SCCs: Giving graduates an edge in a competitive job market

SCCs: Giving Graduates an Edge in a Competitive Job Market

Imagine two newly graduated Multimedia Production students, Carlos and Chyenne, applying for the same job opening at a prestigious graphic design studio. 

Both applicants graduated with similar GPAs and have no prior work experience in the graphic design field. 

During the interview process, Carlos struggles to convey his skillset and feels a bit frozen sharing exactly why he’s a good candidate for the job.  

Chyenne, however, sparks the interviewer’s interest when they notice Student Core Competency (SCC) badges listed on her resume. 

Sketch of a bison over a purple gradient background.Sketch of three wolves over a grey gradient background.Sketch of a raven over a blue gradient background.

“You’ve earned badges in Global Citizenship, Critical Thinking, and Communication,” the interviewer says. “Can you tell me what these all mean?” 

Instead of struggling to find reasons why she’s a good candidate, Chyenne’s SCC badges show her skillset through specific examples. Not only does this allow Chyenne to talk at length about her relevant skills and experience, but the SCCs also help Chyenne stand out against her competition. 

Student Core Competencies: Transferable life skills

The Student Core Competencies (SCCs) are the building blocks of every learning experience at Lethbridge College. 

SCCs include: 

  1. Innovation 
  2. Problem Solving 
  3. Global Citizenship 
  4. Critical Thinking 
  5. Teamwork & Collaboration 
  6. Communication 
  7. Career & Personal Development 

These intangible life skills are designed to help students find personal and professional success long after they’ve graduated. 

In the classroom, assessment can show up in many forms, including writing assignments, multiple-choice quizzes, presentations, and more, but days are long gone when a standardized pen-and-paper test is the norm. ChatGPT could be the chance to push assessment in the college classroom even further, potentially offering opportunities for creativity, critical thinking, and building trust (Fortane, 2023).

SCC benefits for students

  • sets them apart from other applicants with concrete examples of learned skills 
  • helps them articulate their skillset for meaningful conversations with employers 
  • prepares them for the workplace in a more tangible way with real-life skills

Using Chyenne’s example, let’s say she’s settled into her new graphic design job. She’s got a good idea of how her company runs projects but notices a communication gap between project kick-off and regular check-ins – which has caused a few ballooned timelines. 

After a morning meeting, Chyenne quietly pulls her employer aside, and explains her idea. 

“Instead email check-ins, which can get overlooked or forgotten about,” Chyenne says. “What if we tried an AI project tracker that sends automatic updates when someone signs into their board?” 

Because Chyenne has learned Communication and Critical Thinking skills during her time in post-secondary, she’s not only able to better think her way through challenges, but she’s also better able to communicate her ideas in a clear, yet sensitive way. 

These ‘life skills’ will continue to help Chyenne thrive in her current role and they will also follow her throughout her life! 

Creating a brighter future for learners, employers – and the entire province of Alberta

Along with equipping Lethbridge College students for life-long success, the SCCs also benefit employers, and even the province of Alberta. 

Benefits for employers

Students who’ve graduated with SCCs have, in a sense, been pre-vetted as better hires. For employers, this means they get: 

  • proof of employee’s impressive life skills 
  • context in what these skills might look like in their workplace 
  • a higher chance of acquiring top talent 

Benefits for Alberta

From a broader point of view, the SCCs help to future-proof Alberta’s workforce by supporting the Alberta 2030: Building Skills for Jobs initiative. 

The SCCs are a key part in achieving the government’s transformational vision of “moving us forward with a world-class post-secondary system that draws and nurtures talent, creates opportunities for business and industry to thrive, and ensures current and future generations have the skills and knowledge they need to succeed,”  

How do the SCCs work?

At Lethbridge College, students can earn SCC badges through the HIVE, and through various activities inside and outside the classroom. For those various activities, instructors will assess and award students the appropriate competency badge. 

 SCCs are assessed through a three-level framework:  

  1. Involved – Students understand the competency criteria. They can talk, write, describe, or explain it. 
  2. Engaged – Students can adequately demonstrate the competency criteria. 
  3. Leading – Students take the initiative in coming up with new ideas, expanding on existing ones, making changes, and working together to create changes (much like Chyenne demonstrated with her employer). 

SCCs also meet students where they’re at. So, if a student enters post-secondary already practicing one of the three levels of the assessment framework (as often does happen) learners will be able to obtain their appropriate badges. 

Person looking at documents about SCC

Committed to empowering learners

The SCCs play a crucial role in equipping students for today’s job market while aligning with the demands of employers and the government’s initiatives for workforce development. This is precisely why Lethbridge College uses the SCCs, and why we are committed to driving progress and fostering innovation from within. 

>> Listen to our podcast on SCCs here: E40: Student Core Competencies – Future-proofing Tomorrow’s Workforce with Transferable Life Skills 

Seanna Uglem

Career Development Coordinator

Tanya Weder

Multimedia Production Instructor

Jordana Gagnon


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