Career Development & Experiential Learning (CDEL), part of the Office of Experiential Learning, was excited to facilitate the first UWindsor Job Shadow Experience during this past reading week. Job Shadow Experience was an opportunity for students to observe a professional (host) at the professional’s place of work to learn more about the career, sector, workplace, and how to be competitive in the labour market.
Each Job Shadow Experience included observation time, a tour of the workplace, and an information interview, allowing students to see the career and industry in action and ask pertinent questions. CDEL held orientation sessions to help students prepare for the day and reflection sessions to help students get the most out of their experiences.
Over 125 applications were received for the Job Shadow Experience with 33 matches made, making the experience a competitive one for students, but one that was also valuable.
For some students, the experience helped confirm their career plans. Sariat Sultana, who was at Valiant TMS, said, “The Job Shadow Experience has been an eye-opening experience for me which helped me choose my career path and also exposed me to the technical world.”
Gagneet Kaur said her Job Shadow Experience at the University of Windsor was beneficial for learning and for networking. “My job shadow experience with Dr. Douglas Kneale opened a whole new world of opportunities for me,” she reported. “I culminated the experience with enhanced knowledge in the field of education and policy making and got a first-hand look at what it takes to run an organization like the University of Windsor. I also used this experience as a learning opportunity to meet and network with several other successful industry professionals and potential employers. I would highly recommend this experience to any student who is ambiguous about his/her choice of career, as it gives you the chance to foresee your future and helps you in making the decision that can potentially change the course of your professional life.”
The experience demonstrated for some students how their academics were relevant to the workplace. “The job shadow experience gives students the opportunity to see how methods learned in class are applied in the workplace,” one student, who shadowed at Windsor Modules, reflected, “and it usually doesn’t work out perfectly, so you need to be creative in your solutions.”
The participating hosts were incredible in giving their time and attention to students and providing significant learning opportunities. “Even thought we are all busy at work, taking a few hours out of my day to support and educate students is extremely rewarding,” said Kyle Shafer, Senior Process Improvement Specialist, TransForm SSO. “The students asked great questions and prompted me to consider again how I do things.”
Neil McEachrane, Diversity and Recruitment Officer, recounted, “The UWindsor Job Shadow experience was an enjoyable one for me. Being able to show a student, who is interested in my career, the reason why I continue to promote and enjoy my career choice. Also, receiving great feedback from the student about the Job Shadow experience in which they ordinarily would not be able to participate.”
Jamie Kramer, Human Resources Assistant, Corporation of the City of Windsor, saw the value of the Job Shadow Experience for employers and professionals. “Job shadows are a way to promote the pursuit of careers in our business and invest in the knowledge and education of our future workforce, which helps to develop potential employees,” reported Jamie, “It was nice to sit down and discuss not just the what and the how but the why behind what we do here at the City of Windsor.”
After the success of this pilot program, CDEL is planning to offer the Job Shadow Experience again in the Winter term. Following her positive experience, Tina, who shadowed at the City of Windsor, encourages other students to participate. “I met great people, had a great experience, and learned a lot I did not know before. I would recommend anyone to take advantage of the experience. Network, learn, and grow!”