University of the Fraser Valley has received a $300,000 donation from the RBC Foundation for the newly created Centre for Experiential and Career Education (CECE).
The donation was announced at a celebration at UFV’s Abbotsford campus last Thursday (Nov 21) by Martin Thibodeau, RBC regional president in B.C.
The funds came through RBC Future Launch, a 10-year $500 million commitment to empowering Canadian youth to build meaningful careers.
With a focus on networking, skills development, and experience, the initiative aims to help solve the problems facing young people due to the changing landscape of the workplace.
“When experience is so important to getting a job, but so hard to come by, young people are left feeling uncertain about their futures in the new world of work,” Thibodeau said.
“We hope that through our partnership with the University of the Fraser Valley, RBC Future Launch can help young people get those all-important first jobs and break the ‘no experience, no job’ cycle.”
Maureen Wideman, UFV associate vice-president of teaching and learning, officially announced the creation of CECE.
She said CECE will bring together various units at UFV to provide students with opportunities such as paid co-operative education, work study, career education, work-place integrated learning, volunteer experiences, and curricular activities.
“Moving this group of talented people into one academic unit signals to our students and the community that, while we are building 21st century academic skills, these are also the skills required for 21st century employment and community engagement,” Wideman said.
Liana Thompson is leading the new centre as its inaugural director.
She said that the opportunities provided by the CECE will help students develop, articulate, and recognize career-related skills.
‘We want students to be thinking about how to connect their education to their career earlier, more often, with more exposure to more opportunities,” Thompson said.
She said it is hoped that the CECE will help students recognize that their academic experience has career relevance.
“Their group assignments prove they can work on a team. Juggling courses shows that they have a handle on time management. Students learn how to meet deadlines, work with different people, collaborate in groups, advocate for themselves, and assess situations and propose solutions to problems,” Thompson said.
One early project resulting from the RBC donation will be a career-planning app for use on smart phones.
At the recent UFV Town and Gown event, RBC was awarded a UFV Ripple Maker paddle as donor of the year.