BY ALEX RIESE
For many, postsecondary education is the first step to a career. And, according to Conestoga College’s graduate employment report, students at Conestoga are on sturdy ground.
The report is collected on behalf of the Ontario Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities to evaluate how effective post-secondary institutions are at preparing graduates for the working world. The most important statistic is the overall hiring rate, which details the percentage of Conestoga graduates who find employment within six months of graduation. The report also includes statistics for graduate satisfaction, employer satisfaction with graduates and a breakdown of average starting salaries for each career.
According to the graduate employment report, Conestoga College boasts an average hiring rate of 88.9 per cent, which exceeds the hiring rate of every college in southwestern Ontario. Additionally, 83 per cent of Conestoga’s graduates expressed satisfaction with Conestoga’s preparation for employment, which ranks first amongst Ontario colleges. Ninety-two per cent of employers also expressed satisfaction with the preparedness of Conestoga graduates they hired.
Conestoga prides itself on that high graduate satisfaction rate. Among the satisfied current students is first-year software engineering technology student Dylan O’Neill, who thinks the college is adequately preparing him for a typical day on the job in the software engineering industry.
“You have to know about computer coding. It’s a lot of writing, so they’re preparing us for that. They’re teaching us coding as well, so I think they’re doing a really good job,” he said.
One of the largest factors behind the high hiring rate is Conestoga’s renowned co-operative education program. According to Pamela Healey, the director of Conestoga’s co-operative education and career services department, the co-op program is one of the best in the province.
“Conestoga has the third largest co-op program in terms of student numbers and the largest in terms of programs,” she said.
The statistics for the report are compiled by a third-party research company called Forums Research Canada.
The company telephones graduates with a small survey to assess their employment satisfaction.
Unfortunately, Healey suggests some possible flaws to the method, which are reflected in the statistics.
“The company calls graduates six months after employment and surveys them to determine how their search for employment is going. Unfortunately, not everybody has a landline and they may not have time to do a survey over a cellular phone, so they don’t get as many results,” Healey said.
To access the full report, go to www.conestogac.on.ca/career-services/grad-employment/index.jsp.