The millennial generation — that’s us — is increasingly turning to career coaches to “get their careers in motion, ditch dead-end jobs, and pursue their passions,” according to an article in the Toronto Star.
With young people turning to career coaching,<em> Imprint </em>turned to UW’s Co-operative Education and Career Action (CECA) to gauge how much support UW offers their current students and alumni. Kerry Mahoney, director of career action and international employment, said, “I wonder whether [these] students had engaged with their career centres.” She pointed out that career coaches have “[many] things in common with what we do.” Students at UW pay for the services provided by CECA as part of their student services fee in their termly tuition charge. CECA offers many services ranging from resume building to mock interviews to how to talk to one’s family about a career change, and can help with finding a solution to a career one may not enjoy. Although CECA is a resource available for students, Mahoney stressed that students should not expect to find answers to all their questions when they come, but guidance, instead. “Don’t come to us for the answers, but we can help you with the thinking and get you asking … about things which will help you do some research and come to your own conclusions,” Mahoney said. When questioned about CECA’s three-appointment limit on any topic, such as resume improvements and mock interviews, Mahoney pointed out “we are educators as well,” and the goal of CECA is arming the clients, students and alumni, with the knowledge and skills to “manage that topic [themselves].” However, Mahoney said, “We do make exceptions [to the three-appointment rule].” It isn’t just undergraduate students that CECA assists; they also have services available for graduate students, masters students, and PhD students. “We have two career advisers who work only with masters and PhD students on both academic job search [professorial route] and non-academic [industry],” Mahoney said. In addition, CECA has two full-time career advisers who work with students looking to get into graduate or professional schools. UW also has services committed to alumni. There are two alumni career advisers on staff, while some other post-secondary institutions still lack this service. Alumni can schedule an unlimited number of appointments with these advisers to seek assistance in finding a job, or guidance if they’re considering a career change. Mahoney said the overall data collected during appointment surveys, workshop evaluations, and drop-in surveys completed after a student’s experience with CECA suggest that there are “quite substantive gains … that [students] have learned, and that they are motivated.”