A special group of Durham College (DC) supporters were honoured at the Centre for Food on May 2 when the college paid tribute to the employers who take part in its field placement and practicum programs.
Each year more than 5,000 students are given the opportunity to put their classroom experience to practical use in workplaces throughout Durham Region and the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). More than 600 businesses, non-profit organizations and government agencies serve as hosts for DC students in sectors including business, health, justice, science and technology.
When addressing attendees, Dr. Elaine Popp, vice-president, Academic, DC shared that field placements are a two-way street. They give students the opportunity to gain self-confidence and practical knowledge, while providing employers with a chance to share their knowledge with potential new members of their workforce.
“It is our sincere hope that you enjoy a sense of satisfaction and pride in knowing that you are helping to provide our students with the skills and expertise they need to take on an active role in your industries,” said Dr. Popp. “It’s a classic win-win situation and all of us at DC are keen to see it continue to grow and expand in the years ahead.”
That sentiment was echoed by Dr. Judeline Innocent, executive dean of the DC School of Health & Community Services, who shared that employers have told her they enjoying working with DC students because they arrive well-prepared and ready to ask questions.
“That inquisitive nature is important to the health-care sector,” said Innocent. “Throughout my career, I’ve seen first-hand how someone with fresh eyes and a curious attitude can encourage new ideas and ways of thinking. Sometimes, inspiration comes from sources where we least expect it.”
A highlight of the evening were the remarks delivered by both DC students and graduates who spoke about the importance of building trust and support with their co-workers during their placements.
Joshua Cranney, a graduate of the Paralegal program, spoke about the value of his placement and the self-confidence he gained while working in the real world.
Sarah Harrison-Edge, who is in her final semester of the Communicative Disorders Assistant program, felt both welcomed and appreciated during her field placements.
“It was like I was already a part of the team because everyone valued my ideas, appreciated my input and were thankful for my help,” said Harrison-Edge. “I plan to and was encouraged to keep in touch with everyone I met at both agencies.”
The event also highlighted some of the organizations that have been involved as employer hosts for several decades, such as the Ontario Shores Centre for Mental Health Sciences and Distress Centre Durham. Stephanie Ball, executive dean of the School of Justice & Emergency Services, summed up the impact of all of the college’s employer hosts, both past and present.
“Quite simply, when it comes to producing graduates who are smart, savvy and job-ready, we couldn’t do it without you,” she said.
For more information on being an employer host at Durham College, contact the field placement/practicum coordinator at the Durham College academic school which offers programs in your organization’s area of expertise.