Job Shadow program offers real world career experience

Career Services matches students with local workplaces

Over the next two months, 50 students will participate in the second run of the Queen’s Job Shadow Program — the same amount as last year.

First piloted in 2011, the program matches students with host organizations in Kingston, where they spend a half-day learning about the ins and outs of their desired career.

“It lets students have the chance to get really up close with a particular area of work and the role that they’re interested in,” Christine Fader, career counselor at Career Services, said.

Career Services works with Kingston businesses, categorizing them by sector so that students can get matched easily.

“[Organizations] identify what their sector or sectors are,” Fader said. “Students look at that same list and … they pick their top three sectors of work that interest them.”

Some sectors include healthcare, technology, education or law.

“We have a lot of really generous local organizations,” Fader said.

While the program was designed with a focus on graduate students and arts and science students, Fader said any student is welcome to sign up.

Students are chosen based on how well they fit with any of the participating organizations.

“We try to match them as closely as possible,” she said.

According to Fader, rather than a full-fledged co-op placement program similar to many high schools, the half-day model is ideal.

“It allows a good amount of time [for students and host organizations] to connect and get to know each other,” she said.

The program coordinators also encourage students to keep in touch with their hosts.

According to Fader, the relaxed atmosphere lets students observe more in the workplace, helping them in their own career decisions. A list of the participating groups is not available to prevent students from flooding them with requests themselves. The Job Shadow Program can facilitate communication between students and groups, however.

“It’s not a job interview,” she said. “They get to have more insight by watching what people do and talking to them about their work and how careers work in general.”

Prior to going to a half-day job shadow, students attend pre-departure workshops with Career Services to help them prepare for their experience, Fader said.

Host organizations undergo similar preparations.

“We provide guidelines and suggestions for them,” she said. “We also give them some ideas for some things they might do with the student on-site.”

Career Services isn’t just limited to the Job Shadow Program, though. Fader said students can still seek assistance if their desired sector isn’t in the program.

“We talk to [students] about how they can set up their own job shadow for the first time or in the future,” she said.

“They’re able to move ahead on creating job shadows themselves.”

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