University grads returning to college

Published On September 28, 2012 | By | News

Humber staff said graduates of their degree programs fare better in the workforce because they have more practical experience than university students with generic undergraduate degrees. GRAPHIC BY HELEN SURGENOR SOURCE HUMBER COLLEGE

By Helen Surgenor

Humber Students may find themselves increasingly surrounded by other students who already have a degree.

In the last year alone, the number of students enrolled in post-graduate programs increased by ten per cent, according to the Office of the Registrar.

Underemployed university graduates are turning to post-graduate college diplomas for the skills they need to land a successful career, said authors Ken Coates and Bill Morrison in the October issue of The Walrus.

“It hurts the students themselves who’ve invested four years—and in many cases quite a lot of money—getting a qualification that they can’t find a job for,” Morrison told Humber News.

“To put it bluntly, you could make the argument that we need fewer generalist BAs and more people in the trades,” he said.

According to the Morrison and Coates article, Ontario colleges have become a “finishing school” for university graduates who need further skills-based training to land a career.

“I like the word finishing school,” said Karen Fast, manger of Humber’s career centre, “because what you’re doing is targeting your skills into a specific career or industry.”

Even as the college seeks to increase the number of degrees it offers—Rick Embree, associate vice president, planning & development, said Humber aims for degrees to account for 15 per cent of its offered programs within the next five to ten years—the focus is still on preparing students for a program-related career.

Humber is looking at developing future degrees that teach specific profession-based skills, such as a bachelor of commerce in health, Embree said.

“I can’t tell you how many university students have told me that the best education they’ve had was [at college] having to do a lot of the assignments that are very practical, very hands on,” said Fast.

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