Where There’s a WIL, There’s a Way

2017-02-13

Let’s Talk Science supports post-secondary students with WIL (work-integrated learning) so they can hone the job skills they need for future success. More than 50 students have finished placements with Let’s Talk Science over the years and the organization will continue to engage students with programs including internships, co-op placements and alternative field experiences.

“Let’s Talk Science helps young people build job-readiness skills, learn about work and make the transition to employment in multiple ways, including through our volunteer opportunities, training we provide for our Outreach site co-ordinators and a variety of work placements,” says Bonnie Schmidt, the organization’s president and founder. “We engage children and youth in a comprehensive way from the time they are in pre-school right through their post-secondary studies and entry into the workforce.”

Jedd Sardido and Mona AbuSharkh are the most recent students hosted by Let’s Talk Science and both are studying at Western’s Faculty of Education at Althouse College. They each spent three weeks learning more about Let’s Talk Science Outreach this fall by visiting classrooms to deliver STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) activities, aligning programming with curricula across Canada and organizing outreach kits.

“My experience here at Let’s Talk Science will definitely make me a better teacher,” says Sardido. “I’ll be able to integrate science into the classroom more effectively and I know more about community partners, their resources and people. I was especially impressed with the range of activities Let’s Talk Science has to share with students.

Sardido appreciates the boost that his work placement with Let’s Talk Science will give him in a tough job market and is confident that his future employers will be impressed by the fact that he has experience working with a STEM Education charity.

Mona AbuSharkh shares Sardido’s enthusiasm and credits her experience at Let’s Talk Science with boosting her organizational skills and self-confidence. “This work opportunity has been a chance for me to think outside the box and get a new perspective on teaching. I’m now connected to new resources and understand that there are employment opportunities for teachers outside of the classroom,” she says.

Let’s Talk Science is proud to contribute to the efforts of a growing number of organizations, including the Business Council of Canada, that promote and support WIL for young Canadians as they transition from school to work. The Council has launched a national awareness campaign and a series of pilot projects to promote WIL and meet workforce needs through its Business/Higher Education Roundtable with the goal of ensuring that every Canadian post-secondary student benefits from some form of meaningful WIL before they graduate.

“Young people need to prepare in new ways for the evolving citizenship and work demands of the 21st century,” says Schmidt. “Let’s Talk Science will continue to offer workplace integrated learning opportunities that help graduates develop the skills they need to compete, thrive and contribute in a rapidly changing world.”