Graduate Studies Launches Career-Development Pilot

November 05, 2013

While a post-graduate degree might help shortlist students for their dream job, there’s more to securing a satisfying career—in business, academia or research—than having the right disciplinary knowledge.

It doesn’t hurt, for example, to understand what your career possibilities might be, to be able to successfully communicate your strengths and experience, or to have special skill sets such as project-management skills.

That’s why SFU Graduate Studies recently developed a program that includes a non-credit certificate for graduate students and post-doctoral fellows who want to be able to add these softer skills to their resumes.  And have something concrete to show for it.

The non-credit APEX (Advanced Professional Engagement and Exploration) certificate program—created in partnership with Career Services, the Teaching and Learning Centre, the Research Commons and the Graduate Student Society—was launched as a pilot in September.

“We’ve created a unique program whereby like-minded students and postdocs attend sessions together and stay connected during the duration of the program with the use of Canvas, SFU’s online learning system,” says Sue Hampton, coordinator of professional development programs.

“In addition to gaining skills in teaching, management and research, participants get the time to really reflect on their possible future, share with each other and be more strategic about their career direction.”

As an added benefit, participants will receive a certificate that is recorded on their co-curricular record, which is accepted documentation for prospective employers of the soft skills acquired through the APEX program. It’s the first SFU program to offer the co-curricular record to graduate students and postdoctoral fellows.

The certificate pilot, involving 50 students and wrapping up in May, is an opportunity to work out any issues, says Graduate Studies dean Wade Parkhouse.  “Eventually, we’d like to be accommodate 1,000 students.”

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