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Careers start here

Employment program aimed at attracting Queen’s Arts and Science graduates to accelerate their careers in Kingston grows into second year.

Queen's graduates who participated in the first QCA:K cohort.
Queen's Career Apprenticeship: Kingston pilot participants (from left to right): Maryam Remtulla, Justin Karch, Carmen Song, Kerstin Juby, Peter O'Donnell, and Jacey Carnegie.

A number of local businesses welcomed new graduates into their ranks recently, under the auspices of Queen’s Career Apprenticeship: Kingston (QCA:K) – a unique employment-funded apprenticeship program designed to provide arts and humanities graduates with career acceleration and strengthen the city’s workforce. On the heels of its successful pilot in 2018, the program placed 19 Queen’s Arts and Science graduates with Kingston-based organizations this month, more than doubling the number of students hired last year.

Our businesses had such a positive experience during the program’s pilot that even more local companies have approached us to participate in the second cohort,” says Donna Gillespie, CEO, Kingston Economic Development Corporation, noting that 29 companies signed on hoping to secure a successful 2019 graduate, up from 15 last year. “It is clear that the demand for arts and humanities students is growing, and initiatives like this help to connect the talent coming out of Queen’s University with local businesses.

Participating organizations span a diverse range of sectors, including the property management, retail and sales, consultancy, technology and software development, and more. Notable organizations who hired this year include Limestone Analytics, Providence Care, Kingstonist, The Power Collective, Benefits by Design, and Makeship. Together, the combined salaries of 2019 QCA:K hires amounts to over $720,000 – averaging $38,000 per graduate for the year.

Increased employer interest in the program is not the only upward trend either. The number of student applicants this year increased 96 per cent over last.

“The amount of interest we’ve received from students signals a real appetite for experiential learning opportunities that will lend to a graduate’s long-term career success,” says Barbara Crow, Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Science. “It also shows us that Queen’s students are open to settling right here in Kingston, should they be presented with competitive and enriching job opportunities.

Graduates placed through QCA:K come from a variety of disciplines, like Political Studies, English Language and Literature, Drama, Global Development Studies, Philosophy, Economics, and more within the arts and humanities.

QCA:K emerged as a joint project between the university’s Faculty of Arts and Science and the Kingston Economic Development Corporation after discussions with Queen’s benefactor Alan Rottenberg, who wanted to fund efforts that would accelerate the careers for talented students with bachelor of arts degrees. With this support, local employers who committed to hiring new graduates for a minimum of a one year, on a full-time basis would be reimbursed for four months of a student’s salary, up to $4,000 per month.  The apprentices, during their first year of their career, benefited from seasoned entrepreneurs and business leaders through the mentorship component of the program. This year, those apprentices that have just completed their apprenticeships will step into the mentorship role and provide guidance to those in the 2019 cohort.

An event was held for the QCA:K participants on Thursday, May 9, that celebrated the 2018 apprentices and employers as well as recognized the incoming apprentice cohort. Representatives from Queen’s, Kingston Economic Development Corporation, and the local business community were present.

Visit the website to learn more about the QCA:K program.