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By Leena Kamat
Almost 90 per cent of college graduates are finding employment within six months of graduation, a recent survey shows.
The Ministry of Education's Key Performance Indicators project looked at factors such as the success of college graduates in employment and the satisfaction of the employers and the graduates.
"The idea is to provide an incentive to colleges and it is something important to students and employers," said Dave Ross, spokesperson for the Ministry of Education and Training. They will be taking a look at the results and using them to redirect about 10 per cent of the total budget of all colleges combined depending on the results.
The provincial average for college graduate employment was 89 per cent while Fanshawe College came out even higher at 92 per cent, said Fanshawe President Howard Rundle.
"We're not surprised but we're pleased," Rundle said. "The big advantage in college is it purposefully exists to train students for employment." He added there are a growing number of programs at Fanshawe particularly aimed at post graduate students.
Western graduates are faring almost as well in the search for employment according to a university survey released last October on the graduates of 1992 and 1995, said Ted Garrard, Western's VP-external. The survey found 85 per cent of graduates from 1992 and 78 per cent from 1995 currently had full-time jobs, while eight per cent and 12 per cent respectively had part-time employment. The majority of the remainder were continuing their education, he said.
"The claim universities can make is that their graduates make more money," Garrard said. The 1992 grads were making an average of $44,000 per year while the more recent ones were making $35,000, Garrard added.
Professional program graduates had very high rates of employment, almost 100 per cent, while arts and humanities graduates had somewhat lower rates. However, Western is not at all considering decreasing the size of such programs, Garrard said.
"A good liberal arts program teaches problem solving skills and creativity, among other things," Garrard said.
Western is changing to incorporate more applications which will make people more versatile, said Sharon Lee, coordinator of employment services and the Internet Employment Cafe for the Student Development Centre. For example, Lee said, the media, information and technoculture program combines interests of students such as English with more employable skills.
Employers are looking for specialized knowledge as well as the ability to think creatively, to work with a team and to be professional, Garrard said. College is more applied while university involves learning and other requirements of a good employee.
Garrard added there shouldn't be a comparison between colleges and universities. He stressed post secondary education is the essential component. "Almost all new jobs created go to post secondary grads."