A UWindsor class that prepares students to enter the working world ended the semester with an added bonus: $250 Registered Education Savings Plans (RESPs) for two lucky students.
John Sutcliffe, who teaches the course “From University to Work” in conjunction with the Office of Career Development and Experiential Learning, told students there would be an added incentive for attending the final class. Once in attendance virtually, students learned guest speaker Lori Atkinson, regional manager at the Libro Credit Union, was offering two RESPs as prizes.
“I’ve already used a lot of what I’ve learned in class, but I was not expecting this,” said Sabrina Thompson, a psychology major who won one of the two prizes. “This will definitely come in handy.”
From University to Work is a new course, offered for the first time in the winter 2021 semester.
“It’s designed to get students thinking about what they will do after university and give them resources that will help them find a career,” Dr. Sutcliffe said.
The class includes workshops on topics such as resumé writing, interview techniques, and social media profiles. Sutcliffe brought in 25 UWindsor alumni with careers in the law, government, banking, and non-profit organizations as guest speakers. They talked about their professions and offered advice to students.
“The idea is to get students to think about what happens after university while they are still in university,” Sutcliffe said.
Paul Seguin, a mature student taking the class, won the second RESP. He put it in his 11-year-old son’s name.
A professional in the corporate world, Seguin recruits university graduates for his employer. He took the class “out of interest,” to see job searching from a student’s perspective.
“I wanted to get into the head of a 21-year-old,” Seguin said. “I want to be able to speak their language.”
He said the course offers skills you would normally have to seek out beyond your post-secondary education: “It’s a gift to students who take it.”
Atkinson (BA 1988) says she relishes the opportunity to return to campus — even virtually — to connect with students. She said Libro has a close relationship with the University of Windsor, offering co-op placements for students and employing many alumni in full-time jobs.
“Libro is passionate about supporting our key pillar of employment: increasing productive employment and decent work for all and reducing talent shortage,” Atkinson said. “We purposefully seek out opportunities to support initiatives in Southwestern Ontario that provide employment or pre-employment training and skills development for people, including youth and people with employment barriers. We feel that supporting these initiatives contributes to financial resilience in our communities and helps us achieve our mission of growing prosperity in Southwestern Ontario.”
In addition, since 2018, Libro has partnered with UWindsor’s Entrepreneurship Practice and Innovation Centre (EPICentre) on an accelerator program offering mentorship, training, and funding to start-ups that focus on social initiatives like employment, financial resilience, local food accessibility, and housing.
“I have had the pleasure of speaking at several events associated with this partnership,” Atkinson said.