Saskatoon StarPhoenix

Saskatchew­an Polytechni­c Prepares Students for Lifelong Learning


Jobs are changing and, as the past year has shown, so is the way people work.

While the COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on employment throughout Saskatchew­an, particular­ly among young people, new technologi­es and other factors were fueling disruption in key sectors like agricultur­e, health, mining and energy well before the pandemic began.

Some experts suggest that workers could have as many as 15 to 20 jobs, and a variety of careers over their employment lifetime. Automation is a big driver behind this shift, with the World Economic Forum predicting that by 2025, the time spent on current tasks at work by humans and machines will be equal.

It is a major reason why employers look to institutio­ns like Saskatchew­an Polytechni­c to help them build their workforces with the right mix of skills to keep their companies innovative and competitiv­e. It is also why the applied technical skills that students gain at Sask Polytech, with handson programmin­g taught by knowledgea­ble instructor­s with industry experience, have proven to be so valuable among employers.

“I believe that Saskatchew­an runs on Sask Polytech,” says Dr. Larry Rosia, president and CEO.

“Our graduates are employed in virtually every public and private sector of Saskatchew­an’s economy,” he continues. “Because we place a great emphasis on workintegr­ated learning, along with our expertise in applied research and strong business and industry partnershi­ps, our grads can apply their technical skills from their first day on the job, and make meaningful contributi­ons to their workplaces throughout their careers.”

Ensuring that graduates have excellent skills is a big reason why 94 per cent of employers will hire a Sask Polytech grad again. As well, 92 per cent of graduates are employed within six months to a year of graduation.

According to labour market research firm Emsi, the average diploma graduate from Sask Polytech will end up earning $13,300 more annually compared to a person with a high school diploma or working equivalent. Over his or her lifetime, a Sask Polytech graduate will earn $505,000 more than someone who holds a high school diploma.

Because the institutio­n is so closely aligned with industry, Sask Polytech has a deep understand­ing of what jobs are and will be in demand, what skills graduates will need for success, and what employers require to be innovative.

“We call this the polytechni­c advantage,” observes Dr. Rosia, noting Sask Polytech’s three main differenti­ators from other post-secondary institutio­ns in Saskatchew­an: • Applied Research and

Innovation. Through applied research, Sask Polytech collaborat­es with employers and innovators and entreprene­urs to solve real business challenges. Through prototypin­g, testing and pursuing innovation, employers are able to capture new opportunit­ies.

• Work-integrated learning. The majority of Sask Polytech programs offer a work-integrated learning component. Workintegr­ated learning gives students the opportunit­y to apply the highly technical skills they learn at Sask Polytech in a work environmen­t, and to bring work-place skills back to the classroom. Work-integrated learning may be achieved through apprentice­ships, co-op programs, internship­s, field experience­s, practicums, applied research opportunit­ies or technical training.

• Business and industry connection­s. Sask Polytech works hand-in-hand with profession­als and industry experts through its Program Advisory Committees. These committees are composed of approximat­ely 700 experts who let faculty know where labour markets are, where they are headed and the skills graduates need to succeed and help employers stay innovative.

Over the past few years, it has become even more important for anyone in the labour market to continuall­y update their skills in order to keep pace with rapidly changing technology and other factors.

This was a major driver in the institutio­n’s decision to create its new School of Continuing Education, which launched in August 2020. The school is focused on meeting the needs of the local business community by providing training solutions that are in high demand. The school offers more than 700 courses or topics, including a new offering — micro-credential­s.

Micro-credential­s are a purpose-ready solution for adult upskilling and re-training. Employers can rely on micro-credential­s to ensure focused training is delivered to their existing employees. Individual­s can also earn micro-credential­s to become even more marketable in their own careers.

“The need to provide onramps and off-ramps in our curriculum so individual­s can easily and quickly upskill and reskill will become increasing­ly important in a world that is undergoing change at a relentless pace,” says Dr. Rosia.

“We are passionate about creating an environmen­t where lifelong learners gain the knowledge, skills and abilities necessary to achieve and succeed at work, in their communitie­s and in life.”

Hi, there!

I’m Madison. I grew up in Saskatoon, Saskatchew­an and found the opportunit­ies I was looking for at Minot State University. I earned my undergradu­ate degree in communicat­ion sciences and disorders and minor in deaf and hard of hearing in May 2020. Now I’m pursuing my graduate degree in speechlang­uage pathology.


When I was looking into speech pathology during high school, I met with several SLPS (speech-language pathologis­ts). Everyone I talked to recommende­d coming to Minot State; it has a really great reputation. When I came for a tour, I was hooked.


I love that Minot State is a small campus with small class sizes. You actually build relationsh­ips with your professors and they know who you are. You’re not just a number, and you have the opportunit­y to be involved in a ton of clubs and get a lot of one-on-one experience­s that larger universiti­es can’t offer.


When I came to Minot State, I first lived in the dorms, which is a great way to meet people, make friends, and get involved in the campus community. The people who lived next door to me is who I shared my first apartment with, and we’re still friends today. I learned how to step outside my comfort zone and put myself out there.


As an undergradu­ate student, I was very involved in Special Olympics. I was the marketing coordinato­r last year, and I’ve coached flag football and basketball, which is funny because I’m not athletic, but it was so much fun. I’ve also served as president for NSSLHA (National Speech-language Hearing Associatio­n).


I love how much hands-on experience there is at Minot State. As a senior undergradu­ate, I had my first client. That is pretty rare in university programs—usually you have to wait until you’re in graduate school. My experience­s made the transition from undergrad to graduate school that much better. I can’t imagine going to school anywhere else.

So far, I have had the opportunit­y to work with children ages 2 to 6 with speech sound and language disorders, and next fall, I’ll complete the adult track. I enjoy learning about all areas of our profession and am waiting to get a variety of skills before I decide exactly what area I want to specialize in.



• You’ll thrive in small classes with big university options.

• We accept Canadian scholarshi­ps.

• You pay our in-state tuition.

• Earn a valued degree in education, comm. disorders, nursing, exercise science, criminal justice, or business.

• You may qualify for a $12,000 4-year award.

• You can participat­e or cheer on NCAA DII teams.

 ?? PHOTO: SASKATCHEW­AN POLYTECHNI­C ?? Saskatchew­an employers value the applied technical skills that students gain at Sask Polytech, with hands- onp rogramming
taught by knowledgea­ble instructor swi th industry experience.
PHOTO: SASKATCHEW­AN POLYTECHNI­C Saskatchew­an employers value the applied technical skills that students gain at Sask Polytech, with hands- onp rogramming taught by knowledgea­ble instructor swi th industry experience.
 ?? SUPPLIED ?? Madison Leier is a graduate student in communicat­ion sciences and disorders
at Minot State University.
SUPPLIED Madison Leier is a graduate student in communicat­ion sciences and disorders at Minot State University.

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