Recognized as one of Canada's Top Employers for Young People (2018)
By Kristina Leung and Richard Yerema, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Feb 8, 2018)
Here are some of the reasons why Baycrest Health Sciences was selected as one of Canada's Top Employers for Young People (2018):
- Baycrest offers a 12-week paid summer research internship, providing undergraduate students an opportunity to work in the laboratory of a Rotman Research Institute scientist -- the program also features an 8-week "Summer Rounds Series" to share advice and insight on careers in academia and research
- In partnership with George Brown College, Baycrest's Centre for Education and Knowledge Exchange in Aging created "Top Chef Dysphagia", an initiative to encourage culinary management nutrition students, speech language pathologists and registered dieticians to work together to improve care and service to older adults with swallowing and nutritional issues
- Through Baycrest's Youth Job Shadowing Program, high school and undergraduate students can meet healthcare professionals and observe their daily work environment -- examples of participating vocations include speech language pathologists, social workers, pharmacists, imaging technicians, dieticians, physicians and physiotherapists
Baycrest builds a multi-generational workforce
As a global leader in geriatric healthcare, brain health and aging, Baycrest Health Sciences believes strongly in the importance of having younger people in its workforce. Employees, students and volunteers of all ages are key to the growth and development of the Toronto-based institution, which helps to break down barriers that limit younger generations' contact with older adults.
One of the ways Baycrest brings younger people into the organization is through its youth volunteer program. Students in elementary school participate in Baycrest's music and art programs. Those in high school can complete community service hours at Baycrest and also gain valuable work experience in areas of interest ranging from culture to patient care to research.
"The volunteer program is one way to introduce people, get them excited about healthcare and the work we do. They have opportunities to make a meaningful difference working with the patients and residents," says Joni Kent, Executive Vice President, Corporate Services & Chief Human Resources Officer.
In any given year, approximately 250 young people volunteer at Baycrest's north Toronto campus. Some of them, like Registered Dietitian Rebecca Bergel, eventually return there to work.
Bergel started out at Baycrest when she was in grades 7 and 8, taking a feeding course that enabled her to work as a feeding volunteer. That experience helped confirm her hunch that nutrition and fitness would be a good career option for her.
After graduating with a degree in kinesiology, Bergel worked in rehabilitation, then completed a second degree in nutrition. Eager to return to Baycrest, which had a big impact on her, she accepted a part-time position as a nutritionist.
By this time, Bergel had also started a family, which included a daughter and younger identical twin boys. Working full-time was a challenge, so she appreciated a position that allowed her to maintain a work-life balance.
Over the years, Bergel, says she has learned a lot from Baycrest's clients, as they're known. She's been consistently impressed by their work ethic and impacted by the tragic tales of Holocaust survivors. "They really appreciate you so much," she says. There's also a genuine sense of community, as Baycrest hospital clients stay longer than patients at acute-care hospitals, helping to build stronger relationships.
Bergel is currently a special projects dietitian whose tasks include updating the menu and planning for special holiday meals with traditional foods that appeal to Baycrest's population. Last Chanukah, for example, latkes, jelly donuts and special cookies were all on the menu. "These little things make such a difference," she explains. "We order them specially to try to improve quality of life."
Along with former volunteers, Baycrest often ends up employing from the large pool of student trainees on its campus. At the university and post-graduate levels, Baycrest offers a wide variety of opportunities to more than 1,500 students who train there each year. These students and recent graduates from around the globe actively participate in small group learning focused on aging, and clinical issues in geriatrics and gerontology. They work alongside the world's top brain scientists and healthcare professionals.
Kent says that students who go on to apply for permanent roles at Baycrest "have done their homework and know what kind of area they want to focus on. When they are with us at Baycrest, we want to show young people how enriching it can be to have contact with older adults."
For employees who want to further their education, funds are available for conferences, workshops, courses and travel abroad to help expand and enhance their skills. In addition, Baycrest offers tuition assistance and learning awards.
"It's always great when people are going away and learning, and then coming back," says Kent. "Fresh perspectives and new ideas are essential for the development and growth of our organization. It produces a better outcome for our clients."