Recognized as one of Greater Toronto's Top Employers
By Richard Yerema and Kristina Leung, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Dec 7, 2017)
Here are some of the reasons why Seneca College was selected as one of Greater Toronto's Top Employers (2018):
- Employees working at Seneca College's main campus can take advantage of a number of onsite amenities, including a quiet room for meditation and religious observance, a cafeteria (featuring healthy and special diet menus), employee lounges, and subsidized access to a fully-equipped fitness facility with a triple gymnasium, ice arena, soccer field and dance studio
- Seneca College supports employees who are new mothers and fathers (including adoptive parents) with generous maternity and parental leave top-up payments of up to 93% of salary, ranging from 36 to 51 weeks
- Seneca College is a champion of diversity and inclusion, and maintains a Diversity and Equity Office which is responsible for education, training, awareness and prevention programs -- additionally, the College supports the employment efforts of new Canadians through its Alternative Career Pathways project
At Seneca, education is for students -- and employees
Charmaine Johnson's role as a Work-Integrated Learning Coordinator at Seneca College revolves around helping students get real-world experience in their fields of study. That means integrating work into theoretical learning in the form of short-term placements at companies and organizations, also known as work terms or co-op placements.
These work-integrated programs have grown and evolved into a key part of what makes Seneca attractive to prospective students from Ontario and abroad. And Johnson, who handles placements in the fields of corporate and technical communications as well as government relations, enjoys being a part of the team that makes them successful.
"I really like the student interaction," she says. "It keeps you young and there's a nice energy that's really invigorating."
In her job, Johnson makes use of her diverse experience and skills. A former high school teacher, she spends time in the classroom showing students how to look for a job, create the best possible CV, and do a strong job interview. Outside the classroom but still on campus, Johnson does one-on-one career planning and counselling.
Off campus, she meets with different employers to arrange and oversee student placements. In this capacity, Johnson's background in public relations comes into play as she builds relationships with the organizations providing students with invaluable experience.
"The work force is changing and has become a lot more casual. I've even gone to some offices and there are dogs running around," says Johnson. "It's a nice opportunity for me to keep abreast of workplace trends in order to keep our programs and students up to date."
Arslan Mahmood, Director of International Services for Seneca International, first came to the college in 1998 as an international student from Pakistan doing a post-Bachelor's certificate in marketing. Like many students, he earned extra money from an on-campus part-time job in the international admissions office.
Upon graduation, he took advantage of the eligibility granted to international students to work temporarily in Canada and found an outside job in marketing and sales. He accumulated enough points to become a landed immigrant and then in 2002, when a position opened up in Seneca's admissions office, he applied and was hired. Mahmood had decided he preferred the stability of a job in education to the ups and downs of the private sector.
After two years in international admissions, Mahmood moved into a new role, recruiting students from around the province. "The opportunity to travel across Ontario was a highlight," he says, describing the road trips he took during his seven years in that job. Seeing the fall foliage and exploring his new country while on the job was so memorable that he recently travelled with his family to Sault Ste. Marie to show them the autumn leaves.
Both Mahmood and Johnson took advantage of Seneca's professional development tuition subsidies for staff to pursue master's degrees in their fields. Johnson studied counselling psychology while Mahmoud completed his graduate degree in leadership through the University of Guelph.
"Leadership and employee development encourages full-time employees to further their education while working at Seneca," says Joseph Crangle, Manager, Leadership and Employee Development. "Employees can receive 50 per cent reimbursement of tuition fees from our Tuition Assistance program. In addition, full-time employees who have worked six years or more at Seneca can apply for a Professional Development leave for one year. Employees can work on credentials or projects that support their roles at Seneca."
As Mahmood was finishing up his MA, he applied successfully for the newly created position of Manager of International Services for Seneca International. After five years he was promoted to Director. "It was a new challenge building the team, serving our international students, reviewing current practices, and implementing changes," he says, noting that Seneca's international student population has more than doubled since 2011, when he took on his current role. "Now I'm the other side, helping international students."