Gaining skills for the present, making connections for the future

Mitacs Step workshops provide long-term investment in success for UBC grad student

But UBC PhD student Samuel Antoine says this is exactly the kind of big-picture thinking that academics need to succeed. Thanks to Mitacs Step, Sam has been able to access a wide range of similar courses that will help his career.

It started when Sam was talking with his academic supervisor in UBC’s School of Population and Public Health about opportunities to continue his research.

My advisor suggested I look into some of the graduate internships offered by Mitacs. While I was on the organization’s website, I found Mitacs Step. The project management workshop caught my eye because some of the job postings I’d been looking at had listed that as a desired skill.”

Sam took the project management course and was so impressed he signed up for four more of the free workshops, including networking.

“Step workshops teach important skills that are directly applicable to any job,” says Sam. “Breaking big projects down into smaller, manageable tasks, learning how to work with people as part of a team, overcoming shyness, finding out how to introduce your work to someone else — all of these abilities are things graduate students need to know. It’s about how to prepare for your future, regardless of your field of study. For my part, I experienced an immediate benefit in terms of how I approach my work. Because of what I’ve learned, I have more time and less stress.”

He notes another important benefit of the workshops is the opportunity to meet new people from different backgrounds.

“When you start talking with someone from another field of study, sometimes you get the chance to collaborate and create new ideas,” says Sam. “I also realized that, at some point in the future, you’ll probably work with at least one person you’ve met in one of these workshops. Participating in Mitacs Step gives you the opportunity to meet your future partners.”

Mitacs thanks the Government of Canada and the Government of British Columbia for their support of the STEP  workshop in this story. Across Canada, the STEP program also receives support from Alberta Innovates, the Government of New Brunswick, the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, the Government of Nova Scotia, the Government of Ontario, the Government of Prince Edward Island, the Government of Quebec, the Government of Saskatchewan and Research Manitoba.

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