Skip to main content

Grad students: looking for skills? You’re in the right place

Concordia’s GradProSkills Program is back — and its 170 specialized training workshops are filling up fast
September 18, 2013
By Tom Peacock


Since its launch two years ago, Concordia’s Graduate and Professional Skills Program (GradProSkills) has delivered almost 600 workshops to more than 2,000 graduate students on a wide range of topics designed to help them succeed in their studies and their professional lives.

This fall, with more than 170 different skill-building sessions on offer, complemented by a wide selection of online resources, the program is bigger and more diverse than ever. Graduate students are already signing up in droves.

GradProSkills workshops are led by learning specialists, and usually last between an hour-and-a-half and three hours. “They cover all aspects of graduate studies,” says Hansong Wang, a master’s student at the Concordia Institute for Information Systems Engineering (CIISE) who has signed up for five workshops so far this term.

As well as setting him up with specific training, Wang found that the sessions helped him become a better and more assertive communicator. “They taught me to just go ahead and speak up!” he says, laughing.

GradProSkills is able to offer its catalogue free of charge, thanks to the participation of more than 40 partner organizations on and off campus. One of the newest external associates is the Montreal Young Chamber of Commerce (Jeune Chambre de Commerce Montréal); it will be holding a networking event and running an entrepreneurial workshop.

Director Laurie Lamoureux-Scholes is also launching an on-campus partnership initiative called GradProSkills Fellows. “We’re trying to attract more faculty,” she says.

“One of the things we noticed from the feedback we received over the first two years was a greater demand for more academic and entrepreneurial resources at the graduate level.”

Another addition with new partner support is the GradProSeries. This series of sessions will cover a range of subjects, from entrepreneurial strategies to research-creation and innovation. Lamoureux-Scholes and her colleagues are also capitalizing on the enthusiasm of regular workshop participants with an Ambassador program.

Agnes Malek, a second-year MA student in the Department of Applied Linguistics and one of this term’s four “ambassadors,” will be leading one of the program’s popular language workshops: an English conversation group for international students.

“We’ll be focusing a little bit on academic conversation — how to deal with certain professors who want to be called sir or madam, versus others who are less formal. Those kinds of things can be tricky,” she says.

In her first year, Malek took two GradProSkills workshops a month. As well as giving her a break from studying and a chance to interact with other grad students, they were “extremely valuable,” she says.

“They provide you with a lot of information. They can be very dense, but that really is a benefit. They’re a short time investment, and you can get a lot out of them.”

Back to top

© Concordia University