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Fintech Fridays EP55: Global Hiring Trends: How Gen Z Talent Thrives

NCFA Canada | Jan 7, 2022


FF EP55 How Gen Z Talent Thrives 800 - Fintech Fridays EP55: Global Hiring Trends:  How Gen Z Talent Thrives

EP55: Global Hiring Trends:  How Gen Z Talent Thrives

Featured Guest:

ANNE-MARIE FANNON, Director, Work-Learn Institute, University of Waterloo (LinkedIn)

Bio:  Anne-Marie Fannon is the director of the Work-Learn Institute.  In this role, she sets the research and innovation agenda for the Work-Learn team.  Anne-Marie is passionate about leveraging Work-Learn’s research insights to inform the practice and pedagogy of WIL.  For the last ten years, Anne-Marie was director of Work-Integrated Learning Programs at the University of Waterloo. In this role, she oversaw the development and delivery of curriculum that supported students in a variety of work-integrated learning opportunities including the new (WE) Accelerate program, the EDGE program and the WatPD courses.  Anne-Marie is actively engaged with Co-operative Education and Work-Integrated Learning (CEWIL) Canada and serves as co-chair of CEWIL’s Government and External Relations Committee.   She was president of the association in 2016/2017 during which time she led the association through an expansion of its mandate from co-op to work-integrated learning.  To get in touch via email:

About Co-operative and Experiential Education at the University of Waterloo

The future of work is changing. The University of Waterloo’s commitment to the value of work-integrated learning makes it a global leader in co-operative and experiential education. With more than 25,000 co-op students and 7,500 employers in over 60 countries, Waterloo’s co-op program is recognized as one of the pre-eminent institutions in work-integrated learning.

Our talent pool boasts skill sets for all your business needs with thousands of future-ready students, fresh graduates, and alumni available for work.  Tap into bright, entrepreneurial candidates with technical skills, who are also prepared to utilize communication, critical thinking, problem solving and self-assessment in the workplace.  Future-proof your organization and claim your space at the forefront of innovation by hiring Waterloo talent.

About this Episode

On this Season 4 kickoff episode, NCFA Founder Craig Asano sits down with the incredible Anne-Marie Fannon, Director, Work-Learn Institute at the University of Waterloo, to better understand the motivations and needs of the next major human capital resource - Gen Z.  If you're a start-up, scale-up or HR professional seeking intel on an emerging tech savvy, innovative, and talent asset class then this podcast is for you.  Tune in now and learn not just the how but also the why you should be building relationships with Gen Z today.  Enjoy!

UW 1 - Fintech Fridays EP55: Global Hiring Trends:  How Gen Z Talent Thrives

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Fintech Friday Transcript of Episode 55:

Anne-Marie Fannon, Director, Work-Learn Institute at the University of Waterloo

Intro: Welcome to fintech Friday's a weekly podcast brought to you by the National Crowdfunding and Fintech Association of Canada and partners. Covering all things fintech, blockchain, AI and alternative finance.


Craig Asano: [00:00:00] Hello, everyone, my name is Craig Asano, the founder and CEO of NCFA Canada, welcoming you to season four of Fintech Fridays, which is episode 55. It's a weekly podcast brought to you by NCFA and partners, where we sit down with the incredible people in the fintech and funding community and talk about trends, product innovations, developments and challenges. Today we have very special guests with us, Anne-Marie Fannon, who is the director of the Work Learn Institute at the University of Waterloo, which is the only research unit of its kind. Researching the development of talent through quality work-integrated learning programs. They have done extensive research and attracting, engaging and retaining Gen Z talent, which should be a very interesting topic in discussion today, as well as what it takes for employers to be future ready. Of course, the University of Waterloo is one of Canada's leading research institutions and universities and produces a plethora. And I'm telling you, I'm talking from experience, a plethora of top grads across the board, especially in tech, science, engineering. They also operate a world renowned co-op program with, I believe, twenty or twenty five thousand students enrolled, which is the largest in the world. So I think that's absolutely remarkable.  Anne-Marie we're thrilled that you can join us today to share your knowledge and experience. Thanks so much and welcome to the show.


Anne-Marie Fannon: [00:01:28] Thanks so much, Craig. I'm very excited to be here today and to have this conversation.


Craig Asano: [00:01:33] Yeah, I think it's a topic that we've certainly not covered here on the show, and I think it's very relevant to many companies who are building in the space. Obviously, sourcing talent and really understanding the motivations and what it's all about is is critical to building a successful product and business. So I'm very excited. So let's get into this. So just to kick things off, a bit of an intro question, maybe you can elaborate a little bit about the work you're doing and tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get involved at UW and the talent development and experiential learning space?


Anne-Marie Fannon: [00:02:15] Yeah, absolutely. So I've been at Waterloo for over 20 years now, but specifically in the work integrated learning space for the last 13 years, and my passion for it grows each and every year. And that's really because it is so easy to see the efficacy of this educational model. So the ways in which our students so quickly develop these critical competencies and the impact that they have on our employers and our community partners, my work for the last ten years was really in the development of new work-integrated learning programs and developing the curriculum that supports students learning during those work-integrated learning experiences, and I've recently moved to the Work Learning Institute, which, as you mentioned, is the world's only research center specifically focused on quality work-integrated learning and school to work transitions. And there really is no better place in the world to be studying work-integrated learning than at the University of Waterloo. I feel incredibly privileged to do this work and to be here today to share a little bit of it with you and your listeners.


Craig Asano: [00:03:30] Yeah, everything is about a journey. When you're building something new, you're approaching innovation, the ability to learn and foster something novel and tak it on board and develop it and implement it and nurture it. That's the language of a lot of venture startups. Does it matter actually what sector they're in? And so I think it's it's hand and parcel. It's a perfect fit for our podcast. I'm really pleased that you're here to talk about this.  In the world of of sort of let's just begin off with the workforce and what's going on from a trends perspective and how it's shaping the job market and the world. And just can you explain a little bit what's happening and the trends of the workforce?


Anne-Marie Fannon: [00:04:15] Absolutely. So first and foremost, we have to acknowledge COVID and Covid's impacts on the workforce, particularly with respect to considerations of remote work and hybrid work and what this means in terms of access to global talent. So as as everyone has seen, COVID 19 really accelerated the workforce trends that were well underway and pushed us to think about how we are going to respond in a really efficient and thoughtful manner. The work-learned team recently completed a review of the literature of the future of work, and in that we identified six specific workforce trends that again were already underway before COVID, but has accelerated. So the first one is top of mind for many of us. Advances in AI and technology and really at the core, what that means in terms of ensuring that our employees have an appropriate mix of those human and technical skills and how we're going to be able to really quickly respond to technology's impacts on our day to day work. The next trend that emerged is really the increasing need for employees to have skill agility and transferability. So with the rapid changes, the rapid impacts of technology, our day to day work is changing so quickly and that means as employees, we need to know how our skills transfer to different tasks, to different roles and sometimes even to industries as new industries emerge. So how can you take those skills that you learned in school or that you've developed through 10, 15 years of a career in one industry and think about how to leverage them in an entirely new context. The next one is sort of hand in hand with that, and that's the need for all employees to be those lifelong learners, so constantly up-skilling and re-skilling, identifying their own gaps and taking the initiative to fill them.


Anne-Marie Fannon: [00:06:35] And of course, this isn't just on the individual worker. This is something where we're going to need solutions at an ecosystem level, both employers and government. But there really will be quite an imperative that each employee really understand what is happening in the world of work and taking the ownership to make sure that they are individually prepared to respond. The fourth trend relates to diverse workplaces. So once again, going back to this idea of global talent and how we might think about an international workforce, but also what it means to tap into the entire labor market and to build inclusive workplaces that support diverse employees. Because we need all of our workers, it's not just a nice to have, it's it's an imperative for all organizations to really be thinking about talent in different ways and much more inclusive ways. The gig economy, of course, continues to grow. So how do we manage this? How do we protect worker rights, create strong employment experiences in a gig economy? And then another trend that is emerging and we'll probably talk about quite a bit later as this gap between employee and organizational values. And I think that's really epitomized by the 'Great Resignation' and organizations needing to think about whether or not they really live their stated values. Are they really encouraging Wellness Work-Life Balance in their employees? And this is top of mind for Gen Z. So not only is it something that employers need to think about for all of their employees, but if they really want to access this emerging talent, they're going to need to change work structures to live those values and understand the values of their employees.


Craig Asano: [00:08:49] Wow, that is a lot to take in. I mean, every single one of those five trends, whether it's the tech moving online and, we've seen growth in the gig economy, of course, in all sorts of others. The diversity point, the lifelong learning, the gap in the values like what this is at a time when you have the Great Resignation, yet governments around the world, they need to get their economies back on track, get everyone back to work. So this is the timing of this conversation it's ideal. So in terms of these skills or trends really what or how is Canada doing a good job? Is there one area that we've got it or there's a gap and we need a lot of work, and how do we rank globally? Are we doing a good job or do we need to go back to the drawing board?


Anne-Marie Fannon: [00:09:40] Mm-hmm. Yeah, I mean, I think we should be very proud of our educational systems in Canada. Canadian graduates consistently rank in the top five of the world, and we also have a highly educated population with sixty two percent of adults age twenty five to sixty four with post-secondary degrees. So this does mean that Canadian talent is highly sought after, and all employers, especially our domestic employers, really need to think strategically about how to build those workplaces that are going to attract Canadian talent. So this is a problem in many sectors. But as I am sure you know, it's felt very acutely in the tech industry where oftentimes our salaries fail to compete with, say, our American competitors. So not only do our employers need to think about how they're going to attract the talent, but especially how to retain it within their organizations. And as mentioned earlier, and we can get into a little bit later, this really means rethinking what work looks like and ensuring that staff find it meaningful. And for employers, this might mean a lot of individualization of work, and that butts up against many of our existing practices.  But we need to see the value and the specific ways that we can engage each individual employee sort of solve for the individual as I heard someone once say so that we can really build this human capital within our organizations.  In terms of challenges with the Canadian educational system. I think one of the things that's emerging is really making sure that we are indeed imbuing those future ready capabilities in our students. And obviously, I will be an evangelist for work-integrated learning and the ways in which it can help to develop those competencies in our learners because that's what we need them to know that the future of work is going to be volatile, uncertain, complex, ambiguous. They're going to have to shift. It's not, you know, learn and earn as as we had in the past. We're going to have to be constantly evolving. So that's the thing we need to keep our eye on and the Canadian educational system that we build lifelong learning capabilities in our students and think about constant connection between education and work throughout life.


Craig Asano: [00:12:22] Yeah, experential. I mean, I look at my own case, although I graduated many years ago. But the co-op experience, that was what it was about and fast forward all those years later, I just can't imagine how the experience has changed so much but for the listeners, you heard it've got 25000 amazing co-op students that absolutely need this experiential education because we've got to close the gaps. There can't be any gaps in what industry is needing. It's evolving very quickly and it really works hand in hand with the leading universities like the University of Waterloo. So if you need a co-op student, connect with with me or we'll connect you on with the experiential co-op department at University of Waterloo. And we're very thankful that NCFA has a partnership with UW, so that's excellent. So. I know we've got a number of questions in the gaps area but let's just divert for a second here to define the workforce. You mean you're developing exponential programs for students and I guess it's Gen Z. I mean, I find it tough to keep track of it. We had millennials now we got Gen Z. Many of us are Gen X and different generations ourselves. So when we're talking about Gen Z and the talent that they represent, can you just describe who exactly are we talking about? What is their life like? Are there stereotypes that shouldn't be out there? Can you describe a little bit about Gen Z?


Anne-Marie Fannon: [00:14:04] Absolutely. So as with all of these generation categories, there's some debate about the specific age range of Gen Z, but roughly we're talking about those who were born in the latter half of the nineteen nineties through to the early teens. So really the age range of those that are roughly between nine and twenty four years old. And in terms of their profile, they they tend to be categorized as flexible and adaptable with a real appreciation for diversity. They value their independence, as well as the ability to express and to have their opinions recognized. They're incredibly skilled at multitasking. They are those true digital natives as well. And so one thing that's really interesting about Gen Z is they're really strong at moving between technology and and in person or real experiences. This sort of that fluidity that will work incredibly well for these remote and hybrid work forces. They certainly prioritize financial stability, and they're also seen as highly competitive and entrepreneurial in terms of some specific stereotypes that might emerge from that profile, sometimes we hear that Gen Z has a short attention span that they prioritize, say, hedonism over hard work and that they really do require more flexibility in their work. And I think, well, there's some truth to some of those stereotypes or generalizations. Sometimes that's more us older folks sort of having notions of what effective work looks like or what worker engagement looks like that just don't hold true for this generation, but that in no way shape or form limits their ability to contribute to our organizations in incredible ways. It just means, as we've already talked about, that we need to think about how to bridge that gap.


Craig Asano: [00:16:18] So speaking of bridging the gap, we're working with all sorts of start up and scale up companies. They're experiencing right now a resource like a strain of resources and resource allocation, and they're competing across the board. I was just having a conversation with my brother, who's leading a transportation tech company. I think there's 24 developers, and it seems like every week I get on the phone, there's another, talented developer being plucked away for a higher salary and things. So I just the strategies that a company might employ to retain that talent and you know what are some tips and how should an organization, whether they're smaller, nimble and agile startup or, an emerging scale up someone that's closed a few rounds and probably north of 100 employees approaching, two-three-four hundred and even even enterprise. What's the latest thinking?


Anne-Marie Fannon: [00:17:20] Mm hmm. Absolutely. So this is something that work-learn has studied extensively. Maybe I will start with recruitment. So how do we attract Gen Z candidates to our organization? And we recently did a study with some of our students to better understand why they would or wouldn't apply to a specific job posting. And the advice for employers is this so job ads need to go beyond tasks, pay and benefits. Those job ads really need to be explicit about the skills that an employee is going to learn. The job ads need to help the employee see the ways in which they'll be able to make a positive impact, and those job ads should articulate the organization's values. And students were even more compelled to apply to a job if it was clear in that ad actually how the employer was going to make these things a reality. You know, Gen Z and this applies, particularly in a work-integrated learning context. They want to know how they're going to be given opportunities to grow and to contribute. And we can talk about this a little bit more. But that really comes down to structuring job tasks differently with a rich balance of, of course, getting the day to day job done, but also really carving out space for those Gen Z ers to innovate, to stretch themselves and to make an impact and that goes oftentimes beyond the job description itself. And then there's there's also some work that we've done in terms of how to motivate Gen Z. So again, they're more likely to be attracted to positions where they enjoy their work, where they have a chance to make a positive impact for the organization, but also for society where they have a strong social network at work. That's really, really important for Gen Z and that they're able to receive recognition for that work and there's some job stability. So instantaneously you might begin to see some gaps between these values and, say, the future of work trends that we just talked about. You know, with the increase in the gig economy and our remote workplaces where we're still trying to figure out how to replicate those social networks. So this is something for us to bear in mind as we think about evolving our organizational structures. It doesn't mean upending everything, but it really does require an understanding of these values of Gen Z and being really thoughtful in how we structure day to day work, how we build social networks and how we recognize and reward the efforts of Gen Z.


Craig Asano: [00:20:28] Wow, we've got a challenge, the great resignation, it's not going to be easy to get back to work You can't treat them like a number, right. And I think the larger the organizations are, even though they have an ingrained culture, that's a big challenge because however many hierarchies away from those that are making the ultimate decisions, and I heard instead of the task, you really need to show the value, the road-map, the culture and all the things that would be great to know as you're assessing various employer prospects. And so I think that is a gap. I think that might come out in the interviews and maybe if the due diligence were done by Gen Z or anyone for that matter looking for new job, they they might have an opportunity to talk to, another employee and just an employee, an employee and compare notes. So I think it's fascinating. So from an organizational perspective, we're working with a lot of innovation sectors and that's everything from all the new technologies and how they apply to various use cases and sectors. It's not always the, finance apps, let's say, but are there certain roles and there are certain opportunities that would be best matched with Gen Z's capacity to innovate? Do you think there's a good fit there?


Anne-Marie Fannon: [00:22:00] Yeah, great question. And I think it's really important for us to emphasize that youth, so our Gen Z right now have specific traits that make them uniquely innovative, and some of that has to do with the stage that they're at in their lives. And even with their their neural, their brain development. And so I don't think it's it's limited to specific roles. But I do think what all organizations need to do as they bring Gen Z talent into their companies is to think again about creating the space and the structures that allow and empower Gen Z to innovate. So this is drawing upon some of the work of our colleagues at Waterloo, Amilia Clarke and Ilona Dougherty. They study youth and innovation, and they've found that, among other things, some of the really strong traits that you would see in Gen Z. So youth, as we might remember, are still visionaries. They're they're still able to dream big and believe in the art of the possible. They're at their neurobiological peak of creative thinking, and they are just not as bound by social rules and hierarchy. There are also experimenters who are curious, and they're really, as I said, willing to challenge the status quo. So in order to capitalize on this, employers need to first give space and flexibility for that innovation to occur. And so again, maybe it's one of those models that we hear about with the 10 percent of the work time on an innovation project or a stretch project for that employee. Maybe it's not something that is mission critical, but that could have a significant impact on the organization's bottom line. And that can be really inspirational for a Gen Z to be able to contribute in that kind of meaningful way. But most importantly and fundamentally, it actually requires a willingness on the part of the employer, the supervisor, the organization to hear, to listen to the ideas, to be open to the questions and the potential criticisms that would come from our Gen Z talent and to empower them to bring forward their questions and their ideas.


Craig Asano: [00:24:38]  So I'm hearing we need new organizational structures, we need to do this idea of space. We're not talking physical space. They need room in a road-map for growth and one thing that I guess I can tackle it through a question, a couple of different perspectives but maybe the thing that popped into my mind that our listeners might be thinking about is that organizations, they're not all filled with Gen Z employees. So, the founders might be a little bit older (they might be young too).  How can Gen Z with these new organizational I sort of have a two pronged question comparing and contrasting with maybe some of the organizational structures of a startup or scale up compared to what the ideal Gen Z organizational structure might be but then what is the impact on everyone else because we might have some older employees in there as well, and they're providing a different experience and they're collectively as a team, building and innovating products and commercializing them to market. Yeah. Any thoughts on that?


Anne-Marie Fannon: [00:25:50] Yeah, absolutely. And I, you know, it is one of those things where particularly as we think about Gen Z or, you know, early talent, early employees, yes, it means that some changes to organizational structures are necessary. But I don't think it means that sort of complete upheaval that changes how you and I do work. So maybe I'll sort of put a little bit more specificity on that point and then talk about how it how those changes might interact with other generations. So, you know, for organizations to really maximize engagement at work from a Gen Z perspective, as we've always already talked about, it really is giving that space for innovation and for skill development but oftentimes those things already exist in our roles. What we need to do for Gen Z is make it really explicit. So learning has always been closely integrated with work. The two are inextricable, but what can be really helpful for young talent is for them to have their attention drawn to those explicit learning opportunities. We're doing this project or we're doing this training, and here's why we're doing it, and here's how it's going to help you. And so it's it's not necessarily saying, Oh, the way that we've been doing work for the last 50 years is wrong. And this is, I don't even think Gen Z specific. It's just youth specific and really making a few more intentional efforts to, as you've already said, show them that career road-map, show them the impact and being a little bit more open to what might be seen as criticisms of why do we do this process this way? So maybe just want to temper that a little bit that I don't think it means we don't know how to create effective organizations for our employees or for our youth, just that it can be really helpful for all of us to think about how we are developing our skills and then that's kind of a best practice across the board.  And then in terms of sort of the impact on other generations, and I'm going to maybe draw upon just work-integrated learning.  Specifically, I think that's where the magic happens, when you can create a little bit of that space and where youth can be seen as mentors and mentees to their colleagues. So, you know, oftentimes the new graduate or the work integrated learning student is going to be bringing some of the newest ideas in their field. Or they they are those digital natives. They've got that technology in hand and so they can mentor their colleagues at the same time that they are learning from their colleagues about their own career journeys. And, you know, the the best practices in the organization and the best practices for finding fulfillment in work and work life balance. So I don't see it....we talk about generational sort of pushes against one another. I think what the magic of work-integrated learning is that when you bring someone with these fresh perspectives into your organization. And you're really willing to listen. There can be this beautiful collaboration that happens and that challenges you to really see things through their eyes and evolve your organization accordingly.


Craig Asano: [00:29:55] I love it. Drop all those stereotypes and just collaborate and get the best that everyone can offer. And that's the whole workplace, the whole thing. Let's move on and widen the lens a little bit from Gen Z and talk about the global hiring future because we're seeing and we have heard for decades but I think now it's here, there might be some concern about job loss through automation trends, autonomous workers and robots as not just employees, they're also customers now, as we've learned through some of our metaverse contacts. And what is the impact of the the raw automation and autonomous workforce future look like?


Anne-Marie Fannon: [00:30:52] Mm hmm. Right. So it's such an interesting question, isn't it? And particularly, as you've just said, as we really start to see it play out in organizations in response to the pandemic and labour shortages, we've already seen that the technology is here and it's advancing quickly. On the other hand, I don't think it's quite meeting the predictions about the speed to which it would disrupt broadly disrupt as many roles or industries. Nevertheless, I believe that the cautions about the impact of AI and robots are true, and those cautions are really that we need to think differently about how we train our workers, and as I've already shared, how we develop the lifelong learning skills that are going to be so critical for their continuous development and employability. Because, as has always been, the case, technology can help us tremendously with productivity. And even though this means our jobs will change and yes, some jobs will be lost, this isn't necessarily a bad thing, if we can find ways to upskill our existing workforce to allow them to make more meaningful contributions using those uniquely human skills. So with with respect to AI and robots, this is of course going to be particularly important with low wage earners who are always vulnerable but many of the predictions with respect to AI and machine learning are noting that knowledge workers are going to be quite vulnerable as well, and vulnerable is probably not the right word, that many knowledge workers are going to have their jobs dramatically changed as a result of AI, and that doesn't have to be a bad thing. It can make our jobs easier, remove those mundane tasks and and even increase demand or availability for services. But we do need to ensure that we are building the structures where when the technology comes in and you have those dedicated employees that have spent their careers with your organizations that we are there to help them evolve their work accordingly, and that's the key thing.  And that's what we're hearing from industry as they start to think about how to do their training differently right now before the technology has come in and completely removed 80 percent of someone's job. How do we train our workers, not in a technology, not on a specific skill, but very holistically to take the initiative to learn the human skills that are going to let them take that specific area and do more meaningful work in it because the technology has helped to remove those sort of rote or routine tasks.


Craig Asano: [00:34:02]  look at the supermarket checkout, I never go in the line, I check myself out. It's the DIY checkouter every time, you know.  So you touched upon skills and I can only think like about being future ready and I've got two kids trying to raise them the best we can and regardless of age, young or old, like, what are the skills that are required to be ready for these global changes in automation that is happening? What are the core skills?


Anne-Marie Fannon: [00:34:35] Yeah, absolutely. So this is something that we've studied extensively at Waterloo as well, and we've developed what we call our future ready talent framework to provide our students with guidance on what those skills are going to be and how they can specifically develop them. So the Future Ready Talent framework consists of 12 competencies that are divided into four sort of clusters or buckets. And first, we have this idea of expanding and transferring expertise. So that includes competencies like the domain or technical skills that you need to do your day to day job. But it also includes technological agility. So the ability to not just learn specific software, but to be really comfortable with technology and to be an advocate for technology. And it also includes information and data literacy as something that's going to be core in just about every job in every industry. And then we also have a category that is really about developing self. And this is kind of how I think the future ready talent framework differs from some existing competency frameworks because it focuses on self-management, so resilience and emotional intelligence, and it focuses on self-assessment, really understanding where your strengths are and also what areas you have for development as an employee and as a human in this world. And then the third competency in this bucket is lifelong learning and career development. And again, that idea that we are all going to have to take responsibility for managing our own careers and making sure that we're staying abreast of the changes within our field.  The third category in our future ready talent framework is one that has always been critical for work and you'll probably find in any competency framework. So we have communication, we have collaboration and then we have intercultural effectiveness and understanding what it means to work within a global workforce. And then the last category is really design and deliver solutions. All of these previous competencies are absolutely critical, but we have to be able to take them and move from concept to execution. So in that category, we have an innovation mindset, we have critical thinking and then we have implementation. And I what I absolutely love about the future ready talent framework is that these competencies span all domains, all careers, and they really do think about the evolution of the human and how we can sort of be using this framework even as myself. What am I doing to improve my critical thinking skills these days? And how does that align with my day to day work? What does it really mean for me? And so I think as our learners move through their work-integrated learning experiences and really start to understand what these competencies are and how they're developing them. This gives them the resilience, the adaptability to navigate these, this rapidly changing future of work.


Craig Asano: [00:38:06] That is a ton to absorb. I'm also conscious at the time, I'm trying to keep us on track here, but I love what I'm hearing. I'm learning a ton and it's certainly a different type of conversation than we've been having here on Friday's podcast, so the last question before we get into our, you know, every, every podcast, we try to do that I'm hosting anyway, try to do some rapid fire questions. But the last question is just the trends in education and is there any intel to pluck from your immense knowledge base and experience in what's happening. Are we missing any pieces here with regards to preparing not just our future workforce, but ourselves for for the future from an educational perspective?


Anne-Marie Fannon: [00:39:00] Mm hmm. Mm hmm. Yeah, thanks so much. It might not surprise you that I want to talk a little bit about work-integrated learning, so it's certainly not new, but we're seeing such huge interest in it these days. And I think again, it really does boil down to its effectiveness as an educational model to meet the changing needs of industry and society. And so that's what I see happening in a work integrated learning space. I mean, if you look at the co-op model, it's been around a Waterloo for over 60 years and in some ways there's some really cool stuff about it that is, you know, preparing students for a gig economy. You work for four months, you go to school for four months and you try out different industries in different organizations. But one of the things that I see happening in the educational space is just this continued partnership between industry and education and thinking about what those connections look like in a different way. And so that could mean an educational institution working really closely with a specific employer or with an industry association to really better understand what is happening out there and to co-create programming, to adapt programming to meet those needs. That's what's super exciting to me about what's happening in the Canadian educational context. I think the kind of the walls of the ivory tower are coming down in and certainly in work-integrated learning there's real interest in understanding how we need to evolve as educational institutions to meet the needs of industry, but then more broadly as society.


Craig Asano: [00:40:52] I'd absolutely love to figure out how NCFA and our partnership with UW can really take it to the next level and figure out how can we implement that innovation to get whole capacity, and I think it's very exciting. I don't have all the answers, and I certainly did come up through that more traditional co-op program, which was great but I think we're at a period in sort of the journey of education and people can get access to things immediately but yet from a skills perspective, they need so much more to be future ready. So I'm certainly excited to take that conversation forward another time but this brings us to the my favourite part of the discussion, although I've really enjoyed the entire dialogue today is the rapid fire questions. So I'm going to ask five short questions, and we're looking for short answers and rapid questions and answers. You ready for that?


Anne-Marie Fannon: [00:41:57] Ready.


Craig Asano: [00:41:58] Ok, let's do it. And then we'll we'll wrap things here. So number one, what is your favorite Christmas cookie?


Anne-Marie Fannon: [00:42:05] Ginger snaps.


Craig Asano: [00:42:07] Oh, I love those. Number two, what is one piece of advice you'd give yourself if you went back in time to when you were a university student?


Anne-Marie Fannon: [00:42:17] Yeah, stop worrying so much.


Craig Asano: [00:42:19] Let it happen, right? Ok. Number three, what motivates you each and every day?


Anne-Marie Fannon: [00:42:25] Absolutely. I am in love with my work and I just feel so lucky to get to do it.


Craig Asano: [00:42:31] Love the passion. So number four, what's your favourite holiday destination, whether it's a city or country?


Anne-Marie Fannon: [00:42:38] Anywhere in the Caribbean.


Craig Asano: [00:42:40] Nice. I don't know if you're going to be getting there this year, though. Last rapid-fire question what's one thing Canadians can do to make the world a better place?


Anne-Marie Fannon: [00:42:52] Yeah, I think we are so, so fortunate and as Canadians, we need to know what is happening in this world. I think the UN SDGs are a great thing for us to be focusing on and to really extend our internal domestic capacity for the betterment of the world. So learn the SDGs, know what they mean and think about that global workforce.


Craig Asano: [00:43:22] Amazing. So just in closing here, Anne-Marie, how can listeners anyone who to the podcast get in touch with you if they have any follow up questions, they'd like to learn more or they'd like to, you know, integrative work, learning, or they'd like to hire some students? How do they get in touch with you?


Anne-Marie Fannon: [00:43:40] Oh, absolutely great questions. So they can look us up online at the Work-Learn Institute. They can send me an email directly. would love to hear from the listeners and to explore some collaborations.


Craig Asano: [00:43:58] Absolutely. So with that in mind, thank so much, Anne-Marie, for sharing your valuable time, knowledge and expertise with us. It was an absolute pleasure. I learned a ton. And you're welcome back absolutely any time.


Anne-Marie Fannon: [00:44:11] Thank you so much, Craig. It was a blast…


Craig Asano: [00:44:19] Perfect. Thank you very much. So if you're new to Fintech Fridays, please check out some of the incredible past episodes on the site. You'll be surprised, I think, with what you'll find. We look forward to seeing you next Friday for another episode of Fintech Fridays. Have a great weekend, everyone.


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