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Career Quest gives UofGH students inside look at working world

A sign reading 'ON AIR'

University of Guelph-Humber students recently had the opportunity to explore the workplaces of some of Toronto’s top employers during the inaugural Career Quest.

Organized by Career Services, the weeklong event allowed UofGH students to get a peek behind the scenes at major organizations including TD Trading, Rogers/680 News and the TIFF Bell Lightbox.

“When a student learns about their chosen career path it lays the foundation for developing their skill set and experience,” said UofGH career coordinator Melissa Patrizi, who co-organized the events.

“To experience an organization from an inside glance, learning about the company’s history and growth, and experiencing their corporate culture, gives students the ability to identify the unique attributes they bring to the table for that specific company or the industry as a whole.

“Career Quest also helps our partners’ long-term recruitment strategies by identifying students who could one day become interns or entry-level hires.”

Peering inside a variety of top businesses

The Career Quest tours covered a diverse range of companies and industries for students of all programs and areas of interest.

Students touring Rogers/680 News

At the William Osler Health System/Etobicoke General Hospital, students toured the Pediatrics department – including the “cuddle program” for mothers with post-partum depression, as well as the floor where day surgery, child life and respite care take place – while a tour of ErinOak Kids offered visits to the facility’s therapy rooms, head offices, the toy resource centre, the “snuggle nook” and the audiology testing centre.

At a Rogers Media/680 News tour led by 680 Newsroom Coordinator Anne Lavrih, students visited broadcast suites for 98.1 CHFI, KISS 92.5 and the 680 Newsroom while getting the chance to have impromptu conversations with on-air talent including Michelle Butterly and JAX. At the TIFF Bell Lightbox, students were treated to a history of the film festival while visiting the master control room, film reference library, and the marketing department, where staff shared insight into their roles and operations. Similarly, students who toured TD Trading gained an understanding of the different roles within TD Securities, as well as the importance of networking and persistence in the application process.

Students also enjoyed tours of Nova’s Ark – which uses animals including camels, horses, mountain cats, kangaroos and guinea pigs as therapeutic tools for children and young adults who are dealing with physical and mental exceptionalities – and the newly opened global headquarters of Spin Master Toys, where Jeff Hurst, VP of Sales and Marketing Canada, led a tour that included illuminating presentations and a Q-&-A session with the company’s VP of Treasury and Finance and Director of Marketing.

Students touring Spin Master Toys

Similar to the way UofGH students’ field placements offer students not only significant experience but also invaluable insight into where they might fit within their industry of interest, Career Quest is intended to help students gain a hands-on understanding of the reality of the working world.

“Opportunities like this help students expand their understanding of potential career paths, develop their professionalism and understanding of different workspaces, and visualize themselves in a particular field or organization,” Patrizi said.

“We can only teach so much in the classroom, and make so many connections on campus. Taking professional development off campus offers a unique opportunity for students to be inspired toward a particular path and grow professionally as a result.”

The experience also provides a valuable chance to forge new contacts.

“Tours give students the added bonus of networking, often with senior staff who share their own experiences,” said Susan Thomas, manager of career and placement services.

“This insider information is invaluable to our students’ career decision-making.”

A mutually beneficial experience

Students witnessing a boardroom presentation at Spin Master Toys

For the organizations who generously opened their doors, the initiative was an opportunity both to give back and to give UofGH students an understanding of what makes their companies unique.

“It was a pleasure for us to host UofGH students at Spin Master and share our history, values and culture,” Hurst said.

“UofGH students are the workforce of the future and we were excited to give them some information on what a role in the toy and entertainment industry would be like.”

Certainly, the students who attended were likewise appreciative of the opportunity.

“My personal experience with the Career Quest tours was fantastic,” said Crystal Parris, a student in the Family & Community Social Services program who said she appreciated the chance to ask questions about job-interview stress.

“Being able to visit potential locations and others that were not on my radar was invigorating. Having the opportunity to visit the physical site and gain a broader idea of the areas that we, as students, would be able to help and learn was uplifting.”

An over-the-shoulder shot of a Rogers broadcaster at workAnne Lavrih of 680 News leads a tourA phone with the 680 News logo on itA look inside 680 News' editing suiteStudents watch on-air talent work with a producerStudents witness recording at CHFIStudents look at the on-air talent's headshotsA 680 News staffer working on her computerStudents gather at the Spin Master officeUofGH students pose for a group photo at Spin Master ToysA robot at Spin Master ToysAn employee at work at Spin Master Toys