Calgarians Split Between Broadening Academic Horizons and Gaining Career Skills as Rationale for Post-secondary Education

Survey finds grads to be more employable than non-grads; however, only one per cent of Calgarians believe degree earners are fully prepared for the workforce

CALGARY, Sept. 12, 2011 /CNW/ - As post-secondary students return to class this week, a recent survey commissioned by DeVry Institute of Technology in Calgary found that 42 per cent of Calgarians believe students attend post-secondary school to gain the skills needed to start a career; while 54 per cent believe students should attend to broaden their academic and learning horizons.

The survey's findings also show that, while grads are viewed as more employable than non-grads, only one per cent of Calgarians believe a post-secondary degree fully prepares graduates for the labour market.

"Students attend post secondary schools for many reasons, but typically, they hope to be employed upon graduation," said Sid Mark, president of the Calgary staffing and recruiting firm FRIDAY Professional Group Inc. "To learn that so few Calgarians believe graduates are fully prepared for the job market shows that students need to do more to be more valuable to potential employers."

According to the survey, Calgarians think employers must train post-secondary graduates on-the-job: 47 per cent believe that significant on-the-job training is required and 35 per cent believe at least some is required.

"Training is a substantial investment for Calgary businesses," explained Mark. "If graduates come to the table with an educational background that includes job-centric skills, they have the competitive advantage in today's economy."

Ranil Herath, president of DeVry Institute of Technology in Calgary, says students need to be cognizant of their reasons for attending post-secondary school.

"If you're getting a degree to pursue a specific career, you need to choose your degree, your courses and your educational institution carefully," he explained. "As students go back to school this year, I recommend they find every opportunity to improve their job skills either through career-oriented courses or volunteer activities. Employers tell us they value the hands-on experience our students get addressing real business challenges in their senior class projects."

Though Calgarians believe grads have room for improving career-specific skills, they continue to believe in the importance of a post-secondary education when seeking employment. More than two-thirds (69 per cent) of those surveyed believe that graduates of post-secondary schools are more likely to find jobs than non-graduates.

"Calgarians know that post-secondary institutions help you learn critical thinking skills, but they also know that students want jobs when they graduate," Herath said. "Post-secondary institutions can and need to do both; they need to broaden learning horizons and provide the skills necessary for jobs upon graduation."

Leger Marketing conducted the online survey of 509 Calgarians aged 18 years and older in August 2011. DeVry Institute of Technology commissions quarterly career and higher education-related surveys to provide the Calgary community with insight into trends that impact local and provincial economies.

About DeVry Institute of Technology
DeVry Institute of Technology in Alberta is part of the DeVry University system, one of the largest degree-granting higher education systems in North America, with more than 90,000 students enrolled in the United States and Canada.  At more than 90 locations, DeVry University delivers practitioner-oriented undergraduate and graduate degree programs, onsite and online, that meet the needs of a diverse and geographically dispersed student population. DeVry Institute of Technology offers degree programs in Business Administration, Computer Information Systems, Electronics Engineering Technology and Network Communications Management. In Canada, the government of Alberta grants approval for baccalaureate degrees awarded by DeVry Institute of Technology. In the United States, DeVry University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, DeVry University, a part of DeVry Inc. (NYSE: DV), is based in Downers Grove, Ill.  For more information about DeVry Institute of Technology, find us on Twitter @DeVryUniv or visit

SOURCE DeVry Calgary

For further information:

Karissa Boley
NATIONAL Public Relations

Dan Dement
DeVry University

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DeVry Calgary

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