In the fall of 2016, the Council for Experiential Learning (CEL) embarked on a strategic planning process. Our Council is made up of volunteer members who are dedicated to promoting Experiential Learning (EL). We also advise the government on the opportunities and challenges related to expanding EL opportunities for all Ontario students. We bring wide-ranging expertise based on our roles in a variety of business sectors and community-based organizations.
From the outset, CEL members believed it was essential for us to gather input directly from stakeholders. This was especially important given that the CEL’s high-profile work over many years was followed by a period of relative inactivity during which the landscape for experiential learning changed. We wanted to ensure that our new strategic plan reflected the needs of our community. We engaged, therefore, with numerous stakeholders across Ontario, including: employers, educators and educational institutions, municipalities, Local Employment Planning Councils (LEPCs), workforce planning boards, employment services providers, industry education councils, and other organizations. We asked participants how experiential learning takes place in their region—what is working, and what challenges they faced. We also asked questions to assess awareness of the CEL, its activities, and the potential for partnerships going forward.
The goal was to develop a strategic plan based upon real engagement. Throughout the planning process, stakeholders offered their views, adding valuable insight to our future direction. We then assessed the CEL’s capacities and opportunities. Together we mapped out four new strategic directions to pursue:
- Enhance Awareness of Experiential Learning
- Build Stronger Partnerships
- Ensure Sustainability
- Renew Branding
These strategic directions will serve to focus our work over the next five years. They align with the CEL’s mandate and speak directly to the challenges and opportunities before us, as we strive to prepare Ontario students for the jobs of tomorrow, while increasing their skills and self-development. These directions should signal to all stakeholders invested in the success of the many and varied EL initiatives across Ontario that the CEL is ready to play a positive and active role.
We are proud of the outcome of this process and excited about contributing to an evolving public conversation that transcends narrow industries and interests. As advisors to government, we will continue to provide valuable information to guide policymaking. Our efforts will support the shared goal of expanding EL opportunities to reach all K-12 students with a broader range of EL opportunities, going beyond traditional forms of work placement, such as Co-Op. The CEL is ready to partner with employers and community organizations across Ontario to foster educational experiences that benefit students, employers, and the economy overall.
To view the strategic plan, please click here: CEL 2017 to 2021 Strategic Plan.
We thank everyone who took the time to participate, share ideas and give suggestions.