The five-hour event was held in The Coca Cola Court of Toronto’s Mattamy Centre, formerly the Maple Leafs Gardens before it was reopened in 2012 to serve as Ryerson’s athletic complex. The GCM Job Fair, which began in the late-1980s, is now run in a speed-networking format where graduating students and potential interns spend 10 minutes interviewing with prospective employers before moving on to a new table at the sound of a gong.
Based on a curriculum change two years ago, GCM students can now specialize in specific areas like packaging or publishing in the final two years or their four-year degree program. Students can also now complete minors in areas like business, human resources, or professional communications. “For the employers here tonight this is wonderful, because they are now really going to be able to see what the students have chosen to specialize in and see if that really fits what their needs are,” says Gillian Mothersill, who is serving as Acting Chair of Ryerson GCM, while Ian Baitz is on sabbatical for the current school term.
The students sign up ahead of time and companies register in advance of the Job Fair to let GCM administrators and event organizers Taras Karpiuk, Marietta Canlas and Tannisha Lambert know what positions are available. A list of student names is then placed on a designated table for each company to know who they will be interviewing. “Many of the companies who are here tonight are looking for two or three, and in some cases four, employees,” Mothersill explains. “We have some companies here who have two tables because they are interviewing for more than one position.”
Among the 67 GCM graduating students and 130 interns who participated last night, companies will typically have 12 graduates and 12 interns to interview during the Job Fair. Graduating students participate in the first 2-hour session, followed by dinner, before the evening concludes with a 2-hour session for intern interviews.
“The internship program is strong and many fourth-year students already have an inkling around where they would like to work, because they would like to go back to their internship employer,” Mothersill says. “One internship employer told me years ago that internship is like a four-month job interview, ‘We get a chance to look at the student and they get a chance to look at us to see if it is a good fit.’”
GCM’s internship program led by Diana Varma requires third-year students to amass 420 hours of employment in the industry and currently has 154 participants. The internship program allows students to complete work hours in September, when printing companies typically have a larger workload and some students are returning from their hometowns. “Sometimes there are companies that do not come to Job Fair, so they call the school or email us after the fact, ” Mothersill says.
Ryerson’s GCM program continues to grow in enrollment and currently has 602 full-time students, including around 180 who were admitted into their first year for 2015/2016. Ninety-one students are eligible to graduate GCM this year, including several who have already found employment when the term finishes on May 1. “We are still the only Bachelor’s Degree program of this kind in Canada and one of a few in the world,” Mothersill says, “so we are very pleased with our strength.”
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