When people are looking for information about Robertson College, I find that one of the things they are interested in knowing more about is our Career Services that are offered to all the students who attend the school. I took the opportunity to ask Cheryl Stock, the Career Services Administrator at our Robertson College Calgary location, a few questions so that you could understand more about how our Career Services department works.
RR: What is the purpose of a practicum?
CS: Practicums are mandatory to all of our Calgary programs. It is unpaid job experience that allows students to practice what they have been taught in class and potentially put a student's foot in the door of the potential employer. Also, it provides some experience to add to their resume.
RR: How long are practicums?
CS: Practicum lengths vary by programs and can run anywhere from 2-8 weeks.
RR: Do students get a choice of where they do their practicum?
CS: In most cases, yes. There are two programs in Calgary (Health Care Aides and Pharmacy Technicians) where we secure the practicums for them exclusively.
RR: Do students get paid? If not, what if the place they are placed at for practicum wants to pay them something? Or give them gifts?
CS: Practicums are unpaid. We have had several practicum sites give a thank you of cash, gift cards, etc. to students; however it is presented as unpaid. If the practicum host decides to pay the student "something", it is completely up to them.
RR: What kind of places take practicum students?
CS: It depends on the program. The practicum site must be relevant to the program that a student has taken. For example, a Pharmacy Technician student could be placed at any retail location (Shoppers Drugmart, Safeway, etc.) or at a hospital. Health Care Aide students might be placed at long term care facilities, hospitals, or home care facilities. Administrative students could be placed at pretty much any business that uses administrative assistants.
RR: What if a student has a specific place in mind that they would like to do practicum at or what if a business has offered to take a specific student as a practicum student?
CS: As long as the practicum site is relevant and approved by the instructor and Robertson College it is fine.
RR: What happens if a student is unhappy with their practicum before they go? Are there any options?
CS: I believe we would work with the student to ensure it is a good fit. To be honest, I am not sure if I have come across this yet.
RR: What happens if the practicum is not working out? Either the student or the employer are not happy?
CS: It is hard to answer this one. It really depends on why it is not working out. The practicum is mandatory to the program. Students can be removed from the practicum or withdrawn from programs; however we would work with the student and try to get them into an alternate interview if it is possible.
RR: What happens if the employer gives the student a bad report? Can the student do another practicum?
CS: We would usually know if there are issues well before the end of the practicum and try to deal with the issues with the student and practicum host. We have the odd occassion where it was determined that a "re-do" was acceptable.
Thanks for giving your time to answer these questions Cheryl!
*Note that these answers pertain to the Calgary locations and situations might be dealt with differently in our Winnipeg or Brandon locations.