Din­ner opens doors for Sask Polytech stu­dents

Moose Jaw Express.com - - News -

Sukhjot Samra came to Canada for her post-sec­ondary ed­u­ca­tion, choos­ing to come to the Moose Jaw cam­pus of Saskatchewan Polytech­nic.

“Per­son­ally, I be­lieve there can be no bet­ter place than this to study and learn in a more prac­ti­cal way,” said Samra who is from Ja­land­har, In­dia and is the vice pres­i­dent of the Saskatchewan Polytech­nic Stu­dents As­so­ci­a­tion for the Moose Jaw Cam­pus. “The op­tion to par­tic­i­pate in train­ing, in­tern­ships and pro­grams has been a most unique one and serves many pur­poses. I am learn­ing prac­ti­cally and grow­ing... lit­er­ally, ca­reers are be­ing shaped here. A true ex­am­ple is my real sis­ter, a stu­dent of com­puter en­gi­neer­ing at this in­sti­tute, who even be­fore com­plet­ing her de­gree in 2019 has been as­sured a job in a nutri­ent com­pany in Ro­canville.

“Sask Polytech is a place where peo­ple have big hearts. They have given me, new­comer to this land of dreams, this great op­por­tu­nity.”

Stu­dents at Saskatchewan Polytech­nic got a dif­fer­ent kind of prac­ti­cal ex­pe­ri­ence on De­cem­ber 6th when the school hosted its an­nual Busi­ness and In­dus­try Din­ner at the Her­itage Inn. The events are held at Sask Polytech lo­ca­tions across the prov­ince and give stu­dents the chance to net­work with po­ten­tial em­ploy­ers.

“These din­ners are very im­por­tant for a num­ber of rea­sons,” said Dr. Larry Rosia, pres­i­dent and CEO of Saskatchewan Polytech­nic. “First, they re­mind all of us at Saskatchewan Polytech­nic how for­tu­nate we are to have such a strong part­ner­ship with busi­ness and in­dus­try. Your com­pa­nies play a vi­tal role in help­ing us make sure that our pro­gram is rel­e­vant and cur­rent and that our stu­dents leave here when they grad­u­ate with the skills that they need to hit the ground run­ning and be suc­cess­ful in your com­pa­nies and be suc­cess­ful in their ca­reers. “Sec­ondly, these din­ners are a way to pro­vide you -- our in­dus­try lead­ers, busi­ness part­ners and alumni -- with the op­por­tu­nity to meet some of our fan­tas­tic stu­dents.” The din­ners serve an­other pur­pose, as well. The pro­ceeds from the din­ners help fund Sask Polytech’s stu­dent awards pro­gram and pro­vide more stu­dents with ac­cess to fi­nan­cial as­sis­tance. To date, more than $2 mil­lion worth of schol­ar­ships and bur­saries have been dis­trib­uted from funds raised through the event. More than a thou­sand stu- dents, in­dus­try pro­fes­sion­als, fac­ulty and alumni were ex­pected to at­tend the din­ner se­ries this year.

Rosia joked that the din­ner was not un­like speed dat­ing, but added that the money raised is in­cred­i­bly valu­able for their stu­dents, to say noth­ing of the net­work­ing ex­pe­ri­ence they gain at the event.

The Busi­ness and In­dus­try Din­ners were pre­sented by Gra­ham Group Ltd. this year. Rosia said that they ap­pre­ci­ate the sup­port of the busi­ness rec­tor and the re­la­tion­ships be­tween Sask Polytech and in­dus­try in the prov­ince is vi­tal for ev­ery­one’s growth.

“At Saskatchewan Polytech­nic, we are fo­cused on the fu­ture. En­sur­ing that we have a skilled and trained work­force -- peo­ple with the knowl­edge, skills and abil­ity to adapt to change -- is es­sen­tial to Saskatchewan’s fu­ture,” Rosia said, not­ing that 75 per cent of Sask Polytech pro­grams fea­ture work in­te­grated learn­ing that al­lows stu­dents to ap­ply what they’ve learned in a prac­ti­cal set­ting and then learn new skills on the job that they get to bring back with them to ap­ply and share when they re­turn to the class­room. Key­note speak­ers of the event were An­gela and Ken McDougall who both grad­u­ated from the Saskatchewan Tech­ni­cal In­sti­tute -- An­gela noted that the acro­nym STI means some­thing very dif­fer­ent now than it did in the 1980s. They credit the school for pre­par­ing them for their suc­cess­ful busi­ness ca­reers.

The McDougalls are fourth gen­er­a­tion farm­ers who turned their fam­ily farm, McDougall Acres, into an in­de­pen­dent seed re­tailer busi­ness of­fer­ing seed treat­ment, clean­ing and colour sort­ing ser­vices. In the 1980s, the McDougalls started grow­ing pulse crops -- dry peas, lentils and chick­peas -- which was an in­no­va­tive idea for the time. In 2012 they started to be­come a pet food sup­plier and were the first sup­plier for pulse crops to a ma­jor pet food com­pany. Now they have branched into distri­bu­tion, as well, and buy chick­peas from pro­duc­ers around the prov­ince, Mon­tana and North Dakota and then clean them, sort them and ship them over­seas to In­dia, Pak­istan, the United King­dom and Iraq.

“We’re so thank­ful for the ed­u­ca­tion and ex­pe­ri­ence we re­ceived from our STI and your Saskatchewan Polytech­nic,” said An­gela McDougall be­fore of­fer­ing some ad­vice to the stu­dents present. “Don’t ex­pect to find your dream job as soon as you grad­u­ate. If you do, great! If not, don’t get dis­cour­aged. Just look at all of your ex­pe­ri­ences as step­ping stones to­wards that per­fect job.

“If your goal is to own your own busi­ness some day, in most cases it is so ben­e­fi­cial to work for some­one else. You will learn how em­ploy­ees like to be treated and what their ex­pec­ta­tions are from the boss. Own­ing your own busi­ness is fan­tas­tic in so many ways, but if you’re not pre­pared to give it 110 per cent and work 60-plus hours a week un­til you are es­tab­lished, it may not be for you.” Last year at the Moose Jaw cam­pus din­ner, the alumni key­note speaker of­fered to let a stu­dent job shadow at their busi­ness for a day. That was such a suc­cess that the stu­dent shad­ow­ing ex­pe­ri­ence was spread to ev­ery cam­pus this year. The McDougalls had ac­count­ing stu­dent Pay­ton Wag­man job shadow them for the day, in ad­di­tion to award­ing her their an­nual schol­ar­ship.

“We had a great day with Pay­ton and in­di­cated to her that we would love to have her on our team,” said An­gela McDougall.

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