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Oct. 17, 2017

Wilfrid Laurier University’s first-of-its-kind Digital Innovation Skills Certificate (DISC) program graduated its second cohort of 30 young professionals in September. The program was created to connect recent college and university graduates from Waterloo Region with local small businesses to provide experiential learning opportunities in digital marketing, e-commerce and project management.

“DISC was built to be an innovation catalyst both for graduates and Canadian businesses,” says DISC program leader and Laurier alum Dave Inglis (BA ’12). “By bringing together top talent, industry experts, Canadian small businesses, government and private industry, we’ve created an unprecedented experiential learning environment for our next generation of leaders to acquire highly sought after digital skills.”

Laurier alumni made up a significant portion of students in the two cohorts. The students worked in groups alongside an industry mentor and small business owner from Waterloo Region to apply the training they received in the first eight weeks of the certificate to a hands-on capstone project during the final five weeks of the program.

Academic partners at Laurier and Conestoga College, along with corporate partners Shopify, Hubspot, and the Waterloo Region Small Business Centre, developed the certificate to support job creation in today’s innovative and technological workplaces.

The majority of the inaugural graduating class gained meaningful employment immediately following the completion of the program.

Robyn Burley, a graduate from the second cohort and Laurier alum (BA ’14), credits DISC's entrepreneurial and practical aspects in helping her secure a position as a digital marketing strategist for local agency Jelly Triangle.

"DISC has a framework that supports the idea of 'iteration' or constant improvement," says Burley. “DISC’s challenging entrepreneurial environment allowed me to discover my passion for helping small businesses grow.”

As a corporate innovation consultant at Communitech, Inglis believes that continuing education and professional development have never been more important.

"Whether it’s e-commerce, digital marketing or artificial intelligence, DISC’s focus on the intersection of learning and industry will allow us to continue to better understand and define the emerging talent needed to create jobs and make an impact in our communities.”

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