Leaders’ Forum: University and Community Dialogue: Collaborating for Mutual Success
March 4, 2010, Views and Ideas from the Small Group Dialogues
5. What can Western and the city and region do, collaboratively, to retain more graduates to work and live in our community after they complete their studies? If you graduated in London, what kept you here?
Face the Challenges in Retaining Graduates
- Family Trumps Opportunity” – a challenge in keeping students in London (e.g. GTA students choose to head home to be with their family).
- There is a student perception that there are no job opportunities in London – local students don’t get enough information on Western: Celebrate our successes: who is from Western; where are they now?
Provide/Create More Employment Opportunities
- Provide more information about what recent graduates do in London.
- Create jobs that are attractive to students: students need to see jobs “at the other end”
- Help them understand how a Western education leads to employment.
- Offer more opportunities for students to engage in the community e.g. internships, work terms, offer certificate for volunteering (like the 40 hours of community service high school students are required to complete).
- Provide job shadowing opportunities in the community [NOTE: Social Science Career Services has a Job Shadowing program. Recently, more than 17 companies participated, providing 30 Western students the opportunity to experience a ‘day in the life’ of a professional working in their ideal career.]
- Ramp up summer employment opportunities.
- Create a mentoring system.
- Create more co-op opportunities to introduce students to job opportunities in London; placements and co-ops would give students the opportunity to have connections, network, and have an “edge” when it comes to getting a job. This would increase their likelihood of staying in the community.
- Have the city establish a structure for hiring summer and internship students – 3-month internship with students.
- Enhance the Continuing Studies & City of London partnership - provide programs that “feed” jobs at London companies or organizations; curricula built to prepare students for specialty areas through post-diploma programs.
- Have a “Backpack to Briefcase” program. [NOTE: The University Students’ Council, the Student Success Centre and Alumni Western coordinate a Backpack 2 Briefcase program, a national award-winning event series designed to ease the transition from Western to life as a young professional.]
- The more involved students are in our community as volunteers and researchers, the more they are likely to stay.
- London also needs to embrace our students so they feel welcome here. - Make London more like small U.S. cities with universities (i.e. Paula-Alto; San Jose).
Leader's Digest is produced following each Leaders' Forum to provide an
overview of key discussion points.
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