Niagara College program gets $43,000 boost from Government of Canada to support work-integrated learning
A makeover is underway at Niagara College’s Teaching Spa, supporting Esthetician students with a new toolkit to help them succeed after the shutdowns and shake-ups of the global pandemic.
The College’s Esthetician program recently received $43,000 in new funding, which is helping students brush up their social and digital media skills to prepare for a new era in the industry, while providing financial support to help them overcome access barriers to work-integrated learning. This project has been funded in part by the Government of Canada’s Innovative Work-Integrated Learning (WIL) program and Co-operative Education and Work-Integrated Learning (CEWIL) Canada’s iHUB.
Thanks to the new funding, 23 second-year students have been awarded $1,000 each as a stipend to help them through financial challenges, while the program received $20,000 to invest in new multimedia equipment, which students are putting to use in a new WIL project this Fall term. In collaboration with industry expert Trish Green – president, Balnea Spa products and creator of skincare product line TheraGenesis – the students will be creating product demonstration videos that will have real-world exposure on the company’s website next year.
“By offering innovative WIL opportunities at our institutions across Canada, we continue to see growth in students’ personal and professional competencies,” indicated Charlene Marion, director WIL at CEWIL Canada. “The skills and competencies gained through these experiences serve to support students as they transition to the workplace, entrepreneurial endeavours, or future studies.”
Evan DiValentino, associate dean of the College’s School of Hospitality Tourism and Sport, applauded the financial support from the Government of Canada, which will expand opportunities for students during a time of great need. He said that many students in the program have been facing challenges during the pandemic. Many could not continue working part-time jobs as related businesses were shut down, or found it difficult to pursue their studies without childcare or in-person learning available for their children.
“Funding from the Government of Canada’s Innovative Work-Integrated Learning program and CEWIL Canada’s iHub is a big win for our students in helping them overcome barriers to access in education. It opens doors to new work-integrated learning opportunities, access to technology, and affordability for our students,” he said.
Esthetician professor Susan Paone noted that the pandemic has limited WIL opportunities for students, shutting down or dramatically affecting services at the Teaching Spa. Students haven’t been able to work on public clients since March 2020; instead, gaining experience working on mannequins or their classmates. Recently, in mid-November, the spa reopened only to College staff and students, who are required to be vaccinated to access its campuses.
“Students will gain invaluable hands-on experience while interacting with such a notable industry partner,” said Paone. “Additionally, having the chance to work with digital marketing tools offers our students a current and up to date, real-time learning experience which, in turn, will make them more ‘job ready.’”
The new project has students working on the WIL project in collaboration with the industry partner. Working in pairs, students will create a range of videos for TheraGenesis by the end of Fall term, taking on everything from writing scripts, to speaking on camera about their assigned product, to shooting and editing the videos.
Through the new project, students will learn a specialized treatment protocol that will target a specific demographic, learn marketing strategies specific to the demographic, create video tutorials for TheraGenesis, as well as study and learn about current trends in scientific skin care.
A well known professional who has been in the spa industry for more than 30 years and long-time esthetics educator, Green wanted to bring what she learned to enhance her own business during the pandemic to the NC students who are preparing to enter the industry during this pivotal time, and consulted with program faculty to develop the WIL project.
Green noted that, since the onset of the pandemic, the sales and marketing skills required for the success of the spa business have changed dramatically. She pointed out that the makeup of her team is completely different now than it was before the pandemic, with more employees who have computer and multimedia skills.
“COVID-19 has forever changed the way we do business, and it was a steep learning curve when it came to using social media professionally, the right way,” said Green. “It’s a whole new world with new opportunities in our industry and, by undertaking this project, Niagara College is leading the pack, providing students with the skills and experience they need for success.”
Niagara College’s Esthetician program is a two-year diploma program based at the Daniel J. Patterson Campus in Niagara-on-the-Lake. Students gain market-ready experience in a wide range of esthetic services at the NC Teaching Spa, located on campus. For information visit niagaracollege.ca/hospitalitytourismsport/program/esthetician/
Niagara College offers more than 130 diploma, bachelor degree and advanced level programs; as well as more than 600 credit, vocational and general interest Part-Time Studies courses. Areas of specialization include food and wine sciences, advanced technology, media, applied health and community safety, supported by unique learning enterprises in food, wine, beer, distilling, horticulture and esthetics. For more information visitniagaracollege.ca.
Photo: Esthetician product video: NC Esthetician students are working in pairs to create a range of videos for industry partner TheraGenesis by the end of Fall term. They are taking on everything from writing scripts, to speaking on camera about their assigned product, to shooting and editing the videos.