Brock University is launching a unique post-graduation training program to help students bridge the gap between the end of their academic degree and the beginning of their employment career.
Called “Talent Bridge,” the University has partnered with industry employers who have identified sector-specific skills and licensing credentials that graduating students need as they transition to fulltime employment. This program will give graduates an inside edge in a competitive job market.
Talent Bridge will have multiple industry streams. More than 10 companies have signed up so far, and the list is growing. The program will make its debut this spring. In the first cohort, graduates will receive skills training and knowledge to begin sales careers in the insurance industry, but it will steadily spread the range of industry partners to embrace sectors such as financial services, software development and others.
Senior students (they can be from any academic discipline) who sign up for Talent Bridge will spend four months in an industry-specific training program, gaining not just experience and skills, but also the type of professional accreditation that few of their competitors will have.
For instance, this year’s students will be able to write for either their Registered Insurance Brokers of Ontario (RIBO) or Other Than Life (OTL) certificates, qualifications that are highly valued by insurance companies who are looking to hire talent.
Unlike other programs, the $6,000 cost of enrolling in Talent Bridge will be covered by the employer for all students who are successfully hired and complete their probationary period.
Talent Bridge Manager Madi Fuller said the goal is to catapult students past some of the obstacles faced by recent grads entering the job market.
“Talent Bridge will connect final-year students’ degrees to a learning opportunity that includes professional development and mentorship in order to facilitate a seamless transition into the workforce,” said Fuller. “It provides an extra level of specialization and training so employers know the participants are ready to embrace their professional roles from their first day on the job. Successful participants know that they have a real shot at permanent employment— and, the opportunity to recover the financial investment getting there.”
The application deadline is March 6 for students seeking a space in this spring’s cohort. To help students better understand the program, two information workshops — hosted by the program’s industry partners and Brock staff — will be held at Brock on Jan. 20 at 12 noon in WH 303, and on Jan. 22 at 5pm in TH 240.
Fuller said the program will benefit employers as well as well as students. Near the end of the program, employer partners will interview participants individually and present job offers.
“Finding and retaining great talent can be difficult and cost a significant amount of money and resources,” she said. “As many employers look to strengthen their early talent pipeline, Talent Bridge provides them with a pool of new grads ready to hit the ground running thanks to the focused training they have received in a specific field.”
David Leadbetter, from Lawrie Insurance Group in Hamilton, one of the industry partners, said the company is “thrilled” to be part of Talent Bridge.
“We are always looking for top talent, and having access to a group of newly graduated students who have been assessed and trained is something that our industry really needs,” said Leadbetter. “Being able to work with Brock on this program will help us find new talent, and it’s great that the new grads are coming from a university known for ensuring students have solid experience and strong skillsets.”
Cara Krezek, Brock’s Director of Co-op, Career, and Experiential Education, said the idea for Talent Bridge came from conversations she has had with industry partners.
“We listened to industry partners who tell us that they are looking for employees who possess not only the university graduate level competencies of problem solving, critical thinking, and creativity, but also industry-specific credentials and professional training,” said Krezek.
Anna Lathrop, Brock’s Vice Provost, Teaching, Learning and Student Success, said the unique program is the next step in the University’s strategic plan commitment to build upon its experiential, work-integrated, and co-op strength, thereby graduating students who meet labour market needs.
“We are delighted to be able to engage with industry partners directly, listen to the talent demands of our Region,” said Lathrop, “and respond with a program that is a ‘win-win’ for employers and prospective employees alike.”