Recognized as one of Alberta's Top Employers (2017)
By Richard Yerema and Kristina Leung, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Mar 21, 2017)
Here are some of the reasons why Lakeland College was selected as one of Alberta's Top Employers (2017):
- Lakeland College supports employees who are new mothers with maternity leave top-up payments (to 95% of salary for up to 12 weeks) and offers the option to extend their leave into an unpaid leave of absence -- additionally, the college offers the convenience of onsite daycare for when employees are ready to return to work
- Lakeland College employees enjoy a full suite of onsite amenities including a cafeteria (with healthy and special-diet menus), a quiet room for meditation and religious observance, an employee lounge and a state-of-the-art fitness facility, featuring instructor-led classes, an indoor pool, a climbing wall, and squash and racquetball courts
- As part of its role as an educator, Lakeland College encourages ongoing employee development with subsidies for tuition and professional accreditation, and financial bonuses for some course completion
Lakeland College helps employees grow as leaders
As President of Lakeland College, Alice Wainwright- Stewart is committed to giving employees opportunities to grow and develop. Having started at Lakeland three decades ago and risen to the top job, she wants others to benefit from the kind of mentoring and leadership training she received.
"Each position I've taken, I've always liked the position I left," says Wainwright-Stewart, who went from instructor of human services to department chair to dean to vice-president to President in 2015. She was grateful when others saw potential and encouraged her to move up the ladder.
Wainwright-Stewart also received financial support through Lakeland's professional development program as she took steps to get the skills she needed. Along with taking courses at Harvard and Stanford, she is now completing a doctorate in education from the University of Liverpool. "Our college is very interested in online opportunities for students," she says. "I now know from firsthand experience the barriers and issues students face online."
Whether working with employees or students, mentoring while providing opportunities to explore new ideas is a priority at Lakeland. Wainwright-Stewart notes that the college's student-managed farm and student-led childcare centre are a few examples of student-managed ventures developed by faculty for students. "We allow our students to take the lead and we provide support as needed."
When SarahJayne Biglieni arrived at Lakeland College in 2003, she was there to take a four-month program in dairy farming, and then return to Manitoba to run her family's farm. She quickly transferred into livestock production, a two-year diploma program. After that, she signed up for an agribusiness diploma where she discovered her interest in sales and marketing.
When the college offered her a job as a recruitment advisor, she jumped at the chance to travel Alberta and Saskatchewan spreading the word about Lakeland's hands-on programs.
At just 23, Biglieni was promoted to supervisor, managing a small staff, balancing the budget, and still doing some recruitment trips. "There are times when I feel I was maybe too young, but I worked with the late Phil Allen who was an amazing mentor and supervisor," she says. "I do believe I became much better at my job because of him and his guidance."
Recently, she made a big change, becoming an academic advisor for agriculture sciences. "There are lots of different opportunities available for employees. It's a diverse team with all types of backgrounds." While she found her niche at Lakeland College - where she came for four months and stayed 14 years - the family farm is now in the capable hands of her younger brother, also a Lakeland alum.