By: Zainab Chunawala

Looking for Work? Explore Opportunities with the Centennial College Design Jam Experiential Learning Program!

The Design Jam Program by Centennial College is a unique opportunity for new graduates to get relevant work experience and industry exposure, all while working in cross-disciplinary groups to solve real industry problems. The participants are on a 16-week project and are mentored by the employer they are working with, to help them in their job search after graduation. Funded by the Ministry of Training, College and Universities, this initiative is run by the Career Services and Co-operative Education Department, the Leadership Academy and The Office of Strategic Initiatives and External Relations.

The first cohort began in June 2018 and is almost ready for their showcase, taking place in October.

One of the employers participating is the Department of Imaginary Affairs, a not-for-profit organization looking to share stories of new Canadians in the hopes of creating a nation of empathetic citizens, public services, and policies.

Their Design Jam project is the creation of a workshop implementation plan, developing workshop materials, researching partners, locations and acquiring sources of additional funding. Collaborating to successfully complete this project is Sanket Shah, a recent Centennial graduate coming from a business background.

“Through this program, I’m getting exposure to the research field which is a very valuable addition to my resume, since I studied Market Research & Analytics and want to build my career in this field”, explains Sanket.

“I found the concept of design thinking very interesting and relevant. This project is actually how the environment is in the real world workforce, with people of different skill sets coming together, which makes it very exciting”, elaborates Ann Marie Samuels who is an experienced paralegal research professional.

Christine DeGuzman is a financial service graduate and aspiring financial analyst, who is also working on this project. She adds, “I’m looking to build on my presentation and problem-solving skills through this program while I already feel like I could showcase and practice my teamwork, organization and communication skills.” Both Sanket and Christine are very enthusiastic and excited about the direction their project is taking and how it’s shaping up.

Department of Imaginary Affairs even features their Design Jam team on their website:

“The goal of this experiential learning initiative is to increase social capital, foster career resilience, and engage employers as active partners in the career development journey of students”, Melanie Holmes, Project Lead of Design Jam said.

“This on-the-job experience is structured to strengthen transferable skills such as communication, teamwork/collaboration, critical thinking and problem-solving in working towards innovative solutions to business processes”, adds Melanie.

The showcase event for this cohort is scheduled for October 18th, 2018. The finale will feature all the projects that the graduates worked on. It will pose as a great opportunity to network with the other participating employers and put into action all the learning over the past week

Safran Landing Systems, the world leader in aircraft landing and braking systems, is also mentoring a group of Design Jam participants. The project the new engineering graduates are working on is to deliver the reasons, type and occurrence rate of wheel and tire failures in commercial aviation, and to make recommendations for the improvement in design rules and practices. The participants are working to develop a comprehensive listing of aircraft wheel and tire failure occurrences spanning the past several decades through company research tools and are determined to share their results with the employers at the showcase.

Focus Inspired, a career guidance service based out of Markham, Ontario, is another partner for this cohort. HR and Software Engineering grads are collaborating to build a career bot application that will help students with their job search.

Participants with a background in marketing and business are enjoying working with Incite Creative Media House, which is a digital content agency that specializes in marketing media. They challenged the Design Jam team to build them a successful marketing and promotions strategy that would promote their services effectively to future clients. Recently graduated from the Creative & Digital Strategy program and working on this team is Cindy Navarrete. She shares why she chose to participate, “My goal is to make meaningful connections in the agency field and hopefully land a full-time position through this opportunity.”

Also engaging with Design Jam on this cohort is Canadian Spinal Research Organization (CSRO). Putting their skills together to complete the project is a graduate of the Workplace Wellness and Health Promotion program, Neha Kiyada. She passionately elaborates, “I’m working with a web developer from the Software Engineering program and a graduate of the Business Marketing program and together we are developing strategies for a new initiative called Everybody Against Distracted Driving. This involves website development and mission and outreach strategy as part of the project deliverables. The mentorship by CSRO has been extremely valuable and it’s a great experience working with them.”

With Design Jam you can:

•Gain relevant work experience that you can add to your resume
• Receive mentoring by an industry professional
• Receive personal career coaching to transition from college to career
• Develop leadership, communication, teamwork, and problem-solving skills
• Network with industry professionals and showcase your products, business solutions, and your skills


The program is entirely free of cost; graduates receive a stipend towards participation. The commitment required from participants is of 16 weeks, 15-20 hours a week; which consists of working on the industry project, either on campus or on the employers’ site and attending the professional development workshops and personal career coaching on campus.

Centennial students who graduated within the past 18 months (i.e. April 2017 – January 2019 graduates) who feel they need additional experience to be competitive, and are committed to devoting the mentioned time and effort in project work and their own professional development, looking for help in securing employment and have demonstrated professionalism in their studies are welcome to apply for the next cohort beginning in January 2019. Simply submit your resume and cover letter stating why you would be interested in Design Jam to [email protected]

Learn more about Design Jam by watching the video here: