When Drew Taylor entered the cabinet making and furniture technician program at Algonquin, he could not have imagined the skills he would learn could propel him into a full-time job so soon – even before graduating.
Now a graduate of the two-year accelerated program, he works for a wood shop in Stittsville.
“It was a great transition from college to career,” he said. “I was working before school was over.”
Taylor was named top student for the school of transportation and building trades at Algonquin’s Fall convocation ceremony on Oct. 26. The honour is given to a student for high academic achievement, as well as for the contributions they make to the trades program.
“It’s such an honour and privilege to win [the award],” said Taylor. “It’s nice to have good people to share it with,” he added, noting his family was in attendance.
The college awarded credentials to 1,600 students, more than 500 of which were in attendance. It was the largest Fall convocation in Algonquin’s history. In addition to the certificates and diplomas given, the college also awarded degrees to graduates of its e-business supply chain management program.
Taylor, along with the newest graduates of Algonquin followed faculty into Southam Hall at the National Arts Centre, as the concert organ played ‘Pomp and Circumstance’. The cavernous theatre was packed with family and friends, making empty seats scarce.
“Whether one is living in the best of times or the worst of times, one thing is certain, and that is that education gives you hope for a better future,” said college president Robert Gillett as he addressed the graduates.
In his speech, Gillett stressed the importance of education, saying it “has proven to be the single best investment a person can make in their own future.”
He also expressed confidence that it was a good time to be graduating and entering the workforce, regardless of the recession-weakened economy. Gillett cited the massive wave of skilled workers who will be retiring soon, and the need for employers to rehire in order to keep their businesses going.
Taylor was not the only one that has been able to find work after graduating. Frank Crooks, a graduate of the civil engineering technician program found work with a local engineering firm soon after classes were over.
“It’s very overwhelming. I’m finally done and I’m out in the workforce,” Crooks said.
Andrea Rothenburger, a graduate of the veterinarian technician program voiced delight in the job prospects for her and other graduates from her program.
“So far almost everyone has been able to find a job,” she said.
Others, like Lindsay Sibbitt, also a graduate of the program, were simply enjoying the moment.
“I’m so happy to be done school,” she said.