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Sylviane Duval

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Role

Content advisor, presenter, project manager.

Skills demonstrated

Facilitation; presentation skills; creativity; project management; collaboration; writing.

Client

The Forest Innovation by Research and Education (FIBRE) network is the hub network that builds support and collaboration among eight NSERC-funded R&D networks working to innovate and improve employment opportunities in Canada’s forest resources sector.

Context

As part of its annual conference, FIBRE hosts a day-long workshop to help students develop the skills needed for the narrow job market for post-graduates in the forest sector. Content and format vary every year.


Objectives

  • Develop content that answers the questions: "Where are the jobs, and how do I get one?"
  • Help students
    • prepare for job-hunting before they apply;
    • learn what skills industry is looking for and what types of positions are available;
    • bring out the best in themselves, their CVs, presentations and interviews.

Constraints

  • Finding local speakers (to keep costs down);
  • Tracking overlaps/omissions caused by dividing responsibility for content and logistics.
Solutions
  • Developed the agenda in response to the students' perceived challenges;
  • Prepared a list of pre-workshop reading for students to familiarize them with terms such as emotional intelligence;
  • Brought in
    • eight professionals who use post-graduate degrees in biochemistry in their careers. Among them: knowledge broker, patent agent, academic, entrepreneur, industry researchers and managers;
    • four recent graduates to tell how they conquered the job market;
    • speakers on professional networking (in person and on LinkedIn) and academic presentations;
  • Arranged for the students to meet the professionals in small groups, "speed-dating" style to ask questions and start building networks;
  • Developed a presentation on plain language to help students better express their academic posters and elevator pitches;
  • Organized one-on-one sessions with the students to discuss anything related to finding jobs.

Impact / Benefit

  • 110+ participants: up from the year before.
  • Excellent informal feedback.
  • Personal notes of thanks received after the one-on-one sessions.