Posted on June 15, 2017 at 2:00 PM

Canada: Durham College provides a first-class education

Sheila Corriveau is Head of Global Marketing Operations, Program Delivery and People Leader at KPMG International and a 1988 graduate of Durham College’s Public Relations program.

When I chose to go to college instead of university, I heard it all: “Why select a second-class education?” or “You won’t find a job with just a college diploma.” I was never anti-university, but I sure had to fight the perceptions of others when it came to choosing a college education in 1986.

Math never quite added up for me and I had no chemistry with science. I loved English, and decided to pursue public relations. The TV show Dynasty was big back then, and Alexis Carrington was the first (fake) businessperson that I knew of who had a successful career in PR. She was a trailblazer.

Durham College was the right fit for me. I liked the size of the school and the curriculum. I wanted an education that would hone my practical skills to help me secure a job ASAP to pay off student loans

During the two-year program, we worked on a school newsletter, organized events, and made a difference in our community by volunteering our communications skills. I enjoyed diverse courses like law, writing, psychology, and photography. We also had lots of fun between classes. My two favourite bars, Illusions and Sammy’s, are both closed now but won’t be forgotten.

Upon graduating in 1988, my plan worked — I immediately landed a position at a PR agency in Toronto. The managing director was a friend of my PR professor, Ev McCrimmon, who recommended me for the job. Since then, I have also held progressive positions with the Retail Council of Canada, The Dynacare Health Group, Porter Novelli — one of the world’s largest PR firms — and I also ran my own consultancy. I now hold a global marketing position with KPMG.

According to a recent study by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, more Canadian adults have a post-secondary education than any other country in the developed world, largely because of our robust system of community colleges.

College diplomas don’t mean less pay or fewer job opportunities. Parents should not pressure their kids to go to university if it is not their preferred style of learning. Instead, encourage the right match. My teenager is leaning toward university but only after we reviewed college options and determined that earning his degree first was the right choice for him. He may still take advantage of a college-university pathway after earning his degree. Currently, about 20 per cent of Durham College students are university graduates.

As Durham College celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2017, I look forward to connecting with other graduates and hearing about their journeys after receiving a first-class education. DC’s Homecoming Weekend on Sept. 8 and 9 will be a great opportunity to do just that — I hope to see many of my fellow alumni there!

"Canada is not only known for it's picturesque locations, but also for it's high standard of education. The Colleges in Canada are at par with the best known Colleges in the world, in terms of the educational programs offered and the facilities provided to the students " , says Mr. Deepak, Education Manager, Career XL Services..


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