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Knowledge Hub For Employers, Career Educators And Coaches

Author: Irene Chan (page 1 of 2)

CPA Ontario’s Success with Campus and Student Engagement

The team at CPA Ontario are made up of the brightest educators, thought leaders, regulators, advocates and providers. They go the extra mile and often take measures to protect the public interest by ensuring their CPA members meet the highest standards of integrity and expertise. Additionally, CPA Ontario provides pathways to the profession for aspiring accountants from around the world, and engage in their community as responsible corporate citizens.

However, when it comes to the accounting profession and specifically the CPA designation with regards to the kinds of careers it can lead to, there are still many misconceptions regarding the industry. CPA Ontario has many resources that dispel these myths about CPAs working with excel all day or being stuck in a cubicle, and host their biweekly information sessions where students can learn more about how the CPA can lead to a successful career in business.

Anyone can register here: https://www.cpaontario.ca/become-a-cpa/post-secondary-student/events to attend an information session and learn more about the future of accounting, finance, general business, and how the CPA can help anyone reach for their dreams.

Keep reading to learn more about how CPA Ontario solidifies their initiatives in campus engagement, diversity, equity and inclusivity, and how they successfully navigate connecting with students during the COVID-19 pandemic.

CPA Ontario’s Support for Student Community Engagement

At CPA Ontario, they hold a lot of pride in their Post-Secondary Ambassador Program (PSAP) and Board of Ambassadors Program, especially regarding the strong community of students they have fostered. The CPA Ontario community has explored careers in business, built relevant skills that employers are looking for in successful candidates, and have connected with key employer stakeholders.

Their Post-Secondary Ambassador Program and Board of Ambassador Program have been successful ways for us to engage student voices in their space. Additionally, their Board of Ambassador representatives act as an advocacy and advisory group for their recruitment team, which ensures they keep their pulse on student needs. In terms of creative ways to get CPA Ontario’s message out, they try to meet students where they are at; whether it’s through a new series of Instagram lives and takeovers, or by hosting their Live @ the Drive-In movie night (with lots of popcorn of course). As CPA Ontario moves towards a hybrid of in-person and virtual, some of these tactics may change, and so now CPA Ontario is asking themselves new sets of questions on how to continue to support student career paths.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Initiatives in the Accounting Industry

At any organization, DEI and related initiatives should mean that all people should have a seat at a table, and that their voices are heard. It was important to the CPA Ontario team last year that their online programming continued to drive inclusivity, making their events accessible to wider audiences geographically and representationally.

At CPA Ontario, events are frequently hosted throughout the year. To name a few initiatives, they partner with agencies to reach new audiences, hold events specific to niche groups, and ensure all their participants are made aware that accommodations will be supported.

3 Key Insights Into Campus Recruitment and Student Engagement with CPA Ontario

Trend 1: Students have no shortage of aspiration, for themselves or for the world. Yet, they are easily discouraged by the realities and threats of post-academic life.

So, they ensure that they don’t ever shy away from the tough conversations whether it be in a recruiter’s presentation or panel discussion with CPAs. The CPA Ontario team addresses the fears students’ have about the future of AI, work-life balance, and others in open discussions, so students feel equipped when they begin their careers.

Trend 2: The next generation of students will be going to be looking for more flexibility and the ability to have influence/make an impact in their future careers.

So, they highlight the many diverse career paths that their current CPAs are in so students can envision themselves in similar paths. Through their programming, they also share how CPAs reimagined their careers to create their own unique paths, to inspire students who aspire to do the same. They also provide forums of discussions and facilitate opportunities for students to connect with these professionals to form their own relationships.

Trend 3: Employers are finding there are human skills gaps when hiring new grads.

So, they provide training in important human skills like leadership, responsibility, personal management, and emotional intelligence to name a few. As CPA Ontario is also a regulator, it is important to the recruitment team that they are equipping future CPAs to be valuable leaders, employees, and entrepreneurs.

The COVID-19 Pandemic’s Effect on Campus Engagement

The pandemic resulted in the CPA Ontario team doing things differently. They had to reimagine their offerings to provide enhanced online experiences. For example, their Employment Connections Career Fair which was once limited because it was held in Toronto and in-person, can now have any number of students across Ontario attend.

The most rewarding aspect has been the feedback from their post-secondary students who have thanked us for the online community of students they built, during a time that many of them felt very isolated at home. The CPA Ontario team gave students a space to connect with each other, gain new skills, and meet CPAs, all while having fun!

The most challenging aspect was probably at the beginning of the pandemic when the team would ask each other how they would do all that:

  • What platforms would they use?
  • What would the tone and cadence of their virtual spaces look like?

They had a lot more questions than they did answers, but they were quick to not get stuck in their questions and begin making moves. It was trial by fire, but the CPA Ontario team strongly believes they have come out victorious on the other side!

Nayelli Perez – Dynamic Career Approaches to the Changing Workforce

It is common for students to not have it all figured out. Choosing and committing to a career path can take the form of many shapes, and it is no easy feat to determine it by yourself. As a Co-op Coordinator for the Applied Science Co-op program at the University of British Columbia, Nayelli Perez understands the struggle that students face. That’s why as a career educator, Nayelli is passionate about helping students find and be successful in their co-op roles. Additionally, Nayelli also does 1-on-1 appointments with students to go over their applications for co-op roles and to provide coaching on how they could navigate the workplace! 

We recently interviewed Nayelli to learn more about her work with students and soon-to-be-grads!

career

Q. Tell us a bit about yourself!

A. After graduating with a Master’s degree in Counseling, I landed in the dynamic world of higher education. I have an extensive background of over 10 years in career counselling. 

Over the years working in higher education, my positions have ranged from being predominantly career coaching to becoming more involved with employer relations. I also have wide ranging interests that I incorporate into my work – such as economic development, urban planning and entrepreneurship. What my interests have in common is that they go along with my passion of helping people and societies reach their highest (and most authentic) potential and work together to push society further.

I also enjoy using my interests of connecting ideas and creating relationships to assist employers with their campus recruitment strategies – coming up with new programming and events that employers could take part in to meet students, recruit for their positions, and develop a talent pipeline!

Q. Why did you decide to go into Career Education?

A. I got into this field by happenstance, really. I feel like my purpose in life is to help people find their path and learn more about themselves. Originally, I thought I would be a guidance counselor for high school students, but ended up working for a university (Hofstra University) right out of graduate school. 

Through working at Hofstra, I ended up working at a career centre and haven’t looked back. As a young person, I didn’t know about careers in higher education and career services. But once I entered that type of career I really enjoyed it. There’s a sense of gratification when I can help a student reach their career goals.

Q. What do you think employers can be doing to best support students and new grads in hatching their careers in the age of digital recruitment and hybrid work?

A. I think employers need to recognize the hybrid, digital world we are living in. Especially in 2022, more and more employers are beginning to fully embrace a hybrid or permanent remote working model. 

Additionally, I think that type of work environment makes more sense from a sustainability and economic point of view. Cost of living in Canada is high and public transportation infrastructure isn’t the greatest, which means that it costs more money and time for people to get to work or live close to work. If employees are spread thin with commuting time and/or financial strain, they are not going to be able to perform as well and/or will ultimately move on to companies that will provide them the opportunity to perform at their optimal level. Because of that, hybrid and remote working environments really make sense in the Canadian context. 

If employers are going to have a remote or hybrid work environment, they’ll need to think of what supports their employees will need for that – what home office equipment can they provide, how can they ensure that team building will still occur and how can they continue to motivate staff when they are not all working in the same office. I think many employers have shown that it is possible to do, and more will continue to do so.

Q. What do you think students and employers need to understand when it comes to DEI?

A. I think DEI should really be the foundation of everything we do in career services. For students, I think it’s important for them to understand what are their rights in the workplace (in regards to being treated with equity and respect in the workplace) and how to identify whether a company has a commitment to DEI. 

Moreover, I think employers need to understand how their workplace culture and practices may not always be equitable and/or inclusive, even if that’s how it’s initially perceived by those reviewing them.

Advice and Insights

Q. What do you think is the best way for employers to connect with and attract top students right now?

A. I think employers should keep in mind the benefits that the current generation wants in the workplace. For instance, some of these benefits include freedom of where to work, support in professional and career development, and encouragement of mental health, health in general and work life balance. These benefits have evolved significantly due to the changes that the pandemic has brought about. 

Employees don’t just want to have a job, they want to be in a work environment that supports their authentic selves in a way that is holistic.

Q. What’s your best advice for fellow Career Educators?

A. If I had to narrow down my best advice, I would tell Career Educators:

  • Continue to learn how the world of work is changing
  • Reflect on the lessons you have learned in your career; those lessons will be ones you can impart to your students and/or employers
  • Continue to learn who you really are. By being true to who you are, you are best able to help others do the same with the career advice you give

Q. What is your best advice for students who are looking to start their careers in this current environment?

A. My best advice for students in this current environment:

  • Be agile. The career landscape is always changing. Jobs become obsolete; new ones emerge.
  • Work for organizations that share your values. It can be draining to work at a place that doesn’t know how you best work and the lifestyle you want to have. There are plenty of choices in careers and places to work and employers are adapting to the desires of the workforce. You don’t have to sell yourself short.

About Nayelli

Nayelli is a Co-op Coordinator at The University of British Columbia who has over 10 years of experience in career coaching. She is passionate about providing students and working professionals with the tools they need for determining, establishing and succeeding in their careers, as well using her wide range of interests to help find dynamic approaches to campus recruitment strategies!

Connect with Nayelli on LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/in/nayelliperez/ and visit https://coop.apsc.ubc.ca/ to learn more about the University of British Columbia and how their Applied Science Co-op program remains one of the most successful programs in the country.

Nancy Sammon – A Champion for Students and EDI

For many students and recent grads, job hunting can be stressful and sometimes even intimidating. From resume and interview preparation, engaging employers in a virtual world, to finding a company whose values align with your own, it is no easy task to find the right opportunity for you. 

As a Relationship Manager at the Smith School of Business, Queen’s University, Nancy supports her corporate partners and is a trusted advisor in effectively engaging with both undergraduate and graduate students on campus. She also ensures students feel comfortable, confident, and to be their true authentic self throughout the on-campus recruitment (OCR) process.

students

Q. Tell us a bit about yourself!

A. With over 30 years of experience and a recognized leader in employer branding and campus recruitment, I would say my passion is helping students make the transition from school to work.

Prior to joining the team at Smith, I was the Director of University Relations at  TD Bank Group. I also held other key HR and talent acquisition roles across the organization throughout my career at TD. 

I have also had the privilege of being an active contributor to the community of career educators and employers focused on the school to work transition. As my career has unfolded, I have become a bit of a knowledge keeper of best practices in the campus space and am excited to share these any chance I get and with anyone who will listen.

I really see myself as a connector of people, skills, knowledge, and ideas.

Q. Why did you decide to go into Career Education?

A. I saw an opportunity to leverage my expertise in campus recruitment to support a broader base of employers in making connections to and engaging with top talent.  

I also used to hold sessions called “#NancysInTheHouse” when I was recruiting on campus to support diverse students in demystifying the career search and finding the right opportunity for them.  

So, my role as a Relationship Manager was a natural extension of what I love to do and a solid entry point for me into the Career Advancement Center (CAC) at Smith. I am also a proud Queen’s alumni, so it felt like a really good fit when the opportunity presented itself.

Q. What is one of your greatest achievements so far in your work with students?

A. My greatest achievement would have to be the creation of a unique opportunity for our corporate partners to engage with the Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Indigenization (EDII) focused Student Clubs at the Smith School of Business. Since 2020, The CAC facilitates an annual Diversity Fair for over 100 employer representatives to diversify their talent pipeline directly connecting with the executives of our EDII clubs via lightning talks and dedicated networking lounges. What was truly amazing for me about this event was for student leaders to have their voices heard by employers and to see the wonderful engagement that this event enabled across the board.

Overall, the fairs have been a huge success based on the positive feedback from both our student leaders and corporate partners in attendance. Following the launch of these initiatives, our Career Advancement Center was honored to receive a number of awards from organizations like CIBC and the Canadian Association of Career Educators and Employers (CACEE) in recognition of this important work.

Q. What do you think students and employers need to understand when it comes to EDII?

A. From an Employer vantage point, they need to be really strategic in their EDII initiatives .It cannot be a once and done or a cookie cutter approach, they need to be thinking about how each community wants to be engaged. A big part of my role is supporting initiatives which help employers connect with diverse talent. A prime example would be our work in creating a best practices guide for employers in engaging with students from an EDII lens.

And, in supporting students, our work is about helping them to understand what EDII actually looks like in the workplace and providing resources such as mentoring, alumni connections, events, and other opportunities to do their research and find organizations that will embrace their authentic selves throughout their career.

Advice and Insights

Q. What do you think is the best way for employers to connect with and attract top students right now?

A. From my viewpoint, year-round engagement is critical. Whether it is info sessions, 1:1 coffee chats, alumni panels, attending industry nights, roundtables or the like, employers need to make their presence and opportunities known to students and recent grads. Their engagement needs to include diverse representation and perspectives, so students can see themselves reflected in their organizations. 

In a virtual world, employers also need to be thinking about how they can support students to have their voices heard and in standing out as candidates. Consider smaller and more niche events as a part of your recruitment strategy versus solely focussing on large events. Now, more than ever, it is important to engage partners like Career Centres and TalentEgg in your campus strategy to help build your brand amongst students and reach the top talent you need to drive your organization forward!


About Nancy

Nancy is a Relationship Manager and Career Connector who has over 30 years of experience in the campus recruitment space. She is passionate about bridging the gap between school-to-work for students, as well as helping maintain a strong connection between employers and diversity clubs on campus. Connect with Nancy on LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/in/nancymoulday/ and visit https://smith.queensu.ca/recruiting/index.php to learn more about the Smith School of Business, Queen’s University and services of the Career Advancement Centre.

How Career Educator Ken Lee Continues to Support Student Lives, Personally and Professionally

Every student has different backgrounds, experiences and displays different traits that make their own stories unique. As a Career Educator, it can be challenging to truly support someone when we fail to understand them as a person and their life circumstances. That’s why Ken Lee, a Career Educator at Ryerson University, always ensures he goes the extra mile when supporting the professional development of his students.

career educator

As a Career Education Specialist with the Career & Co-op Centre at Ryerson University, Ken designs and delivers high-impact programming to equip students for successful careers in a rapidly evolving world. This can range from organizing conversations where students can learn the power of their degrees to creating responsive courses in which our community can build on their job search-related skills.

We had the chance to speak with Ken to learn more about how he approaches supporting the career development of students!

Why Pursue Career Coaching?

“It was a well-planned accident, to say the least,” shares Ken. “In my final year of graduation, I had the privilege to take on a work-study position where I was providing feedback to students on their resumes, cover letters, and LinkedIn profiles. I soon came across an opportunity with a non-profit organization to support community members in finding employment. I jokingly applied, thinking that there was no way I would ever get a callback. A few weeks later, they gave me a job offer!” Now, Ken has found himself on the road to a successful journey as a Career Coach. After all, he won the award in 2021 for the Best Career Coach/Educator at the 2021 TalentEgg Recruitment Excellence Awards and Conference back in June.

Meaningful Interactions

Students go through a variety of emotions when it comes to developing their careers. While some are at the top of their game with a polished resume and cover letter, others don’t even know where to begin. Regardless of students’ progress, anyone and everyone can benefit from receiving support from their campus’s career coach.

That’s why we asked Ken how he went about helping students in making their school-to-work transition during the pandemic.

“In helping students build careers for life, it is important to make sure they have all the necessary skills, knowledge and expertise to flourish by the time they graduate. This can manifest in many ways, from engaging in one-to-one conversations with students as well as facilitating webinars on different topics, such as job searching.”

Student Pain Points

Job searching is a challenging process, even under normal circumstances. From the perspective of a career coach, Ken explains that a significant pain point for students is the variety of prospective job industries being significantly affected by the pandemic.

When Ken supports his students, he emphasizes the importance of showing students how to explore spaces where their skills, interests, and values intersect and reminding them of how resilient they are–all while displaying a sense of optimism.

Until now, companies have recruited students and alumni by physically visiting campuses. With the pandemic accelerating the move to virtual environments, organizations have been more creative about developing and recruiting early talent.

For fellow employers, Ken comments on the importance of preparing students for the workforce and what initiatives companies can take to showcase each candidate’s strengths.

“I would love to see them continue to help students understand and develop the skills they need for their workplace and the current world of work. For example, beyond the case competitions and hackathons, consider hosting a regular monthly challenge or exercise where students can practice and flex their data visualization, storytelling, and post-production skills and receive feedback from current employees on their work. This would help build their brand and diversify their talent since they would reach students beyond the academic disciplines they may hire from regularly.

Now, when it comes to connecting with students during the pandemic, I would communicate and work with a school’s Career & Co-op Centre as someone who works in higher education. They know their students best and can educate you on nuances that would make your campus recruitment strategy more comprehensive.”

Advice for Other Career Coaches

So, what can we take away from Ken’s words? More importantly, how can other aspiring career coaches follow in the supportive footsteps of Ken?

“As Career Educators, it is often challenging to truly support someone when we fail to understand them as a person along with their life circumstances,” explains Ken. “Case in point, perhaps you are working with a student who’s the first person from their family enrolling in higher education. They may have never received guidance on the importance of networking or even how to do it. This can be a stressful process, so being more patient and understanding may be key in making sure the student feels well supported.”

And so, while we are the experts in career education, we are not the experts of the lives of those we work with, nor are we the experts of what they need. For all students out there, be sure to continue staying curious and enjoying all the future adventures you have. As for career coaches, continue to be patient and understand your students, as that’s the support they’re looking for most!

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