Two work-integrated learning projects help Durham College students lead the way

Last year, Durham College (DC) received funding from Co-operative Education and Work-Integrated Learning (CEWIL) Canada and its Innovation Hub (iHub) for two unique work-integrated learning (WIL) projects. Funded in part by the Government of Canada’s Innovative Work-Integrated Learning Initiative (I-WIL), iHub is a program dedicated to developing career-ready students through quality WIL experiences.

The first project, led by Dr. Michael Williams-Bell, a professor in the School of Health & Community Services, provided four Fitness and Health Promotion students the opportunity to implement a unique assessment and training program for Ontario Tech University’s Varsity athletes to monitor their training, injury risk and recovery.

The DC students administered weekly and monthly fitness assessments that were approved by supervisors, team coaches, and the head strength and conditioning coach at Ontario Tech University and assisted with exercise prescription delivery. This provided a unique opportunity for DC students to learn from established professionals while interacting with the student-athletes to build relationships around trust and outcome goals. The project culminated in a final guest speaker event in November 2021 with professional athletes and strength and conditioning coaches sharing their experiences and answering questions.

In the second iHub project, co-led by Dr. Williams-Bell and Danielle Harder, a professor in the School of Media, Art & Design, three students from the Journalism – Mass Media program and two students from the Fitness and Health Promotion program collaborated to create six episodes of a new podcast called Research Remix.

The episodes provided a behind-the-scenes look at research projects underway at DC while also following a multi-year research project with the City of Oshawa Fire Services to give listeners a glimpse into the lifespan and impact of an applied research project. At the end of the project, students were invited to three intimate speaker series events. The first in December featured Sandra Appiah and Imman Adan from the Dishes and Dimes podcast, where they learned more about podcasting as a career and a way to support their own personal and professional brand. In February, Jordan Heath-Rawlings of The Big Story podcast spoke, while the March 16 event featured two popular climate change podcasters – Laura Lynch of CBC’s What on Earth and Shaghayegh Tajvidi of the National Observer’s Race Against Climate Change.

These two projects are significant examples of how WIL helps students develop hands-on skills in a supportive and educational environment. As part of DC’s commitment to providing unique experiential learning opportunities, WIL has been a vital part of DC’s framework for decades, embedded as a formal component in many of the college’s programs of study.