Niagara College connects students to careers

Career and Co-op Services director chats upcoming school year and bridging the gap between classroom and employment. Photo credit: Niagara College


Career and Co-op Services director chats upcoming school year and bridging the gap between classroom and employment. Photo credit: Niagara College


The 2023-24 school year is well underway at Niagara College. Whether a student is returning to the classroom or venturing out on a co-op work-term, the Career and Co-op Services department is ready to help. 

Dina Fox currently serves as the Director of Academic Advising and Career Services at the college’s Daniel J. Patterson Campus in Niagara-on-the-Lake.

“It is always a great vibe, here, when September hits,” Fox shared in a recent sit-down with The Niagara Independent. “After a quieter spring term, everything is very exciting, and busy.” 

As students who are beginning an academic term settle into their course schedules, they will also begin to look at extracurriculars and part-time jobs. “They (our students) are excited to be looking for opportunities to get involved on the campus with various activities,” Fox explained. “It is so much more than just an academic career.” 

Across campuses in Niagara-on-the-Lake and Welland, Niagara College is preparing approximately 1,000 students to embark on a co-op work term in May 2024. “We recruit on a rolling basis (programs begin in September, January and May),” Fox shared. “While we are always serving some students who are completing their work terms, the largest cohort is doing a co-op in the spring/summer.” 

Helping students prepare to make the most of their work term experience is a top priority for Niagara College. “We spend lots of time focusing on soft-skills,” Fox explained. “We encourage students to be critical thinkers, to ask lots of questions, be problem solvers, to grow their interpersonal abilities, to be dependable and reliable, etc.,” she added. “From there, we also help students to identify where their skills are, and how to further develop them.” 

The college also emphasizes having strong relationships with employers. “We regularly invite our great employers to come onto our campuses, interact with the students, and join our sessions. Through this engagement, we learn about what skills employers are looking for, current/future gaps in the labour market, etc.” 

While enduring the pandemic was an extremely challenging experience, Fox says that it was during this time that co-op/career services broadened to meet the unique needs of the time. “We began looking at opportunities that wouldn’t have necessarily been considered in the past (e.g., remote work),” she said. “And from there, we worked toward facilitating excellent experiences in these contexts for both students and employers.” 

As students reflect on their work terms, Niagara College is encouraged by the grassroots positive feedback it receives. “We are seeing a lot of students indicating a desire by their employers to keep them on part-time, even while they are back in the classroom,” Fox shared. “And many of them offer the students permanent positions following their graduation.” 

“This is something we really highlight with our employers… that onboarding students is not necessarily just for a few months, but actually a long-term recruitment opportunity.” 

When asked what would make 2023-24 a successful campaign, Fox had some key thoughts to share. “It all comes back to active engagement… from students to all of our partners, assisting them with their recruiting needs and making sure they are aware of everything we have.” 

“And then… it is helping students to reflect on what they’ve learned, what they have applied and then deciding what they would like to pursue going forward!” 

Your donations help us continue to deliver the news and commentary you want to read. Please consider donating today.

Donate Today


  • Politics

  • Sports

  • Business