December 2019

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As jobs and technology evolve, matching education with industry needs can be lot like dancing on quicksand — but it's a challenge Red River College meets with an innovative approach: one that works with industry to train students to work in industry. Nowhere is that more true than in RRC's Continuing Education programs, which help students in the workforce expand their skills or build on previous education. "Our students want short, intense, specialized training that prepares them to hit the ground running on Day 1," says Kathleen Kerr, Dean of the College's School of Continuing Education. "All programs partner closely with industry to put students on the fast track to careers in areas where companies are hungry to hire." Administrative Assistant Certificate Program Red River's Administrative Assistant Certificate Program delivers graduates with high-demand skills such as business computing, bookkeeping and event planning in just 18 weeks, plus a four-week practicum. Instructor Roger Fitch says program designers and instructors meet with industry reps every five years to ensure courses teach the skills employers are looking for, including soft skills such as emotional intelligence and communication, which are critical to succeeding in today's business environments. "Industry partners have told me that program grads are sometimes so well-versed in the latest business technologies, they end up mentoring the people who hire them." Fellow instructor Wanda Daza describes the program as one of Red River College's best-kept secrets. "By the time they leave, our students are so confident. The program can be intense, but we want them to succeed." And succeed they do: more than 85 per cent of grads are hired after finishing the program's four-week practicum, which provides on-the-job training vital to transforming classroom learning into work-ready skills. Manitoba Hydro has offered practicums to RRC students for 10 years. Alicia Malawski, a work exposure co-ordinator for Hydro, says supervisors look forward to working with Red River College students. "They're eager to put their knowledge to work. We give them opportunities to develop their skills and demonstrate their ability on real-world projects." For example, Malawski says one practicum student will soon begin providing administrative assistance to the office of a Hydro vice-president. Under the guidance and mentorship of the Executive Assistant, they'll manage a busy calendar, prepare and distribute minutes, draft letters, and more. The partnership gives Hydro "a direct pipeline to a diverse pool of candidates," adds Malawski, "and that's critical for an organization of Manitoba Hydro's size." Find out more at A S U P P L E M E N T T O T H E S A T U R D A Y , D E C E M B E R 7 , 2 0 1 9 View online at For advertising information, call 204-697-7389 Helping Meet the Needs of Manitoba's Industries Learn more at Keep learning. Register now for January courses. RED RIVER COLLEGE PARTNERS IN STUDENT SUCCESS By Ryan McBride for the Free Press ACE Project Space Meanwhile, RRC's Applied Computer Education (ACE) Project Space makes innovation the spearhead of its approach to how education and industry collaborate. Located in Winnipeg's Innovation Alley, ACE is an interactive work hub that puts the cutting-edge technical savvy of students in the College's Business Information Technology and Business Technology Management programs to work on projects for industry clients. "We used to ask industry what they wanted us to do, and then we'd do it," explains Haider Al-Saidi, ACE department chair. "Now we lead our client-partners to solutions that can shape the future of their industries." Students and industry partners have wrapped up more than 20 projects so far, including a website to inform voters about election data, a virtual reality training app for new wheelchair users, and a member benefits system for a chamber of commerce. Find out more at Applied Research For more than 15 years, the College has worked with industry partners in aerospace, construction, vehicle technology, and culinary arts to build productive, future- forward partnerships. This November, RRC opened the new Prairie Research Kitchen in downtown Winnipeg: a flexible, state-of-the-art space designed to cook up research collaborations between food production companies and students, staff and instructors. "These partnerships are really the perfect pairing," says Mavis McRae, a culinary research professional at the College. "Our chefs, food scientists and students use everything they know about food trends, ingredients and cooking methods to help partner companies solve problems or develop new Manitoba-made products and processes." So far, the College has worked with close to 60 companies across Western Canada to develop 90 new culinary product ideas. "Our students gain hands-on experience while our industry gains a greater competitive advantage." That's another win-win for Red River College students, industry, and the Manitoba economy. Find out more at ❚ Clockwise, from top, the Administrative Assistant Certificate Program, the new Prairie Research Kitchen and the ACE Project Space at Red River College. Red River College photos

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