How do you get a job
without experience? But how do you get experience without a job?
It’s an age-old question for students, even continuing
education students. They’re back at school because they’re underemployed, want
to move up in their careers or are looking to switch industries.
To tackle this Catch-22,
McMaster University is the first in Canada to give continuing education
students live, industry project-based learning with leading experiential
learning partner Riipen Networks. Usually reserved for undergraduate-level
students, this partnership gives McMaster continuing education students
unmatched opportunities to take the theories learned in class and apply them to
real challenges presented by industry partners.
“This is a huge value-add for our students,” says Dan
Piedra, Assistant Director, McMaster University Centre for Continuing
Education. “Nothing brings course material to life like actually working to
solve a real business problem for a partner company. And beyond the value in
the classroom, this kind of experiential learning is extremely useful for students,
providing an opportunity for deeper networking with professionals in their industry
as well as the option to build a project portfolio which is key for job search.”
"We're proud to be working with McMaster to kick off
Riipen's first formal partnership with a continuing education program,” says
Dana Stephenson, Co-Founder, Director of Academic Partners, Riipen. “We're
committed to expanding experiential learning opportunities for students of all
profiles and backgrounds, and we see this commitment matched at McMaster in the
university’s enthusiasm for creating new pathways to career readiness for their
students. Gone are the days of dated textbook case studies on fake companies with
no real-world application."
During the pilot phase, students in the Human Resources
Management program created employee handbooks, new employee onboarding plans
and employee engagement strategies for industry partners which included
Piller’s Fine Foods, Dana Hospitality, Hamilton YWCA, Nurse Next Door, Build it
by Design and the Radiation Safety Institute of Canada.
In person and online courses have been redesigned to fully
incorporate the experiential learning project in the latter weeks of the
course. The group project element also replaces exams in several of the
Along with adding to the existing Human Resources Management
courses, McMaster plans to roll out experiential learning projects in several
program areas by the end of
For more information: McMasterCCE.ca/experiential-learning; Riipen.com
Dan Piedra: PiedraD@mcmaster.ca
Tonie Granata: firstname.lastname@example.org