University of Guelph Partners with RBC to Become First University to Formally Recognize Summer Work Experiences  

Posted on Wednesday, February 17th, 2021

The University of Guelph has a longstanding history of excellence in delivery of experiential learning opportunities and skill development programs for its students. At U of G, students not only learn about it, they experience it, and now thanks to a partnership with the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC), U of G is leading the way to ensure that off-campus experiences are being captured on student’s official Professional & Career Development Record (PCDR). 

Recognizing the need to formally capture their student’s meaningful “off-campus” work-integrated learning experiences, U of G teamed up with RBC to develop an integrated solution that empowers students completing RBC summer work experiences with a record of, and the ability to articulate, their accomplishments and skills gained through the experience. Students use RBC’s Backpack, a web application developed by students for students, that allows the tracking of performance and goal setting for the term. Students complete a self-assessment at the end of the term and this reflective practice is required for inclusion on the University of Guelph PCDR, powered by the Outcome Platform by Orbis Communications. 

U of G students working at RBC this past summer who completed any one of three sets of experiences—RBC Backpack, RBC Innovation Challenge, and RBC Café powered by Ten Thousand Coffees, will have these officially appear on their U of G PCDR. Students also identify the knowledge, skills and attitudes they have developed through these experiences. The 600 hours completed during a student’s time at RBC are integrated onto their U of G experience record with other experiential learning opportunities gained through their university career, allowing students to have a concise view of the amount of work experience and skill development they achieved. Students will have an advantage following graduation as they will be able to customize translation of their experiences on a resume, cover letter or in an interview, focusing on specific skill development.  

 “All students are welcome at RBC.  We embrace diversity as a core value and that includes diversity of students from all schools, all years and all programs.  This engagement and welcome strategy empowers the students with the opportunity to ‘Explore RBC’ and gain real-work experience and skills.  Driving this strategic project with the University of Guelph to recognize experiential learning for their students was a positive proof point on how we in the post-secondary and employer eco-system can come together for the future of work for our students and their futures”.   - Brien Convery, National Director, Early Talent Communities and Inclusive Recruitment, RBC Canada

To give students ownership over their knowledge, skills, and attributes achieved through participation in the program, the University of Guelph turned to Orbis’s Outcome solution. Through Outcome, the University can create, disseminate, verify, and track each student’s gained skills. This record of accomplishments enables students to break free from the cycle of 'experience for career and career for experience'. Students can now confidently speak of their learned skills to potential future employers, effectively applying what’s learned to their future roles or entrepreneurial ventures.  

"It was a pleasure to work with RBC on this project. Strong relationships with industry partners help us ensure that our students and new graduates are career-ready, by gaining knowledge, skills and attitudes respected by employers. It’s exciting to have developed a record for students that includes so many diverse experiences during their time at UofG”,  Elaine Fenner, Director of Experiential Learning at the University of Guelph.  

The University of Guelph Professional and Career Development Record will officially launch later this spring 

This partnership between the University of Guelph, and RBC, is the first of its kind in the country, and addresses a gap for students to have meaningful work experiences outside of a co-op program recognized by institutions and industry alike.    

For more information please contact: 

Christy Niven, Manager, Employment Services & Systems 
Experiential Learning Hub, University of Guelph 
Brien Convery, National Director, Early Talent Communities and Inclusive Recruitment, Canada 
Royal Bank of Canada