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Sheridan introduces bursary to support innovative field placements

May 12, 2021

Recognizing the unique challenges surrounding work-integrated learning (WIL) during the COVID-19 pandemic, Sheridan has created a bursary to support students who participated in unpaid field placements or mandatory professional practice during the winter semester.

Hundreds of students are expected to benefit from Sheridan’s Innovative Field Placement Bursary, which will award up to $1,200 to eligible students who were participating in a placement with a Canadian employer or community partner at any point between the dates of January 15, 2021 and April 30, 2021. The bursary is funded in part by the Government of Canada’s Innovative Work-Integrated Learning Initiative (IWIL) and Co-operative Education, Work-Integrated Learning (CEWIL) Canada’s Innovation Hub (iHUB), which recently granted Sheridan $430,000 to support curricular WIL focusing primarily on field placements.

“Our students, employers and community partners have complied with various regional and provincial public health measures in order to conduct these placements, including converting in-person work to remote positions. That created many unexpected costs associated with innovating WIL during the pandemic, such as the need to purchase technology to participate in a remote placement,” says Joanne Islip, Manager of Work-Integrated and Experiential Learning Services. “When CEWIL iHUB released their grant application, we jumped at the opportunity to find another way to support our students, and we are so appreciative that our bursary program was approved. This bursary will support Sheridan students across more than 20 different programs who participated in unpaid placements, helping students practice their skills and grow their competencies through exceptional WIL experiences.”

Funds from the CEWIL iHUB grant will exclusively support domestic students, while support of international students will come from additional funds that Sheridan contributed to the bursary. The grant also provided a recognition fund of up to $500 to several employers and community partners who enhanced student placement programs. “Our staff, faculty and students are thrilled and grateful that we were able to recognize the individual efforts of not only our domestic and international students, but also the employers and community partners that provided innovative placement experiences,” Islip says.

IWIL and CEWIL granted an additional $5,200 towards a WIL partnership between Sheridan’s Honours Bachelor of Health Sciences – Kinesiology and Health Promotion degree program and Home Suite Hope, an Oakville-based charity that helps single-parent families facing homelessness access long-term housing and supports beyond what emergency shelters can provide. Sheridan’s Faculty of Applied Health and Community Studies (FAHCS) applied for the grant to provide financial assistance to three students participating in a field placement at Home Suite Hope and purchase personal training equipment for Home Suite Hope clients.

“Many fitness and health and wellness facilities have been forced to suspend operations during the pandemic, which has had a direct impact on work-integrated learning opportunities for our Kinesiology and Health Promotion students,” says Lindsay Anderson, Director, Clinical and Experiential Learning in FAHCS. “While this has been challenging, it has also inspired innovative and meaningful initiatives that have paved the way for new partnerships and projects, such as our partnership with Home Suite Hope. These iHUB grant funds will afford students equal opportunity to purchase new technology, software and equipment while improving access to services for the community for years to come.”

The Innovative Field Placement Bursary is just one of several initiatives Sheridan has launched in order to financially support students during the pandemic. When the pandemic was first declared last March, Sheridan acted quickly to help more than 7,000 domestic and international students cover basic needs and unexpected costs related to COVID-19. Sheridan has also introduced a Quarantine Support Bursary that will provide up to $1,200 of financial assistance to eligible international students who are impacted by the government’s mandatory three-day hotel stopover measure.

The opinions and interpretations in this publication are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Government of Canada or Co-operative Education and Work-Integrated Learning Canada.

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