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Putting Social Sciences and Humanities Graduates to Work: Strategies that Move Students from Classroom to Career

The Conference Board of Canada, March 28, 2018
Recorded Webinar
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This recorded webinar discusses how post-secondary institutions and educators can better support social sciences and humanities students for careers before they make the transition to the work world.

Webinar Highlights

The barista with a history degree. The unemployed English graduate living in their parents’ basement. The returned-to-school psychology graduate who could not find a job. These well-worn tropes about graduates of social sciences and humanities post-secondary programs have become all too common.

Each year, thousands of new graduates with degrees in the social sciences and humanities (SSH) leave PSE and enter the labour market looking for work. While most of these new graduates find employment and go on to rewarding careers, many struggle in the short-term to define and establish a career path.

As it turns out, the transition from classroom to career does not need to be so onerous. Employers are looking for the skills that SSH graduates have. So what’s the problem? SSH graduates are often unaware of possible career paths, they don’t understand how to market their skills, and they lack work experience.

Post-secondary institutions need to respond to the challenge. This webinar will discuss how post-secondary institutions and educators can better support SSH students for careers before they make the transition to the work world.

  • Learn about findings from The Conference Board of Canada’s soon-to-be-released report From Classrooms to Careers: Transitioning Social Sciences and Humanities Graduates to the Workplace. Alison Howard, Associate Director and report co-author, will provide highlights.
  • Julie Walchli will share details about ways the Arts Co-operative Education Program at UBC has customized typical co-op pre-employment training to meet the unique needs of Social Sciences and Humanities students, supporting over 5000 students during the last 18 years to gain degree-related work experience as part of their degrees, and discuss outcomes from a 3-year project aimed at helping faculty members, staff, and students to integrate career education throughout the Arts undergraduate experience.

About Alison

Photo of Alison HowardAlison brings almost two decades of research and convening experience to the position of Associate Director of the Education and Strategic Initiatives group at The Conference Board of Canada. Alison has conducted extensive research on employability, language and literacy skills, credential recognition, and issues in higher education—all of which are important to Canadian labour market outcomes. She leads the Conference Board’s major annual summit on Skills and Post-Secondary Education and other related research and convening activities. Alison also oversees the Leaders’ Roundtable on Immigration which promotes investment in and collaborative action on immigration issues. Alison’s research has also covered privacy issues, corporate community investment, issues in the food and drink sector, and in the culture sector. Alison is a graduate of the University of Guelph (Masters of Management Studies and Bachelor of Arts).

About Julie

Photo of Julie WalchliJulie has worked in the field of co-operative education since 1997 when she founded the first co-op education program in Arts at UBC while a sessional faculty member in the English Department. Since then she has helped to create an Arts-wide program for students throughout all undergraduate programs, masters programs in the School of Library, Archival and Information Studies, and recently for PhD students in the English and History Departments. She is currently managing a multi-year, Arts-wide project at UBC to explore ways to support faculty members, staff, and students to integrate career education throughout the undergraduate experience. Julie has served in a number of leadership roles in the co-op community, including President of Co-operative Education and Work Integrated Learning Canada (formerly CAFCE), and currently holds a joint appointment as Director of the UBC Arts Co-op Program and Co-Director of the Canada Japan Co-op Program.

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