Kwantlen wants to know if its grads are getting hired

employment

By Adam Vincent [Creative Writing Bureau Chief]

Now that Kwantlen is a fully fledged university, there is a need for statistical information about its graduates, especially as it relates to the effectiveness of their degree when they join the workforce.
Kwantlen have contracted a market research company who have been emailing previous grads “on behalf of Kwantlen Polytechnic University (Formerly Kwantlen University College), BC Stats, the BC Ministry of Advanced Education and Labour Market Development, and B.C.’s public post-secondary institutions” to find out if our graduates have become successful in their field(s) of study.  An attempt to find statistics about Kwantlen grads’ success in the workforce yields little to no statistical data, and there is hope that this information will improve Kwantlen’s services for students.

There is the Kwantlen Alumni Association who try to keep in contact with graduates and have an award for Distinguished Alumni, but there is not a great deal of information on other students.

We, at the Runner, thought that we would ask a few students about their experiences at Kwantlen and how their education has affected their employability.

We asked Marina Brewer, a third year, BA student (major in History, minor in English) her thoughts on her program, and if she feels that Kwantlen has helped her in her current employment.  Brewer said, “Well, I am employed by Kwantlen’s learning center as an English tutor. Without my education I wouldn’t have thought to apply for such a position. However, the full time job I have did not require that I have any post-secondary education.”

When asked if she feels that Kwantlen has prepared her for the work force/ career that she hope to get in, Brewer said, “I feel that Kwantlen has provided a step in the right direction, in that it has provided me with a depth of knowledge I had not previously had.  Ultimately, I think that the PDP program [Professional Development Program AKA the teacher education program] will prepare me more specifically for my career choice.”

We were interested if Brewer’s optimism extended to recent graduates, and asked Jackie Gaspar, a 2007 BA: Double minor in History and English graduate, her thoughts on her degree from Kwantlen.  Gaspar is currently enrolled in SFU’s PDP program.
When asked if her education from Kwantlen has helped with her employment, Gaspar looked to the future and said, “Yes, because my degree at Kwantlen gave me the tools to get into the PDP program and I will be a full fledged teacher at the end of a very long and hard year.”
We asked Gaspar if she feels that those in Kwantlen guided her effectively, and if she felt prepared for the workforce.  Gaspar gave a resounding “yes.”  She said, “all of the courses taught me the basics, (i.e. writing, reading, critical thinking skills, etc), but the UNIV 4100 course with Deb MacNamara was probably the most beneficial, in that I learned how to make a great resume for the PDP, how to make a portfolio (which I also have to complete for the PDP), how to conduct myself in an interview setting and a whole bunch of other valuable tools. I credit UNIV 4100 with Deb as the MOST valuable class at Kwantlen for post graduate success.”

She gave her thoughts on the challenges facing some graduates, “For someone with a History, English or Creative Writing degree, the hunt for a job is more difficult because our degrees are more generalized. We have phenomenal writing, reading and critical thinking skills, which ANY employer would value, but those employers looking for specific English or History degrees just aren’t there.  Therefore, it is up to the student to make the effort to either find a career in their specific subject field, which will be quite challenging, but very rewarding, or hunt for the career that requires the specific skills found in an Arts degree…we are the jacks of all trades.”

Ashley Liggett, a second year general studies student, said that she knows of recent arts graduates, who are not going into a PDP program, and are not doing as well as far as employment is concerned.  Liggett said, “I know a few grads who are having trouble finding jobs in their chosen field.”  When asked what fields they are attempting to get into, Liggett said that she is unsure, as people are now looking for employment far outside of their degree area.

Will the statistical information back up the optimistic, and positive, experiences that some current and post-graduate students have with their Kwantlen education, or will the information prove otherwise?  We will have to wait for the results.

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