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.”
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.
MY CHOICE: MINOT STATE
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.
MY CHOICE: BE SEEN.
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.
MY CHOICE: BE HEARD.
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.
MY CHOICE: BE INSPIRED.
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).
MY CHOICE: BE EMPOWERED.
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.
MY CHOICE: MY FUTURE JOIN OUR MINOT STATE
• 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.