The benefits of attending a college program that offers a field placement can’t be stressed enough. This is an opportunity that is typically offered during the latter part of a program, once students are comfortable with the skills they have obtained. Students actually head into the field and work as “employees” for an organization with which a project coordinator helped to pair them. Not only is this a chance for students to apply their skills to the real world, but it also serves as a networking opportunity. Students who make a good impression during their placement stand a great chance of being hired on once they graduate.

One program at Centennial College that offers students this beneficial feature is the Workplace Wellness and Health Promotion Program. During the second of two semesters they spend in the offering, students attend a two-days-a-week field experience. For a total of 16 hours per week, students integrate and apply theories and skills learned in both semesters, work with real clients and answer to their employer. To compliment the placement in a classroom context, students attend a two-hour class during which they complete the applicable paperwork, get assistance if needed and present their professional portfolios. The students’ portfolios are personalized by incorporating their personal “brand”. In the class, they also partake in key activities and projects based on their placement experience and enjoy talks by invited guests.

Aside from the field placement experience, students are exposed to content that includes: program planning, program management, physical health, mental health management, nutrition, health promotion theory, organizational development, environmental health coaching, research and business skills. Faculty members who have experience in the field as well as knowledge of the current industry landscape present and guide students through these topics.

Thanks to the well-rounded knowledge offered in this program, students gain a diverse number of skills, including: assessing wellness needs of individuals, groups, organizations and communities; identifying risk factors that influence human behaviour, health and wellness and implement strategies that facilitate personal, organizational culture and community wellness; providing appropriate referral information to assist individuals, groups and organizations; advocating wellness concepts and philosophies in community and employment settings; examining the strategic approach to human resource management and more.

As graduates of the first of Canada’s post-graduate health and wellness programs, students may find career opportunities in corporate wellness, community health and promotion, no-for-profit sector and in entrepreneurship. Companies that are associated with Centennial College’s field placement component and, therefore, may hire grads include: the Canadian Breast Cancer Society, Dolce International (BMO Financial), Hallmark Canada the Ministry of Education, Peel Regional Police, Rogers Communication, Rouge Valley Health, The Cooperators, Toronto District School Board, Toronto Housing Corporation, York Region and more.