This section describes the Experiential Certificate in the Social and Non-Profit Sector including logistics, content, evaluations, learnings and reflections.
In response to sector and faculty feedback indicating that students could benefit from professionalization and preparation for experiential learning, Laurier's Career Centre developed the Experiential Certificate in the Social and Non-Profit Sector to ensure that students could access a meaningful experiential learning opportunity within the Non-Profit sector, and be equipped with the necessary knowledge and skills to succeed. The program was piloted with a group of first-year students living in residence at Laurier. Recruitment of participants was done through email messaging (to explain the goals, benefits and logistics of the program), a poster and postcard in residence.
What is the certificate?
This Experiential Certificate in the Social and Non-Profit Sector prepares you with the skills and knowledge required to contribute in a volunteer role or embark (at an entry level) on a Non-Profit career path, offering:
A guided exploration into your own values and workplace preferences
An orientation to the social and non-profit sector
An exploration of professional and workplace expectations
An experiential learning opportunity, and
A reflection on your experience and learnings
This is a pilot program, available exclusively to your cohort through residences across Laurier's Waterloo and Brantford campuses. Through your participation and feedback, you will have the unique opportunity to help us shape this program for future participants. There are a number of reasons why this certificate could be instrumental in your life…
Why should I complete this certificate?
Understand yourself better.
This program will help you to better understand yourself and your values. This understanding is foundational in placing you on a meaningful and satisfying career path. What makes you happy? What makes you proud? What type of work environment brings out the best in you? No expert can provide you with answers to these questions. We must each take that learning journey for ourselves.
It is through lived experience and reflection that we test our assumptions, try out new skills and ultimately, learn about where we fit. This is the time in your academic career to begin a deeper exploration of who you are, what you want or need in a career, and how you can contribute within your community. The non-profit sector and your introduction to the sector afforded through this course will get you started on that path.
Understand the Non-Profit and Social sector.
There are over 700 employers in the social and non-profit sector in Waterloo Region and Brantford alone and over 170,000 non-profit organizations across Canada. Non-profits support our quality of life and well-being in addition to sustaining over 2 million Canadian careers in Social services, Research, Health, Environmental Sustainability, Recreation, International development, Spirituality and Education.
This program will help you to understand the scope, history and future directions of the Non-Profit sector. It will also highlight the unique challenges faced by Non-profits, which you can help the sector rise to through your contribution of time, skills and innovation. This is a sector which has a place for everyone--Social Sciences, Humanities, Music, Business and STEM students alike.
Learn professionalism and workplace preparedness.
Not only will this program teach you about what you might expect in a Non-Profit workplace; it will explore essential skills and competencies that are universally applicable across work environments. You will get the inside scoop on the behaviours, practices and approaches to communication that lead to professional success and longevity.
You'll also gain an understanding of how to transform your volunteer experience into your resumé and marketing tools and how to invest in your professional network throughout the duration of your educational and volunteer career paths and beyond.
This course equips you in the end with a certificate that demonstrates to employers your investment and preparation in the Non-Profit sector. Further, the insights and experiences that you gain through this program and your engagement in the Non-Profit sector will help you to shine in future job interviews!
Apply your knowledge with a hands-on Experiential Learning opportunity.
Try your hand at solving a problem, while taking into account the values, mission, resources and clientele of the organization to which you are assigned. This exercise will help you to appreciate the complexity of issues faced by non-profits in creatively solving problems and planning for the future of their organization and their sector.
Take your experience to a deeper level through the process of reflection.
One of the key elements that distinguishes an experience from experiential learning is the act of critical reflection. This program teaches you to analyze a situation from many angles, to question your assumptions and reactions, to look at the systems that influence peoples' lives and think about how we can work with an organization, a cause or an individual in a way that builds empowerment and sustainability. All of this and more goes into the process of reflection, which, with enough practice will become second nature to you. It will enhance your ability to see and approach issues with greater insight and depth.
Learn about the many ways that Laurier supports you as you set out on your career path.
If all of this talk of volunteering, career planning and reflection have you feeling a little overwhelmed, fear not! Laurier offers a number of resources to assist you every step of the way, from researching and securing volunteer opportunities, to reflecting on what you've gained through these experiences, to updating your resumé, and much more. Throughout the program, you will learn about where to go on campus for outstanding help and support.
When and where is the certificate being offered and how can I register?
The certificate is being offered each term. The format is 4 workshops, in addition to one experience and one reflection, which are scheduled over the course of the learning period.
The workshop will be facilitated by staff from Laurier's Career Centre and will be offered during various days and times.
Print Marketing Tools
Poster - This poster was displayed in each residence floor. Postcard - This post card was distributed to students in the residence leadership program during their final workshop.