Students work placement presentation at the Fashion Arts and Business Creative Showcase
November 14, 2019
Work-integrated learning (WIL) is a central focus in Humber’s mission to prepare and support tomorrow’s career-ready global citizens. This past summer, a group of Fashion Arts and Business students enjoyed an incredible opportunity to combine a WIL placement with a study abroad program in Italy at the Florence University of the Arts (FUA).
In October, these global learners gathered at Humber’s Barrett Centre for Technology Innovation (BCTI) to present a creative showcase of their reflections from this high-impact international learning opportunity in one of the world’s capitals for fashion and design.
A natural partner for a once in a lifetime opportunity
Closely connected to Florence’s prominent fashion industry, FUA was a natural partner to build a work-integrated placement for Humber’s Fashion Arts and Business students. Through the partnership, Humber students travelled to Italy and completed a hands-on work placement at Fashion Loves You (FLY)—a student- and faculty-run retail enterprise connected to the Fashion and Accessories Studies program at FUA.
Fashion and Arts Program Coordinator Jennifer Dawson immediately saw the benefits for Humber learners to build practical career-focused skills and participate in the day-to-day operations of a world-class fashion-orientated business. In addition to developing critical field skills, as Study Abroad and Placement Coordinator Kathleen Meagher notes, the placement was a unique opportunity to develop broader communication and intercultural competencies. It also opened students’ eyes to the need for understanding their careers and industry on an international scale.
“The unique combination of work-integrated learning and study abroad is a once in a lifetime opportunity,” says Meagher. “Each has tremendous value on their own, and together the combination provides an even greater potential skill set and a truly life-changing experience.”
Work-integrated learning shapes students’ confidence and employability
For the students, the experience hit home in powerful ways. As many reflected, it was a chance to step out of their comfort zones, challenge themselves to apply classroom learning to real-world scenarios and immerse themselves within another culture and environment.
Carissa presenting her hand-made jewellery inspired by her work-integrated learning experience at FUA in Florence.
“My experience with work-integrated learning in Italy allowed me to put the skills and information that I am learning in class into real-life scenarios,” said Carissa, a Fashion and Arts student who designed a series of custom rings, inspired by her Florentine experience at FUA. “It felt great to work in an environment created especially for students and to collaborate with people from all over the world. I feel even more confident that I have made the right choice in a career pathway for myself and participating in global learning also looks great on a resume. It can be very valuable to employers,” said Carissa.
Students reflective presentation at the creative expo
Global citizenship and employability
Returning to Humber, the students were guided through a self-reflection process and prompted to share their findings at the recent creative showcase. This inspiring event confirmed the value and impact of international work-integrated learning programs for our students and demonstrated how important it is to continue expanding our programming and partnerships to support these internationalization efforts.
After this successful launch, the Fashion Arts and Business program is set to facilitate a follow-up exchange this coming summer at FUA, with the hopes to expand the partnership to other academic schools.
Congratulations to this year’s participants and best of luck to them as they apply the learnings from this tremendous experience to their future learnings and careers.