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school to work transition, qualitative study, Applied Science and Technology, Southern Ontario Canada, Community College to work transition, Sheridan


This paper details a qualitative study undertaken on a small sampling of community college graduates. The graduates’ pathways from school to work have been studied in relation to existing scholarly transition models. The author was able to discover only a small number of studies dealing with the college to work transition experience of applied science and technology students, no scholarly papers were found with respect to this student population in Ontario, Canada. This study was an inquiry into the college to work transition experiences of a purposive sample of graduates from regional community colleges in Southern Ontario. Sixteen semi-structured qualitative interviews were conducted with recent graduates who had completed their studies within the field of applied science and technology. Several themes emerged with respect to the school to work transition for the participants of this study. Co-op learning experiences were shown to provide a significant boost towards a smooth transition process. Networking, in the case of this study, was considered independently of co-op and also emerged as a valuable resource with the potential for workplace contacts and links to employment. The study also found that all subjects were aware of available career counselling resources, and many students chose not to partake. A few subjects made extensive use of career counselling and found a substantial payback for their efforts. The participants of this study have transitioned from school to work through a variety of pathways which approximately matched theoretical school to work transition models. The transitions were unique to each student, there was no one size fits all transition process. The findings of this study could be used as a baseline for future studies to compare and contrast against, a growing body of knowledge will enable the refinement of college programs, policies and services, to the benefit of future college students.


A Thesis submitted to the School of Graduate Studies in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Education in Post-Secondary Studies Memorial University of Newfoundland


Faculty of Applied Science & Technology (FAST)


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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Original Publication Citation

Kilby, R. (2017). An exploratory study of school to work transition experiences of applied science and technology students in southern Ontario (Masters Thesis). Retrieved from Memorial University Research Repository.

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