By Molly Hanzidiakou

In the past month, Applied Research and Innovation has taken off at both Algonquin’s Perth and Pembroke campus, yielding successful results already.

Since June, the Rural Economic Research and Development Centre has expanded its operations at both the Lanark and Renfrew counties.

Applied research revolves around the idea of developing a student’s skills.  It uses real job situations to prepare them for their workplace after school. The program takes a student’s knowledge of what they have learned so far in their schooling and applies it to an outside challenge.

“We want to bring pressures of a real client,” said Kerry Milford, project manager of Applied Research at Algonquin’s Perth campus.

The Rural Economic Research and Developing Centre is a collaborative centre that was created to bring the success of the Woodroffe centre to the Renfrew and Lanark counties.

“It uses the collaborative strengths of both areas to help the clients,” said Milford.  “We have a number of programs that they don’t have in Pembroke and vice-versa.  We want to see employment with our students in both counties.”

The centre has seen a lot of activity during the past month.

The goal for RERDC was to have five clients contact the Perth campus and five contact Pembroke.

“We are seeing a lot of applications from clients in the community.  We have a lot more than the five we each need to receive,” said Julie Sylvestre, program officer for Applied Research at the Pembroke campus.  “We are hearing good feedback.”

Milford and Sylvestre keep in constant contact as they coordinate which client and their idea proposition is best suited for which campus’ programs.

Once a client contacts either Milford or Sylvestre with a business problem, they go to the professor of the course that would best fit the job.  If more than one student has the skills, an interviewing process occurs to select a student or group of students who will work for the client.

Projects that are outside of school usually lead to the student getting paid.  However, if it is an in-class project, the work the student produces gets accumulated with their class mark.

The RERDC has led to students acquiring jobs with the client they worked for after they graduated.  This is the goal of the program and makes for the largest success stories.

“We would love to provide each student with an Applied Research opportunity before they graduate,” said Milford.