When hiring, employers often look for a diverse set of employability skills that are transferable to the work setting. UPEI is helping students develop and communicate their skills by offering a non-credit digital Professionalization Badge program during this academic year.
Students earn their badge through completing workshops and experiences that are verified by UPEI. There are no extra fees involved, but the program requires extra time.
“The badge system is an opportunity for students to bridge the gap between what they are learning in their academic studies and what employers are looking for when they graduate,” says Tara Corman, Student Advisor with UPEI. Tara does one-on-one career management sessions with students, as well as curriculum and program design for the Professionalization Badge program.
At UPEI, the Office of Experiential Education includes Co-operative Education, Career Services, and the unit responsible for the Professionalization Badge program.
The badges earned are micro credentials in the form of a digital icon graduates can share online through LinkedIn, their e-portfolio, or their resumé. “Employers can click on it to see what the student has done to earn the badge. This system has more information and is more portable than a paper certificate.”
Tara is planning to speak with first-year students in their classrooms to encourage them to start thinking about career management earlier. “As they near graduation, students often realize they don’t have a lot of work experience or don’t know what they want to do after university.
“UPEI is already doing a lot of great things with experiential education, and this professionalization badge program complements classroom learning to help students connect their academic experiences with professional skills and contexts.”
To earn their badges, students focus on labour market literacy, communication skills, and professional skills.
Labour Market Literacy badge: In April, students participated in a two-day intensive boot camp to earn that badge. They explored job clusters, skills, and different career paths. “They learned how to identify networking opportunities on PEI, and practiced introducing themselves to different audiences by highlighting their skills and abilities.
“At a labour market panel, Pat Perry from SkillsPEI talked about industry trends. Amber James from WorkPEI and Stacy Dunn from The Employment Journey on PEI gave the students a sense of what resources are available and about employment trends happening on PEI. We also covered the components of the hiring process, from the job posting to the interview.”
Communications Skills badge: Students learn how to highlight their soft skills to employers during a job interview. “With the changing nature of work, these skills will help future employees to be adaptable and resilient to changes in technology.
“We also focused on how to communicate who you are online, as well as teamwork, collaboration, and conflict management. On November 13, we will offer a one-day intensive delivery of this badge on campus.”
Professional Skills badge: The third badge begins with online reflection followed by a face-to-face workshop that focuses on intra-personal management, developing adaptability and resilience, learning from failure, a growth mindset, and a life-long learning approach to career development.
Students also do a 10-hour job shadow experience in a field they are interested in, and then submit a learning contract reflecting on what they learned.
For more information, contact Tara Corman at 902-628-4304 or [email protected].