Selkirk College is recognizing the importance employers place on soft skills with Co-Curricular Record (CCR), a new program that supports invaluable post-secondary learning taking place outside the classroom.
When students return to campus this fall, they will be able to earn official co-curricular credit for participating in organized activities that help hone employable skills.
Mahala Morris is going into her third year of the Rural Pre-Medicine Program at Selkirk College. Her involvement in the Student Ambassador Program has enhanced her college experience and her resume.
“When employers are hiring into their organization, they are drawn to that well-rounded candidate who has more than the qualified skills and industry knowledge to do the job,” says Selkirk College Vice President of Students & Advancement John Kincaid. “Employers want communication and leadership skills, a team player and problem solver, someone with emotional intelligence.”
Employers feel more confident when assessing the value of an out-of-classroom experience such as being club president, offering campus tours to prospective students or community volunteering if they know the co-curricular activity is recognized and supported by the institution.
To address this need, CCR is growing in use at post-secondaries. Early adopters around the turn of the century were Brock University, Laurier University, Durham College and the University of Calgary. Today, close to 50 schools across Canada either have a co-curricular program or are in the process of launching one.
Providing a Well-Rounded Experince
CCR programming provides students with diverse opportunities to engage in non-academic activities identified as fostering personal growth and development, developing employable skills, and enhancing transferable abilities beyond what is recognized on the student’s academic transcript. They also encourage a well-rounded post-secondary experience where students get out of it what they put in.
Mahala Morris was a Student Ambassador at Selkirk College during the 2016-18 school years. She was eager to be active on campus to bolster her application to med-school but also to enrich her education.
"I was able to connect with so many more students than I would have met if I had my nose in the books all the time," she says. "I was also able to practice my people skills as I helped students problem solve. I enjoyed being a leader on campus and I value those skills as well."
Morris welcomes an official recognition of experiences, adding that a CCR will fit nicely in a med-school application.
Students and alumni can use their official CCR document to showcase skill development by including it as supporting documentation in portfolios and application packages for employment, further post-secondary/graduate school, or scholarships and bursaries.
After participating in their organized activity, students are asked to choose up to five learning outcomes gained from the experience such as teamwork, communication, critical thinking and self-awareness. Then they write a reflection on how they achieved these outcomes.
“It’s one thing for a student to tell a potential employer that they have leadership skills, says Olga Sherstobitoff, Co-op Education & Employment Services Assistant. “A co-curricular record helps our students illustrate the story of their learning. I am a strong leader because…”
CCR programming is part of a larger effort to bolster work readiness of all students at Selkirk College through career education, work experience, co-op education and job search assistance offered through Co-op Education & Employment Services.
According to the BC Labour Market Outlook, 48 per cent of the 917,000 job openings between 2017 and 2027 will be filled by people entering the workforce for the first time.