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Professional development in the time of COVID-19

By Grace Tatigian

Post-pandemic, employment may look quite different.

This is something that will affect not only students who are about to graduate, but everyone who is looking for work.

Because the School of Graduate Studies has been providing professional development support to its students for many years, they want to make those resources available to the community in this difficult time.

Enhanced Development of the Graduate Experience

Julie Bowering
Photo: Submitted

“Enhanced Development of the Graduate Experience (EDGE) is a platform offering workshops and resources designed to help graduate students build diverse skills and competencies for success in graduate school and beyond,” said Julie Bowering, the career development co-ordinator for the School of Graduate Studies.

“It promotes “whole-person learning,” and with this in mind, all our offerings are now online and open to the public free of charge.”

The Enhanced Development of the Graduate Experience website allows anyone to register for workshops on a variety of topics related to professional development.

This opportunity began in April and will continue until September.

Sessions cover topics from career assessment tools and resumé writing skills to select workshops from the Entrepreneurship Training Program.

Ms. Bowering says the feedback they’ve received to date has been “incredibly positive” and participation is growing rapidly. In fact, the participation rates are higher than she has ever seen them.

“Attendees have consistently expressed that gaining open access to EDGE events has been invaluable to their professional and academic development during these uncertain times.”

Entrepreneurship Training Program

A large number of the available EDGE sessions come from the Entrepreneurship Training Program (ETP) – this is no coincidence.

Job hunting will likely be challenging post-pandemic and as such, the School of Graduate Studies wants to inspire members of the community to consider this time as an opportunity to start their own business.

Many aspiring entrepreneurs cite lack of time as the reason for why they never started working on their business idea.

The School of Graduate Studies is providing these sessions to encourage people to use the time to make the best of a bad situation.

Mandy Penney, an active participant in the St. John’s startup community, was one of the first people to sign up for the workshops.

Mandy Penney
Photo: Submitted

“I have been exploring starting a business for a few years now,” explains Penney.

“COVID-19 has caused me to have more time on my hands than usual. Therefore, I was looking for opportunities to fill my time and help me further my skills until we can return to our normal routines.”

These sessions are designed to give participants knowledge and access to resources to inspire them to finally take the first steps towards starting their own business.

“I was ecstatic when I heard that these sessions were available to the general public!” said Ms. Penney.

“I have been interested in ETP for a while now. As I was not a graduate student, I have not been able to participate in the program until now. I will not start my MBA until September, so these sessions give me the opportunity to study entrepreneurship while I wait to enter grad school.”

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