclear Refurbishment Project,” said Carmichael. “We believe this investment is beneficial for both entities as it creates opportunities for students, who as graduates will help support the CCNS’ mission and sustain a skilled workforce needed for the industry’s future projects.”