Real-world experience: Employers won’t want to miss Experiential Learning Fair

By Roderick Benns

Real-world experience: Employers won’t want to miss Experiential Learning Fair

It’s the old adage we’ve all heard before. ‘I can’t get a job without experience and I can’t get any experience without a job.’ But what if that scenario was getting less true every day? What if experience – through experiential learning – was becoming the new norm? In recognition of this, the Workforce Development Board /Local Employment Planning Council (WDB/LEPC) has come together with their community partners to create the don’t-miss Experiential Learning Fair – Information Session & Trade Show in Peterborough on Friday Nov. 8.

Held at the Holiday Inn Peterborough-Waterfront from 7:30 am to 3 pm, the learning fair’s focus is about the employer benefits of hosting students and job seekers in the workplace.

“I think the key takeaway for this conference will be learning firsthand from the experiences of others,” says Rachel Brown, Community Development & Communications Coordinator for WDB/LEPC.

“We’re going to have people talking about their own experiences,” making this a very practical and useful day for employers who are looking to find the right people.

Brown says within the education system we’re seeing “more experiential learning in schools,” which includes co-ops in high school, college, and even university now.

“Employers don’t want to hire students right out of university without any work experience. If co-ops are built right into their education it increases their attractiveness to employers,” she says.

At the experiential learning fair, participants will learn how Abbey Gardens has benefited from providing experiential learning opportunities to its people. A variety of guest speakers will touch on post-secondary, entrepreneurial and other avenues of experiential learning.

The afternoon is for the trade show component where employers can make valuable connections with partners in education and training from across Peterborough, Northumberland, Kawartha Lakes and Haliburton.

“I think, as employers, no matter what type of jobs are on offer there’s widespread applicability here. We have representation from everyone.”

In an in-depth report prepared by WDB/ LEPC, the authors note we are living in a time now commonly referred to as the “age of disruption.”

“With a shifting demographic, expanding globalization, climate change, and the onset of automation and advanced technology, significant drivers of change and complex social issues are influencing employment in our smaller communities,” states the report.

The authors write that local employers have voiced concerns related to recruitment, retention of youth and talent, and issues around soft skill development.

“Our reports are always based on real-world need,” says Brown.

Subjects and themes of interest are always brought to working groups who have a say in what we do and what we research,” she adds.

Brown says WDB/LEPC always works to try and bridge these gaps where need arises, hence the creation of this Experiential Learning Fair & Trade Show.

In fact, there are eight key reasons to make this the focus of your day on Nov. 8.

  1. Learn how experiential learning has helped to address workforce challenges such as recruitment, retention of youth and talent, and development of soft skills.
  2. Experiential learning opportunities are becoming an integral part of post-secondary education –learn more about this from Trent University and Fleming College.
  3. Learn from PKED and Innovation Cluster about the scope of experiential opportunities that are supported by an industry partner and from VCCS and EPC about the experiential learning opportunities and employer supports available.
  4. Connect with a number of organizations at the trade show to learn that experiential learning is broad in scope and can range from in-class laboratories to industry-driven research projects.
  5. Employers will be able to connect with organizations that have information about funding opportunities that are available to support experiential learning.
  6. Networking (Making valuable connections with partners in industry, education and training from across Peterborough, Northumberland, Kawartha Lakes and Haliburton)
  7. A great representation of speakers from business, post-secondary, entrepreneurship supports, and employment services will be on hand. Hear from the experts in each sector and how employers can benefit
  8. This complimentary event includes breakfast and lunch

The Experiential Learning Fair is intended to share the highlights of the report (found here) and to connect industry, education, and employment services to support/facilitate more experiential opportunities.

Sign up now for the learning fair on Eventbrite:

This project is funded in part by the Government of Canada and the Government of Ontario.

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