Students graduating from the arts and humanities at Queen’s University are getting more opportunities for work experience, thanks to the growth of a Kingston apprenticeship program.
The Queen’s Career Apprenticeship Kingston program connects new arts and humanity graduates from Queen’s with a Kingston employer.
The program started as a pilot project in Kingston in May, and now the backer of this privately launched venture, Ottawa-based philanthropist Alan Rottenberg, is upping the ante.
The apprenticeship program started out with financing for 10 jobs, but in 2019 it will grow to 35 positions. Through the program, Rottenberg pays the first four months of salary for the apprentice, while the employer funds the rest of the one-year program.
The initiative, which is unique to Kingston, is aimed at helping grads in the arts and humanities launch their careers. It’s also part of an effort to keep Queen’s graduates in Kingston.
“It strikes close to home because I have two sons who graduated in arts, one from Queen’s, and I saw how their struggle to get a job and some of their friends try to get a job — young men, young women — and I thought, ‘This is crazy,'” said Rottenberg. “We’ve got to get these people employed.”
Make Hay Media, an award-winning film and video production company in downtown Kingston, is involved in the apprenticeship program. Maryan Remtulla is an apprentice there, and she can’t say enough about the initiative.
“For a lot of us, when we come out of school, we need that initial person that says, ‘I’m willing to take a chance on you,’ and that’s really, really hard to find,” said Remtulla.
“It’s pretty crazy that I’m here and able to get some really relevant, practical experience in my field, which is really unheard of when you’re straight out of grad school.”
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Rottenberg says the program is growing one year at a time, however he is looking at exponential growth and sees the large number of students and companies that could be paired up in the city.