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Giving the next generation a leg up

In the middle of a recession, it’s tough enough for people with work experience to get a job, let alone a recent graduate just starting out with no industry contacts.


May 14, 2009
By Jennifer Brown


Topics

To help students in the security-related college programs in
South-Central Ontario get a leg up, in February the Toronto chapter of
ASIS International hosted an event at Humber College — a panel that
would explore the impact of the recession on the industry, and at the
same time expose law and security college students to senior level
professionals and ASIS, an industry association many don’t encounter
until well into their careers.

The Toronto ASIS executive reached out to the college program
coordinators at eight colleges. The colleges were told 40 student ASIS
memberships would be sponsored by various guard force management
companies and Canadian Security, and the chapter would cover the
students’ admission to the event. Centennial, Durham, Georgian, Humber,
Mohawk, Seneca, Sheridan, Fleming College and the Centre for Security
Management were asked to send five of their best (and most eager)
students.

The first notification went out a month in advance advising the
colleges of the opportunity. The ASIS executive were surprised at the
lack of response they initially received from about half of the
colleges. Strange, don’t you think, in a year when such events should
be viewed as golden opportunities?

Especially when so many of those in attendance were former grads. What
career fair would have the heads of security and loss prevention for
some of the top organizations in the country all gathered in one room?

On the night of the event about 35 students attended. This was their
opportunity to ask questions, pass on resumes and shake hands with
potential employers.

Some ASIS members that night had one rule — if students didn’t have a
resume in hand, they didn’t get a business card. When the night was
over, a few students were successful.

The City of London’s Manager of corporate security, Corey Hill, who was
speaking on the panel that night, also ended up hiring a student from
Fleming College for a three-week placement — something she needs to
graduate.

She is shadowing Hill and has accompanied him to meetings with
customers and vendors as well as joining him on physical security
audits and project site visits.

The student has also witnessed the city’s corporate security
technologist troubleshoot security systems, manage locking systems and
complete routine and emergency service requests.

“She introduced herself and asked a lot of questions. She left that
meeting with my (business) card and in March emailed me about a
placement with our division and everything fell into place.”

As Hill says, “Stephanie is a great example of what can come from networking.”

Next time an industry association comes calling, I’m sure the colleges will respond more quickly.
Student success depends on it and in the long run, so does the
reputation and success of the colleges who need to deliver programs and
students the industry can recognize as being top in their class.


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