McGill Alert / Alerte de McGill

Updated: Thu, 07/18/2024 - 18:12

Gradual reopening continues on downtown campus. See Campus Public Safety website for details.

La réouverture graduelle du campus du centre-ville se poursuit. Complément d'information : Direction de la protection et de la prévention.

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The McGill School of Continuing Studies SEED Program Encourages Economic Resilience and Empowers Communities

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As part of our commitment to promoting accessibility to professional education, employment opportunities, enhancing income stability, and empowering underrepresented and underserved communities, McGill University's School of Continuing Studies (SCS) introduced the School’s Experiential Empowerment & Development (SEED) program in 2023. This inspiring community initiative, powered by a generous $2 million gift from Scotiabank, stands as a beacon of opportunity for those facing barriers to economic stability and professional advancement.

The SEED program fortifies the School’s capacity to uplift and support members of local communities and newcomers to Canada.

“Many of our learners, particularly newcomers, come to us while they are holding what we may refer to as survival jobs.” Carola Weil, Dean of Continuing Studies, explains how SEED supports these communities. “The School of Continuing Studies tries to open up transformative opportunities so that someone could switch or grow from a survival job to something that could build out into a career.”

At its core, the SEED program is designed to provide participants with not just academic knowledge but also hands-on experiences and practical workplace skills that are essential for success in today's competitive job market. By leveraging a blend of classroom instruction, mentorship, and experiential learning or internship opportunities, SEED equips individuals with the tools and confidence needed to navigate and excel in professional careers.

One of the key strengths of the SEED program lies in its emphasis on inclusivity and diversity. Recognizing the unique challenges faced by the SEED Fellows , the School offers tailored support and resources to ensure that every participant has the opportunity to thrive. Whether it's through targeted mentorship, networking events, or access to specialized workshops, through SEED the School of Continuing Studies is committed to levelling the playing field and empowering all members of our community.

Empowering Futures: James Alagbe's Journey

Every year, SCS, with the help of local community organizations, will work together to select up to 50 individuals as participants in the program. James Alagbe was part of the inaugural cohort in 2023. James is a dynamic and multifaceted individual whose educational journey has been centred around Applied Microbiology. Currently pursuing a master’s degree in public health epidemiology, James has demonstrated a keen interest in addressing public health challenges through his academic pursuits.

Over the past five years, James has had the privilege of contributing to a diverse array of projects spanning public health, electricity smart metering, logistics, and charity work. His broad range of experiences reflects his adaptability and willingness to explore new avenues for growth and impact. James's experience with the SEED initiative “has been nothing short of transformative”. Highlighting the diversity of skills developed through the program, James says that the “blend of courses, ranging from Agile project management and innovation to communication and interpersonal skills, has had a profound impact on [his] professional trajectory.”

“These skills have not only broadened my horizons but have also equipped me to navigate the complex challenges of today's professional world.” He reflects, “I firmly believe that the knowledge and skills I've acquired through SEED will prove invaluable in shaping my future endeavours.”

Aliona Popova: Global Perspectives, Local Impact

Our SEED fellows are a testament to the strong-willed, intelligent, and resilient community of Montreal. Aliona Popova is a seasoned professional with a rich tapestry of experiences spanning multiple continents. Born in Tajikistan, a country nestled in Central Asia, Aliona's journey has taken her across borders and cultures, shaping her into the globally-minded individual she is today. With a strong academic background, Aliona pursued her studies at prestigious institutions around the world. She earned her master’s degree from the Linguistic University in Minsk, Belarus, where she honed her linguistic skills and received professional training in simultaneous translation at Moscow State Linguistic University, further enhancing her expertise in languages and communication.

When asked about her thoughts on our SEED program, now in hindsight of completing it, Aliona expresses that it is “exactly what our world needs right now: a blend of mindful curiosity, diverse cross-cultural experiences (we've got 21 countries represented in our group), opportunities for personal and professional growth, genuine hands-on networking – all in one place, appreciating the value of every day, every assignment, and every project.” The SEED program serves as a bridge between academia and industry, forging meaningful connections with employers and organizations across various sectors. Through internships, co-op placements, and industry partnerships, SEED participants gain invaluable real-world experience and build crucial professional networks that open doors to future opportunities.

“Everything I've learned here is not only incredibly beneficial but also immediately applicable in real-life scenarios.” Aliona expresses.

Angélique Sanches: Nurturing Change Through SEED

As SEED continues to grow and evolve, it remains steadfast in its mission to cultivate a diverse talent pipeline and drive positive change within our communities. By harnessing the power of education, mentorship, and collaboration, SEED is sowing the seeds of economic resilience and empowerment, one individual at a time.

Angélique Sanches is testament to this. A dynamic professional from the vibrant city of Lyon, France with a background in communication from the renowned EFAP superior school in Lyon, Angelique’s passion lies within community impact. Her project management experience started at a film school where she had the chance to see a full cohort walk in for the first time and graduate.

One of the highlights of Angélique's time at the film school was witnessing the impact of community engagement initiatives. Driven by a desire to make a positive difference in her community, Angélique Sanches is dedicated to applying her skills and experiences to create meaningful impact. The SEED program aligns with her passions, while also equipping her with the tools to further explore her career options.

“I learned a lot of new skills that I put into the services of my work.” Angélique says, “I also gained a lot of confidence in myself and in my projects and objectives.”

The SEED program exemplifies the transformative impact that can be achieved when academia, community, and the business world join forces in pursuit of a common goal. At McGill SCS we care about the quality of education, but also the quality of life of our learners. “I loved my experience at McGill SCS, I never thought I would get a chance to study in Canada, let alone in one of the most prestigious universities. I got the opportunity to meet great people who had one another at heart,” says Angelique looking back at her time at SCS fondly.

Sowing Success, Cultivating Communities: The SEED Initiative Vision

“By empowering individuals to develop crucial career skills, they will be able to better take advantage of the many professional opportunities in Montreal, Quebec, and beyond,” Dean Carola adds. “In many ways what we are doing with the aptly named SEED Initiative is to seed capacity beyond the walls of the School of Continuing Studies.”

Together, we are not only investing in the future success of individuals but also laying the groundwork for a more inclusive and prosperous society. By nurturing talent and fostering collaboration, we sow the seeds of innovation and progress, ensuring that Montreal and Quebec remain vibrant hubs of opportunity and diversity for generations to come.

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