Federal funding boosts work-integrated learning opportunities for students

It will be easier than ever for Brock students to participate in the University’s renowned work-integrated learning (WIL) programs after the announcement of new bursary funding.

More than $500,000 from the Government of Canada, distributed via Co-operative Education and Work-Integrated Learning (CEWIL) Canada’s Innovation Hub (iHub), will support a University-wide bursary to reduce barriers to participating in WIL.

Students will apply for funding, available on a first-come, first-served basis through Brock’s Co-op, Career and Experiential Education (CCEE) team, to cover traditionally unpaid WIL experiences or approved fees associated with service learning, applied research/community and industry-engaged projects, entrepreneurial work-integrated learning and field placements.

The government funding is available to Canadian students, and Brock has also contributed financially to ensure international students also receive opportunities to take part.

Applications will prioritize Indigenous students; racialized Canadians; persons living with a disability; female-identifying or non-binary persons studying science, technology, engineering and mathematics; newcomers to Canada; official language minorities; two-spirit, lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and queer (2SLGBTQ+) students; students living in remote or rural locations; students with low socio-economic status; mature students; and students from refugee pathways.

CCEE Director Cara Krezek said the funds — part of more than $1.7 million that has been awarded to Brock since iHub funding began in 2021 — and their distribution demonstrate the University’s commitment to making work-integrated learning accessible to everyone.

“This funding will remove current barriers to WIL and allow us to keep a pulse on what new challenges emerge while also continuing to learn and grow in how we can best support our students,” she said.

Participating students will be able to expand their skill sets by taking part in a range of new opportunities.

“We want students to explore their passions and to have better access to previously unfunded experiences,” Krezek said. “And that may mean a stipend for a Sport Management student who secures an unpaid internship, support for a Goodman student completing an industry project with a local business, or help covering the costs for an Earth Sciences student participating in a field course in northern Ontario.”

Brock’s Provost and Vice-President, Academic Lynn Wells said the bursary will allow the University to further its position as a leader in experiential learning initiatives in Canada.

“Brock is committed to providing practical learning opportunities to students in all areas of the University that will benefit their future careers and connect them with community partners,” she said. “These new funds will ensure the chance to combine theory and practice is more accessible than ever.”

Financial support will range from $250 to $1,500 based on the experience and financial cost incurred by the student.

Projects eligible for funding must take place between May 1 and Dec. 31.

Members of Parliament Vance Badawey, from Niagara Centre, and Chris Bittle, from St. Catharines, said they were pleased to see the funding opening new doors for students.

“The valuable workplace knowledge our students acquire today turn into the skills they will use when they become the builders, creators and authors of our future,” said Badawey. “The responsibility of ensuring every student has access to those opportunities belongs to all of us, so I’m very pleased to have worked with Brock University to help bring funding to Niagara and provide support to anyone with an interest in contributing to that future.”

Bittle said the bursary funds will provide an equal opportunity for all students to explore their career passions.

“Experiential and co-operative learning opportunities are more important than ever to provide students with the valuable experience they need to be successful,” he said. “I am happy to see this new funding to support Brock University so that a diverse group of students can receive crucial financial support and have a hands-on learning opportunity to develop their professional skills and be well prepared to enter the workforce.”

To learn more or to apply for funding, visit the CCEE website.

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