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The Toronto Sun CareerConnection


No shortage of takers for recent graduates

By David Chilton
Special to the Toronto Sun

Toronto's newest crop of health-care workers completed their studies in April, wrote most of their final exams in May, and were handed their certificates and diplomas in June.

In July and August they started their job hunt in earnest. So how are they doing?
Career days and on-campus recruiting fairs are enjoying a boom, with some colleges unable to fit more employers into the space they have available for them.

Snapped up

Exceptionally well, it seems. Public colleges across the GTA say their grads are being snapped up with employment rates of 80% to 90% and even 100% in some occupations. Career days and on-campus recruiting fairs are also enjoying a boom, with some colleges unable to fit more employers into the space they have available for them.

Karen Fast, manager of the career centre at Humber College, says there's no shortage of takers for her grads.

"I'm going to say all of our (health) disciplines have done extremely well," Fast says. U.S. and local hospitals are busy recruiting registered nurses and long-term and acute care facilities are active among registered practical nurses, Fast explains, but it's another program that's going gangbusters.

"Our absolutely biggest and best program is clinical trials and regulatory affairs in the bio-pharma area," says Fast about the one-year graduate certificate course.

Humber's physiotherapy assistants are also in high demand, Fast says, although the market isn't quite as hot for occupational therapists.

Andrew Papadopoulos, director of the public and environmental health program at Ryerson University, says his graduates complete 12 weeks of field training in the summer so he can't offer any anecdotal evidence yet about jobs.

What Papadopoulos can say, however, is that with a couple of exceptions his students all found work placements easily and that's a good indication of how they'll do when they start looking for full time employment.

"It has been very successful this year," Papadopoulos says.

At Seneca College, Pat Hall, chair of Applied Arts and Health Sciences, says 85% of her RN diploma grads (next year RNs must study for a nursing degree) have found employment, as have Seneca's registered practical nurses. Hall bases her assessment on the requests the college has had for references for its graduates. (Actual employment data in all disciplines for all colleges won't be available until the fall or early next year.)

A bit of luck

One of Hall's new graduates is Candice Wilson, an RPN who's working at North York General. Wilson says landing her job was "pretty easy" because she'd done a work placement at the hospital and had a good mentor, but she concedes it's difficult for RPNs just out of college unless they have a bit of luck and a connection.

Two of Wilson's fellow grads know what she means. Elizabeth Wheeler says she found looking for a job frustrating at first because of the emphasis on experience, something she, as a new RPN, didn't have.

Eventually, Wilson landed four interviews and aced two of them, choosing to work for a chain of high profile diet clinics at $18 an hour.

Stephanie Mangos, describes her job search thus: "I found it pretty rough, actually. There's not a lot out there for us."

Mangos, who has a couple of interviews lined up at GTA hospitals, estimates that in June, 85% of her graduating RPN class didn't have jobs.

At Centennial College, which uses as its main employment conduit, health care opportunities have jumped 104% this year over last. Kathleen Winningham, manager of co-operative education and employment resources, says this year job postings stood at 102 versus 56 last year. However, it should be pointed out, says Winningham, that much of that job growth has come from the food and nutrition sector.

So perhaps it's the new blockbuster, joining RPNs and paramedics as undisputed job champions. Last year's official stats showed that students from those programs enjoyed 100% employment within six months of graduation.

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