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Job Shadow Experience Winter 2020

A group of the Job Shadow Experience student participants.A group of the Job Shadow Experience student participants.

Career Development & Experiential Learning (CDEL), part of the Office of Experiential Learning, facilitated the second UWindsor Job Shadow Experience during Winter reading week.  This was an opportunity for students to observe a professional (host) at their workplace to learn about the career, sector, and how to be competitive in the labour market.

CDEL had now done a full academic year of Job Shadow Experience and has facilitated 50 job shadow opportunities.  With over 250 applications and 50 successful matches, this competitive program is proving to be successful. 

Each participating student experienced 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. 

For some students, the experience exposed them to new career paths and opportunities.  “I really loved having the opportunity to learn about education in a field that I likely never would have considered,” reported Alyssa, who was at Canadian Transportation Museum & Heritage Village.  “I learned that it intertwined with my field (social work) a lot more than I previously thought.  My host was amazing, and I am looking forward to volunteering again with their school program.”

Nancy, who had her experience at Chartwell Royal Oak Long Term Care, also noted that the experience was beneficial for exploring careers. “I would recommend this experience to anyone trying to figure out their next steps after university, or just anyone who wants to confirm that what they think they want to do is what they really want to do for the rest of their life.” 

“The Job Shadowing Experience allowed for me to choose my career path,” agreed Quessia, who was had her experience with Windsor Police.  “The host really taught me a lot and has provided me with information I wouldn’t have gained on my own.  I’m so thankful that I was able to be a part of such an amazing program.”

The experience gave some students a chance to experience the workforce for the first time.  Ajay, who shadowed at TransForm, indicated that this was his “first time in business” and that the experience encouraged him to pursue a dream job where his “personal and professional passions meet”.

Each participating host was incredible and generous in giving their time and attention to students as they provided fantastic learning opportunities.  "As a campus employee, I am always looking for ways to improve the quality of education for our students,” said Renee Bombardier, Graphic Designer, “If simply doing my job with a sidekick for a day helps a student make better decisions about their career tracks, I'm in. It was quick, easy, fun and I hope I made a difference for one student."

Lisa Wacheski, Curator & Manager of Education, Canadian Transportation Museum & Heritage Village, explained her motivations for participating as a host. “It is important that community organizations and businesses help to mentor and guide our youth in their future career paths by providing learning opportunities which will help them make the right choices for their own future.”

Constable Neil McEachrane, Diversity and Recruitment Officer, saw the experience as mutually advantageous for Windsor Police and students.  “The UWindsor Job Shadow program has been of great benefit to the University as well as the Windsor Police. For us it's another good recruitment tool. Giving our youth a chance to get a great feel for policing helps in our recruitment process.”

Chris Hatt, Manager of Procurement at WDBA, noted that the program prompted reflection in himself as a professional.  “Reflecting on our careers is useful,” he explained, “This program offers the opportunity to do so and help a young student at the same time.”

After the success of this program, CDEL is planning to offer the Job Shadow Experience again in the next Fall term.  After a great experience at the University of Windsor, Shaymaa Zantout recommends the program to other students.  “The Job Shadow Experience was incredibly informative, educational, and practical.  Meeting with a professional in the industry is a rewarding experience that all students should take advantage of.”