Is your business or organization experiencing challenges recruiting new talent, especially younger employees with the skills you need? Are you interested in opportunities and funding to groom job seekers and students as potential future employees?
If so, you’ll want to attend the Experiential Learning Fair, a free information session and trade show presented by the Workforce Development Board/Local Employment Planning Council (WDB/LEPC) on Friday, November 8th at the Holiday Inn Peterborough-Waterfront in downtown Peterborough.
Experiential learning is a way for job seekers and students to get hands-on experience with a business, helping to ensure the next generation of employees enters the workforce with the competencies and skills businesses need.
Apprenticeships, cooperative work placements, and summer student programs are just a few examples of experiential learning.
“There isn’t a lot of awareness about experiential learning,” says Rachel Brown, WDB/LEPC community development and communications coordinator. “Co-op and apprenticeship programs are starting to become such an integral part of education. We have to bridge the gaps somewhere and make people aware of the programs, the funding, and everything that’s out there to support employers and the people looking for opportunities.”
The Experiential Learning Fair will not only demonstrate the practical benefits of experiential learning for employers, but will also provide opportunities for businesses to connect with local organizations providing both the opportunities and funding for experiential learning.
To make this event invaluable for employers, WDB/LEPC has brought together guest speakers and trade show exhibitors from a wide range of local economic development organizations, post-secondary institutions, and employment service agencies from across Peterborough, Northumberland, Kawartha Lakes, and Haliburton.
“The day is broken up into two parts,” Brown explains. “The first part is about getting first-hand knowledge. Presenter topics range from their own experience with experiential learning in their workplace and how it’s benefited them to the scope of experiential learning opportunities available, as well as highlights from WDB/LEPC’s experiential learning report.”
“The next part of the day is about networking — bridging connections with the people who are focused on experiential learning.”
The morning begins with breakfast and networking, followed by presentations and guest speakers that include Heather Reid, operations director of Abbey Gardens in Haliburton, a not-for profit charity that promotes sustainable living, local food, and renewable energy.
Reid will share her story about offering experiential learning opportunities at Abbey Gardens and the benefits the organization has seen as an employer.
Other speakers from Trent University and Fleming College will explain how experiential learning opportunities are becoming an integral part of many post-secondary educational programs, while speakers from Peterborough & the Kawarthas Economic Development and the Innovation Cluster will describe the scope of experiential opportunities that are supported by industry partners.
Representatives from VCCS Employment Services and Employment Planning and Counselling will provide an overview of the employer supports currently available to local businesses, and the WDB/LEPC will also present findings from a report on experiential learning they completed earlier this year — a report that prompted the creation of the Experiential Learning Fair.
Following lunch, the afternoon trade show will connect employers with a variety of local organizations that provide specific opportunities or funding to support experiential learning.
At the trade show, business owners can also learn more about the employer benefits of hosting students and job seekers in the workplace through experiential learning programs.
The Experiential Learning Fair is a unique opportunity for employers, from small businesses to large organizations, to find out everything they need to know about experiential learning and to network with key local organizations that can support it.
All of this can happen in a single day and at no cost other than the investment of your time — an investment that will pay dividends by increasing the pool of qualified employees and quite possibly saving your business money in the future.
The free event runs from 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Friday, November 8th at the Holiday Inn Peterborough-Waterfront (150 George St. N., Peterborough). To register, visit eventbrite.ca/e/experiential-learning-fair-information-session-trade-show-tickets-71548311927.
If you are interested in hearing the morning presentations but are unable to attend in person, a webinar option is also available. Register for further instructions about participating online.
This project is funded in part by the Government of Canada and the Government of Ontario.
This story was created in partnership with WDB/LEPC.