L ast week, BCIT students voted “yes” to expanded career services on campus. The thumbs up came after a week-long referendum at the end of January. The Student Association announced the results by social media shortly after the polls closed, with a tally of 746 for and 412 against.
With the green light to go ahead, the SA will begin the work of setting up a new career centre in SE2. The facility will fill a perceived gap in services connecting students with the jobs they’ve come to BCIT to get says Rebecca Davidson, Student Association president.
“Lots of students come here for careers, and they get the skills for those careers, but sometimes they don’t get the skills to get those careers,” she told Link Magazine. Davidson says the SA proposed the project in response to requests from the student body.
Now that they have the go-ahead, students can expect to see high priority services, such as mentorship programs appearing on campus as early as next fall. Additional facilities and services will then roll out in 2015 and 2016. Once complete, the new centre will include 10 new staff, extended hours, and amenities such as private areas to speak with counsellors and recruiters. Expanded services like networking workshops and career and resume advising, will also be available. Students will have full access to the programs for two years after graduating BCIT.
The price tag for the new services will be an additional $22.50 in fees for full time students, phased in over the next three years. It’s a price Davidson was confident students would be willing to pay. “You’re giving up one case of beer for maybe a better chance at a career,” she said.
Throughout the week, SA representatives fanned out on campus putting up signage, setting up satellite voting stations, and providing incentives like free chili to entice students to vote. The results were positive, and Davidson said that enough votes had been cast by Monday to render results of the poll binding.
However, not everyone was on board with the new fees. Niki Mascharenas told the us, “I think they’re already too high, they’re the same as university fees – it’s unaffordable for a lot of students and a lot of students are going into debt because of it.”
But at the end of the week, students like Stephen Smith from the marketing management program had their way. “For us marketing students we actually have quite a bit of job fairs, and we get a lot of opportunity – so if it’s kind of like that, for other programs, and they don’t get that because of the fee then I would say they should charge us for it,” he said.
The Student Association will now begin the work of getting the program running. In the mean time, students can visit the SA website to see full details of what’s on the horizon.