Dec 8, 2021

Vancouver, BC – For the Indigenous students in the first cohort, the Langara College Job Search Success Course (JSSC) was a step toward planning for the future. While many are still enrolled in part-time or full-time classes, the students were able to look ahead and map out the soft skills their careers might require.

With funding from RBC Foundation, the JSSC – along with access to a Learning Strategist and the laptop lending program - offers Langara’s Indigenous students support, learning tools, and access to technology for online learning. Together, these three initiatives provide students the opportunity to build long term and sustainable study habits, and improve communication, time management, and soft skills. 

Through a series of self-paced assignments and guest speakers, including Langara alumni and industry professionals,   JSSC led students to research and develop a job search strategy that supports their academic and personal interests. Included in this strategy is a detailed resume with a professional profile that can assist the students in their applications and informational interviews along their career journey. Indigenous guest speakers shared their stories of how they came to post-secondary and shifted and adapted to the needs of their communities and the workforce at the time. “I appreciated the Indigenous speakers who came and shared their journey and identity, and to learn the different paths they had taken to get where they were,” said Alicia, studying full-time in the Aboriginal Studies program. “It helped me to identify the familiar threads between their directions.”

Olivia, a third-year student studying in the Associate of Science program, appreciated the course’s flexible format. Two hours per week, with an optional online component, meant that even if she missed a class due to personal commitments she was able to continue her participation. “That was important, and will make the course successful,” she said. “Plus, the course changed as the instructor, Jennifer Reid, got to know us. She was able to apply it in different ways that would make the most sense.”

For Alicia, who plans to transfer to the First Nations and Endangered Languages program at UBC, the practical skills learned changed her previous conceptions about the job-seeking process. “For me, it was a shift in thinking: writing a resume is so different. How do I take my job history and transfer it to an application?”

The students learned the importance of storytelling and how it might apply to a job application. Blair James is completing his first term at Langara College this fall, studying full-time in the Kinesiology program. He learned how to differentiate himself from other applicants in a competition. “Jen emphasized telling our personal stories and attaching them to what we want to do. Making connections and identifying where I want to work is going to be a great strategy,” he added.

“All of the students  are in transition to something better for themselves and the communities they are connected to. In creating their professional profiles, it became clear their motive was to give back, to be the change, and work with Indigenous communities,” said Reid. “These students are truly amazing and it was my gift to help them illuminate their stories and to view their resume as an asset, rather than a laundry list of past jobs and facts.”

For the first students in the program, the future appears a little less cloudy. “The Job Search Success Course contextualized what we’re doing right now so we can see the path, and the bigger picture,” concluded Alicia. “I’m excited to know what this can do for me.”

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About snəw̓eyəɬ leləm̓ Langara College 
Located in beautiful Vancouver, B.C., Canada, snəw̓eyəɬ leləm̓ Langara College provides University, Career, and Continuing Studies education to more than 23,000 students annually. With more than 1,700 courses and 130 programs, Langara’s expansive academic breadth and depth allows students of all ages, backgrounds, and life stages to choose their own educational path. Langara is also known as snəw̓eyəɬ leləm 'house of teachings', a name given to it by Musqueam, on whose unceded traditional territory the College is located.   

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Mark Dawson
Manager, Public Affairs
Langara College