Photo: Jake Scott

The RSU and Ryerson’s Career Centre launch a new grant for students doing unpaid work

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By Noushin Ziafati

Ryerson students taking on any form of unpaid work related to their career can now apply for a grant of up to $1,000 for financial support.

The Ryerson Students’ Union (RSU) and the Ryerson Career Centre launched the new grant, called the career development grant, on Oct. 19.

The career development grant is set up for students who are doing unpaid work, which includes internships, placements and lab work. It serves all students working towards developing their careers, whether it be for academic credit or not, and who are not receiving an hourly wage for their work.

Students can apply for the grant online through a Google form, where they must give details such as the program they’re in; the amount of hours dedicated to unpaid work they’re expecting to complete in a semester; how the work placement or internship benefits their career and academic objectives; and also demonstrate their financial need for the grant.

They must also fill out a declaration of truth to ensure that they are being honest with their application, and that they will update the RSU and Ryerson’s Career Centre in case anything changes within 30 days since completing the application.

The grants will prioritize applicants based on their financial need and candidates may be asked to attend a 15-minute interview by a three to four person panel consisting of RSU and Ryerson’s Career Centre staff.

There will be 100 internship grants distributed each year—a number that RSU vice-president education Daniel Lis hopes will increase over the years.

Vice-president education Daniel Lis. Photo: Alanna Rizza

Lis said he has been advocating for the grant since he was an assistant to former vice-president education Cormac McGee two years ago, who was similarly petitioning to help end unpaid internships, and also that he’s “so relieved” that the grant has officially been launched.

“Although there’s still a lot of work to make sure it’s running properly next semester and runs after I’m done [serving as vice-president education], I’m just really, really excited that it’s finally out in the air, it’s finally out in the open and I can talk to students about it,” Lis said.  

The Eye previously reported that as part of their annual budget, the RSU allocated a total of $35,000 for internship grants this year. The RSU has also received a $10,000 investment from Gallivan & Associates that is going towards the grant.

For the fall semester, $40,000 of that money will go towards the grant, funding 30 full-time grants and 20 part-time grants.

Full-time grants of $1,000 will go towards students completing 160 hours or more in unpaid work. Part-time grants of $500 will go towards students completing between 80 hours and 155 hours in unpaid work.

Lis said that the long-term plan is for the grant to become “self-sustaining,” meaning that it will not require ongoing investment by the RSU.

The RSU is currently making applications to the President’s Office, dean’s offices and local businesses who utilize interns for additional funding for the winter semester.

The deadline for the first 50 grants–consisting of 30 full-time grants and 20 part-time grants–for the fall semester will be within the next few weeks, according to Lis. The date of the deadline has not yet been determined.

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