To help prepare students to be ready to enter today’s workforce – one that demands they are not just technically skilled but are also flexible, innovative and strong team players – Lethbridge College has developed a set of Student Core Competencies.
In response to feedback from employers and industry, the college’s Centre for Teaching, Learning and Innovation (CTLI) collaborated with a college-wide multidisciplinary team to identify seven core competencies – often described as life skills, professional skills or employment skills – and has created opportunities for students to develop competency in these areas. The college’s core competencies include innovation, problem solving, global citizenship, critical thinking, teamwork and collaboration, communication, and career and personal development.
Core competencies are developed both inside and outside of the classroom, so some can be incorporated into classes by instructors, while students are able to pursue others on their own time. Proficiency in each competency will be recognized with a digital badge from Lethbridge College that can be added to resumes, portfolios or social media sites, such as LinkedIn.
“Knowing these skills are reflected in both classroom learning and everyday experiences,” says Jackie Doherty, Dean, CTLI, “we designed these core competencies, and the learning modules associated with them, to focus on giving students mechanisms to identify and articulate how those experiences help them reason, think critically, creatively and collaboratively to the world around them.”
A working group incorporated feedback from students, staff, instructors and employers to develop the core competencies. Feedback was also sought from additional stakeholder groups, such as Lethbridge College Indigenous Services and technology experts.
“There are so many people involved and excited about this project; it has truly been a grassroots initiative with engagement from many staff, students, instructors and industry members,” says Erin Howard, Associate Dean, CTLI. “People are passionate about sending out well-rounded graduates from Lethbridge College. We recognize a formal credential is only one of the many great takeaways from a college education, and we wanted to give students a way to show the other valuable skills that they learn here. This can help them stand out when applying for jobs and demonstrate where they have excelled, and give detailed examples of exactly what they did to achieve these competencies.”
Engagement and feedback from local employers indicate core competency development is sought-after in new hires. By clearly defining core competencies, Lethbridge College provides students with a well-defined pathway to develop these soft skills and helps students articulate their competency development to employers.
“With increased competition in the job market, ensuring our students are equipped with the relevant skills for success in the workforce is even more critical,” says Megan Hebert, coordinator, Career Development. “By providing students with a clear path to develop these skills, a common language to articulate how they were developed and the guidance to make connections, our students are positioned for success in the workforce of the future.”
Students can learn more about Student Core Competencies and begin earning badges by visiting learninginnovation.ca.