May 29 2002 -
Fifty business and community leaders united yesterday in an effort to address a shortage
of student work experience opportunities for Ontario's 700,000+ students in grades 9 to 12.
A part of the Provincial Partnership Council's Passport to Prosperity
campaign, the employers involved included: Donald Jackson, Chair of The Provincial
Partnership Council and Chairman, Parkview Capital; Barbara Stymiest, CEO of the TSX
Group of Companies (Toronto Stock Exchange); Catherine Swift, Chair, President and CEO
of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business; and, Dave Santi, Manager, Human
Resources Development, Dofasco Inc.
They issued a challenge to other organizations to offer workplace experience to Ontario's
high school students.
Barabara Stymiest said: "My colleagues and I at the TSX have been benefiting from high school and
university student interns for a long time, and I know that as part of
Passport to Prosperity we will have the chance to build on that success. Many of our 4,000
listed companies have similar experiences in working with students, and know full well the value that they bring to the
Every school board in Ontario is now required to offer school-work
transition opportunities to all interested students. Opportunities range
from career talks, job shadowing to longer co-operative education or
apprenticeship programs. To meet this increased demand, schools need more
employers willing to provide work experiences.
"These experiences are not only worthwhile to students, but employers as
well," said Donald Jackson. "School-work transition programs can help build
the talent pool, offer companies a cost-effective solution to recruiting,
training and retaining younger workers, and provide existing employees the
opportunity to improve their own skills in communication, team work and
Work experience programs are aimed at better preparing students to make
the transition from high school to work, apprenticeship, college and
university. To assist employers in facilitating school-work partnerships,
business-education councils in communities across the province work with
organizations and local school boards.
Thousands of employers across the province currently participate in
school-work transition programs, building on the education students receive in
the classroom. By partnering with the schools today, employers are helping to
develop a skilled labour force for tomorrow.
"We have been graced with some extraordinary individuals," said Thomas
Flanagan, President and Chief Operating Officer, BMO InvestorLine. "Students
are an incredible resource for us and we have, in fact, hired a number of them
when they completed high school. We would encourage any employer looking for
young, creative talent to come forward and involve their organization in these
The Provincial Partnership Council was established in 1999 to bring together
the expertise of key leaders from private, public, and voluntary sectors,
representing various regions across the province. The Council's objective is
to increase employer commitment to provide high school students with school-
work opportunities including job shadowing, cooperative education,
apprenticeship, work experience and school-work transition programs.