New funding increases access to innovative work-integrated learning experiences

Personal support worker with a senior citizen both wearing masks

New funding to support innovative work-integrated learning (WIL) projects is providing more avenues for students to gain real-world experience at George Brown College. 

The funding provides financial support to 308 students who participated in enhanced and new WIL projects during the Winter 2021 semester. It will help them pay for related costs, including transportation, internet access, premium video conferencing accounts, and enhanced personal protective equipment (PPE).  

“George Brown continues to provide exciting opportunities for students to work with industry partners and explore new possibilities for entrepreneurship and research,” said Dario Guescini, Director, Work-Integrated Learning, Experiential Education & Global Mobility at George Brown College. “This funding helps us remove barriers and increase access to innovative WIL experiences.” 

George Brown received $289,000 to support students, many from underrepresented populations, through the following five WIL projects:  

Enhanced early childhood education (ECE) placements

COVID-19 health protocols created challenges for students at the School of Early Childhood. New WIL funding enabled the purchase of dozens of tablets to reduce the need for students to share devices that are used to log activities and for communication. The funding also provided public health protocols awareness training and no-cost personal protective equipment (PPE), including masks, gowns and eye protection for placements. Students also received funds to cover transit costs.

The Elementary Virtual Support Project

Students in the Child and Youth Care program at the School of Social and Community Services provide free online programming for children. The initiative, developed as part of the WIL component of their program, was created to provide children with opportunities to connect and engage in social, emotional, physical and intellectual growth. Students worked with the Jays Care Foundation and other local groups, such as the Toronto Kiwanis Boys & Girls Club and Covenant House, to create the pilot program. 

New WIL funding supports students who face barriers to participating in a virtual placement by providing grants  intended to help them secure internet access and tech equipment needed to fully participate in virtual WIL. The financial support can also help students buy  supplies and materials needed to deliver the children’s programming.  

startGBC WIL Entrepreneurship Program

To address placements lost due to the pandemic, startGBC, George Brown’s entrepreneurship hub, created a program that gives students the opportunity to develop business and social innovation ideas and get guidance and mentorship from industry professionals. Students can also submit their idea to startGBC’s Pitch It competition and be eligible to win part of the $10,000 prize fund. 

The funding will provide students who participate in the program with a stipend to support their work.

Placements for PSW students

Students in the Personal Support Worker (PSW) program are required to complete clinical placement hours to graduate. That became a challenge when the COVID-19 pandemic hit so George Brown College partnered with the Rekai Centres to provide placement opportunities for students. 

Just under 70 students are expected to complete placements during the Winter 2021 semester. The new funding means students received a stipend, pre-placement training, and PPE.

Hospitality and Event Management Entrepreneurship Program

The School of Hospitality and Tourism Management created a 13-week micro-pilot for four students in the Special Event Management program to gain a WIL credit. The students will launch an events management and consulting firm to provide virtual event services to Diabetes Canada, the Toronto Hydroplane and Sailing Club, and the Student Association of George Brown College. 

The WIL funding provides students with a stipend, as well as software and technology needed to complete the projects.

The funding was provided in part by the Government of Canada's Innovative Work-Integrated Learning Initiative (IWIL) and Co-operative Education and Work-Integrated Learning (CEWIL) Canada’s Innovation Hub (iHUB) 

Learn more about work-integrated learning 


Access tomorrow’s talent today, by Dario Guescini