Ontario universities providing real-life work experience through placements, co-ops supported in COU’s new Bringing Life to Learning report

“In an increasingly competitive job market, experiential learning makes students workplace-ready, setting them up for career success.”

March 26, 2014 – Council of Ontario Universities

Ontario’s universities are equipping the next generation of leaders with the skills they need for career success by providing students with real-life work experience through placements, co-ops and internships across all disciplines.

Bringing Life to Learning at Ontario Universities, a report released today by the Council of Ontario Universities (COU), says applied learning is one of the fastest growing areas for universities.

We know graduates with experience are more likely to find careers that interest them and secure full-time jobs, says Max Blouw, COU Chair and President of Wilfrid Laurier University. Ontario universities are helping students to put the skills they learn at university to practical use in the workplace and community through a wide range of experiential learning opportunities outside the classroom.

Key findings:

  • Statistics Canada’s most recent National Graduates Survey shows graduates with a bachelor degree and co-op experience earn more than their peers.They also have higher full-time employment rates and are more likely to pay off their debt within two years.
  • Today, work-integrated learning programs at Ontario universities span all disciplines, from environmental science to fine arts, engineering and health sciences.
    In an increasingly competitive job market, experiential learning makes students workplace-ready, setting them up for career success.
  • Many thousands of students have found full-time work in their fields of study as a result of experiential learning opportunities at universities.
  • Employers often require two-to-five years of work experience. Applied learning programs can help new grads meet that requirement.

Experiential learning benefits employers as well as students, says Bonnie M. Patterson, COU’s President and CEO. Employers get to test new talent and are brought new ideas and fresh perspectives that can lead to significant improvements at their businesses or organizations. Students gain hands-on experience and discover what types of careers and organizations would be a good fit for them.

Thousands of students have found full-time work in their fields of study as a result of experiential learning opportunities at university.

Congratulations to COU on the release of this report, which discusses the importance of applied learning programs that combine traditional teaching methods with hands-on activities that help students learn in new ways, says the Hon. Brad Duguid, Ontario’s Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities. Our government recognizes that experiential learning courses help our students develop the valuable practical skills that many employers are seeking for our 21st century global economy.

Read the full “Bringing Life to Learning” report here.
View COU’s “Bringing Life to Learning” infographic here.
View the “Bringing Life to Learning” article on the COU website here.

About the Laurier Full-time with Co-op MBA program
At Laurier we offer Canada’s largest business degree co-op program. The co-op option provides the opportunity to gain valuable real-life paid work experience while earning your MBA. Candidates can explore job opportunities in various industries and establish great connections with potential employers, while simultaneously financing your MBA with the two paid work terms that occur in the 20 months program. Candidates do not need work experience or a business background to apply for Laurier’s Full-time with Co-op MBA program.

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