FAQ

FAQ

RBC Future Launch WIL placements feature educational activities that intentionally integrate learning in an academic environment with practical application in a workplace setting, relevant to your program of study or career goals. The Canadian Career Development Foundation (CCDF) recognizes the role of WIL in providing opportunities to better determine career fit, refine their learning goals, develop specific competencies related to their career objectives and establish a network of contacts (Bell and Benes, 2012). RBC Future Launch WIL is also recognized by businesses as “an essential component to building a highly skilled and productive labour force for an innovative, strong and growing economy” (Canadian Chamber of Commerce, 2012: 6), and an important tool in regional economic development (Garlick, Davies, Polèse and Kitagawa, 2006).

Demographic change, economic globalization and the rise of a knowledge-based economy have changed the labour market as well as skills required by employers. Colleges and universities provide the greatest number of workers entering the labour market (Lapointe, Dunn, Tremblay-Cote, Bergeron and Ignaczak, 2006). Competition for employment is tough for graduates from university in today’s economic environment, particularly if students graduate without practical work experience. Developing effective, flexible and responsive postsecondary education will help to provide graduating students with the competencies to succeed economically in a competitive global environment. Students also expect postsecondary education to prepare them for employment. A recent survey of Ontario high school students found that the two top motivations for attending postsecondary education were preparing for a specific job or career and getting a good job (Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario, 2012). In this environment, WIL programs (including co-ops, placements, internships and other forms of community experiential learning) should improve students’ employment prospects and outcomes, as well as offer a range of other benefits for them and employers. Upon graduation, they will have improved skills in areas that companies are seeking while demonstrating their personal motivation and enthusiasm towards advancing their career goals.

For Students
It is anticipated that students will benefit from WIL placements by gaining practical work experience, enhancing their résumés, improving employability skills and determining their fit with a potential career or industry. Other advantages include:

  • Increased maturity;
  • Enhancing skills in problem-solving;
  • Better understanding requirements of a professional work environment (e.g. dress, punctuality, diplomacy and communication skills);
  • Applying classroom theory and skills to the workplace;
  • Developing a network of job search contacts.

For Employers

From the employers’ perspective, there are also a number of potential benefits to be gained by placing students. Overall, it can provide the organization with recognition and satisfaction from knowing it is assisting students to help reach their goals, while contributing to the overall economic health of the community. Employers will receive ongoing support during the student placement, as well as professional development in areas such as effective supervision, mentoring, evaluation and assessment. In addition, exposure to students who have skills in technology, social media and current trends in a wide number of areas will provide new information and insights regarding behavior and expectations of today’s youth, as well as fresh approaches and ideas to problems and challenges being faced in the work place, including successful recruitment of graduates.

WIL placements will provide opportunities for 20 students enrolled in the 3rd and 4th year Business Administration program, as well as students enrolled in the Entrepreneurship Certificate program to participate in a placement in the community, both in Thunder Bay and Orillia. These placements could take place in small to medium sized businesses as well as larger organizations in the business and non-profit sector. Students will receive a small financial award as remuneration for the time spent on the placement. During these placements, students may participate in specific business tasks or activities to assist them in preparing them for potential employment in that industry or discipline. Just as importantly however, it will provide experience and opportunities in being coached, guided and mentored by individuals who will assist them to develop enhanced skills in areas such as effective communication, conflict resolution, professional behavior, negotiation, time management and problem solving. A placement with a business or organization will bring employers and students together over a six- month period (approximately 6 hours a week, totaling 144 hours), providing sufficient opportunities for students to learn and take on tasks in a wide variety of roles. Each student will also be matched with a mentor to help them achieve their personal and professional goals. These mentors may or may not be located in their WIL placement site. Finally, six workshops will be available to provide training in specific areas to support learning. Potential topics could include professional behavior, critical reflection, business communication and use of social media.

 

For Students

Many of the companies that make up the Top 100 Undergraduate Employers operate internationally, employing thousands of people across a wide range of business disciplines. As such, they recruit candidates for a wide range of roles and departments, including:

  • Feasibility studies
  • Business planning
  • Research
  • Risk advice
  • Tax and investment consultancy
  • Financial management
  • Logistics
  • Operational management
  • Purchasing
  • Marketing
  • Analysis
  • Business restructuring
  • E-business
  • Management training
  • Compliance
  • Financial services
  • Banking
  • IT
  • Merchandising
  • Public Relations
  • Human Resources
  • Advertising
  • Sales

In the attached application, you can indicate your areas of interest and learning goals for the RBC Future Launch WIL. These learning goals will be used to help match you with a potential mentor who can work closely with you to determine how best to meet your goals. . The mentorship component of the program may or may not be with the same individual supervising you in the WIL placement. It may complement the WIL experience – providing an additional element absent from your placement. This will be negotiated with each participant to ensure an optimal learning experience.

Just as importantly, placements are intended to help you enhance skills and behaviors that you can apply personally and professionally. These include:

  • Critical reflection
  • Problem-solving
  • Time management
  • Conflict resolution
  • Professional behavior
  • Business communication

Another element of experiential learning involves refining skills in critical reflection. Reflection is an active process of developing and learning by analyzing one’s own personal and professional practice. Critical reflection builds on this basic reflection through a series of steps which that encourages learners to identify areas where improvement in practice is needed. It includes:

  • Questioning personal assumptions or biases;
  • Connecting theory to experience;
  • Reviewing how theoretical knowledge and experience differ;
  • Considering multiple perspectives; and
  • Creating evidence of new learning

There are different ways to promote critical reflection and the WIL program will use a number of tools to ensure that students not only learn from their experience, but helps them to prepare for similar situations and challenges they may face in future.

It is impossible to predict exactly what will the economic future will hold, but it appears that the business environment will become increasingly dominated by companies that connect customers directly to sellers, such as Uber and AirBnB, which do not own their own assets (Uber has no cars and AirBnB has no property). According to Forbes’ Ian Altman, companies will need to focus on training their employees and investing in their development. As more customers use e-commerce sites like Amazon, this will open up new opportunities for all sizes of e-commerce companies as consumers become more open to increasingly buying goods online. (Forbes, 2015)

Companies often place a lot of importance on their work experience programs, particularly as there is increasing levels of competition for finding employment. As a result, students who can demonstrate that they have developed practical skills and experience are typically valued much more than those with only an academic degree.

For Employers

There are a number of business and administrative functions that could be appropriate in small to medium sized companies as well as the non-profit sector, including the following:

Business Management and Analysis

Including areas such as management consulting, risk management or managing logistics, customer management and IT service management

Marketing

Including developing new ideas, branding, design, measuring the effectiveness of the company’s communications, market research, working with external suppliers, writing social media posts, creating videos, organizing events, distributing guides and brochures and attending events. It could also include e-commerce, product development, R&D, sales, retail and the supply chain

Advertising

Joining a creative team to brainstorm ideas, write scripts, create social media campaigns and present concepts; accounting could involve meeting with clients, writing project briefs and working alongside the creative team.

Public relations (PR)

Learning about communication, the PR process, researching and writing stories and press releases, organizing events and developing skills in areas such as technology, healthcare and branding.

Human Resources (HR)

This could involve participating in the development of a recruitment strategy, organizing team events, arranging training, carrying out interviews, improving the working environment for existing employees supporting the recruitment team and bringing in candidates

Sales

Sales placements and other areas, like analysis, finance or marketing.

Project management

Could expose students to development strategies and reports, attending meetings and budgeting

 

Other potential roles and tasks may include:

  • Feasibility studies
  • Business planning
  • Research
  • Risk advice
  • Tax and investment consultancy
  • Financial management
  • Logistics
  • Operational management
  • Purchasing
  • Marketing
  • Analysis
  • Business restructuring
  • E-business
  • Management training
  • Compliance
  • Financial services
  • Banking
  • IT
  • Merchandising