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Preparing for the Canadian Workplace

  • Preparing for the Canadian Workplace

The following blog post was written by Anne O'Byrne a Mentoring Career Advisor at the Centre for Excellence in Immigrant and Intercultural Advancement.

In our rapidly changing work environment, we are charged with preparing our students for the Canadian workplace.

This month, I participated in a University of Calgary webinar entitled: Preparing Students for the Unknown. The webinar was facilitated by two University of Calgary scholars, Leslie Reid, UCalgary’s interim Vice-Provost of Teaching and Learning and Jay Cross, Director of the new College of Discovery, Creativity and Innovation in UCalgary's Taylor Institute for Teaching and Learning.

The professors shared the Four Cs of 21st century learning that have been identified by the Partnership for 21st Century Skills. The 4 Cs are:

  • Communication: sharing thoughts, questions, ideas, and solutions
  • Collaboration: working together to reach a goal
  • Critical Thinking: looking at problems in a new way, linking learning across subjects and disciplines
  • Creativity: trying new approaches to get things done

In the webinar, Cross and Reid referred to the following research:

  • A study conducted by David Deming on the importance of social skills in the labour market published in the Quarterly Journal of Economic.
  • Edward Hess and Katherine Ludwig's book “Humility is the New Smart: Rethinking Human Excellence in the Smart Machine Age” which describes how to stay relevant in the workplace. The authors suggest we need to develop new smart attitudes including humility which they define as acknowledging you can’t have all the answers and remaining open to new ideas while committing to lifelong learning.
  • The Future of Jobs Report, from the World Economic Forum (March 2016) which listed the top 10 skills required in 2020, which are in essence social and emotional skills:
  1. complex problem solving
  2. critical thinking
  3. creativity
  4. people management
  5. coordinating with others
  6. emotional intelligence
  7. judgement and decision making
  8. service orientation
  9. negotiation
  10. cognitive flexibility. 

This timely webinar reminds us of the challenge to enable our students to develop their social and emotional skills in preparing for the workplace.