Program offers students a day in the life of their dream careers
April 7, 2022
King’s offers students Job Shadow placements, one-day opportunities for students to observe a professional in a career role they are interested in pursuing. The program gives students an opportunity to learn how to take the skills they have learned at King’s and combine them with experiences from the program.
During the 2021-2022 academic year, 48 students registered in the Job Shadow program. Coming with a variety of career aspirations, including law, finance, social work, community services, child and youth work, teaching, marketing, and administration, the students took part in job shadowing at 20 employer partners from London, as well as several in Toronto.
“We are aiming to be able to connect students with a wide variety of jobs across many industries in London, including jobs in the non-profit, tech, business, financial and social services sectors,” says Jenny Richmond-Bravo, King’s Promise Developer/Experiential Learning Coordinator.
Richmond-Bravo explains that “the one-day shadowing experience is easy to manage in terms of the time commitment involved, reducing any feelings of being overwhelmed with needing to balance this program alongside other studies and commitments.”
Students improve their self-confidence while interacting in a professional environment, a useful attribute in any context, but particularly valuable when applying and interviewing for jobs. They gain greater awareness of workplace norms, expectations and daily tasks within their field of interest, which will help in career decision making. They have opportunities to practice effective, professional relationship management skills and a chance to develop new contacts and professional networks within London and surrounding communities.
Vanessa Highfield, third year double major Psychology and Disability Studies, says job shadowing with ATN Access Inc. “solidified that working in the field of Disability Studies is something that I want to do in the future.” She was able to talk to many of the staff at ATN to learn what each does in their roles.
Roshawnah Forde, fourth year Bachelor of Social Work student, says she job shadowed with Guidance Counsellor Hillary Benning at Blyth Academy. She wants to transition into a school environment to do interpersonal work as a guidance counsellor.
Forde learned the roles and responsibilities of a guidance counsellor and the impact she could make for children and youth. She now has a better idea of what she wants her future career to look like, “and the impact I could make as a trusted adult in this position for children and youth.”
“I now have a better idea of what I want my future career to look like,” says Forde.
There have been many new relationships built with local employers across multiple industries to provide students with options. “The students can make important professional connections in the community which will be invaluable when it is time for them to find work, either during the summer or after graduation,” says Richmond-Bravo.
Talking to ATN’s Executive Director since her job shadow has allowed Highfield to make a real connection. “She has since given me plenty of advice on how to go about building up my resume in the right direction to get into the grad school of my choosing and get experience in the field,” she says.
Forde was able to strengthen her mentorship base and network with other professionals and educators in the field.
King’s itself can greatly benefit from work-integrated learning initiatives, says Richmond-Bravo. King’s offers a wide range of experiential learning options across the liberal arts and humanities that previously were not available.
“The Job Shadow program will help King’s to position itself as a liberal arts university with a dedication to helping students translate their skills and experience to employers, no matter what they are majoring in,” says Richmond-Bravo.
Both Highfield and Forde would encourage other students to be part of the Job Shadow program.
“It was an incredible learning opportunity, and it has only benefitted me. It was a fantastic chance to see if what I was studying would give me opportunities to be in a career I would genuinely enjoy,” says Highfield.
Forde says the program was “a great way for students to experience a day in the life of their dream careers and build connections with people in the field already doing what they want to do.”