Sask Polytech joins Outbound Student Mobility Pilot Program

Saskatchewan Polytechnic announced Friday that they will be a partner in the Global Skills Opportunity program, the Government of Canada’s Outbound Student Mobility Pilot Program.

The program is funded by Employment and Social Development Canada. It makes studying or working abroad more accessible for Indigenous and low-income students from Sask Polytech and Parkland College.

“Global Skills Opportunity is breaking down financial, social and logistical barriers that have prevented underrepresented students, particularly Indigenous and low-income students, from participating in global study and work opportunities,” Dr. Larry Rosia, Sask Polytech president and CEO, said in a press release.

“This funding will increase international mobility opportunities for Indigenous and low-income students by improving financial supports, creating new opportunities for programs and enhancing international mobility services. We are pleased to partner with Parkland College on this initiative to offer travel abroad opportunities to their students as well.”

Rosia said these international learning opportunities will help students develop skills like problem solving, while improve their adaptability, resilience, and intercultural competency. When students work and study abroad, he explained they bring back skills, knowledge, and fresh perspectives that benefit their classrooms, campuses, and communities.

“These opportunities enable our rural Saskatchewan students to gain the global knowledge and skills necessary in today’s world,” said Kami DePape, vice-president of academics at Parkland College. “The Global Skills Opportunity program provides the means and the initiative to engage our Indigenous and low-income learners. Without it, most of these students would never have access to international learning experiences.”

A recent study funded by the Global Skills Opportunity Program’s innovation fund call for proposals showed cost was the single-most significant barrier for Indigenous and low-income students at Sask Polytech who wanted to participate in global learning experiences. Rosia said the partnership will enable Sask Polytech to provide global learning experiences for Indigenous and low-income students.

It is expected that more than 200 Sask Polytech and Parkland College students will benefit from the $700,000 Global Skills Opportunity program funding. Project exchanges will occur in countries where Sask Polytech has partnership memorandums of understanding, including China, India, Mexico, Uganda, Vietnam, Mexico and Ukraine.

“Parkland College is excited to be partnering with SaskPolytech on this new venture,” DePape said.

“Parkland College students will now have the opportunity for formal outbound mobility.”

Global Skills Opportunity is funded by Employment and Social Development Canada and is administered jointly by Colleges and Institutes Canada (CICan) and Universities Canada. Projects are implemented by participating colleges and universities across the country.