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OCAD University to rename early-career advancement centre the ‘RBC Centre for Emerging Artists & Designers’

OCAD University

Gift of $1 million from RBC Foundation will support initiatives to kickstart the careers of students and recent alumni

OCAD University students and recent graduates will benefit from a series of initiatives designed to support them in launching their careers as artists, designers, makers and creators thanks to a $1 million gift from the RBC Foundation, through its RBC Emerging Artists Project.

The new funding will support programs providing students and alumni with mentorship, work-integrated learning and skills development opportunities, to be offered by the University’s newly renamed ‘OCAD U RBC Centre for Emerging Artists & Designers.’

The goal of programming offered through the centre is to enhance the employability and increase the entrepreneurial potential of students and recent graduates, as they become career-ready professionals who fuel innovation. In fact, 94 per cent of OCAD U graduates are employed in all areas of the economy, including technology, health care, finance and industrial design; 81 per cent of them will open their own business at some point in their careers.

“We are very grateful to RBC Foundation for this generous gift to help empower students and alumni to create a better future, especially now, during these unprecedented times,” says Ana Serrano, OCAD University’s President and Vice-Chancellor. “The COVID-19 pandemic heightens the importance of entrepreneurship and innovation and these funds will impact the art and design community in a tangible and positive way.”  

“At RBC, we recognize that the arts play an important role in building vibrant communities and strong economies,” said Valerie Chort, Vice President, Corporate Citizenship and Sustainability, RBC. “Because of the significant impacts of COVID-19, career and entrepreneurial skills development are more important than ever and will help artists emerge from the pandemic positioned to succeed. We’re proud to support the programming offered through the RBC Centre for Emerging Artists & Designers to elevate the next generation of artists and creators at this critical time, and we look forward to watching their careers advance for years to come.”  

Supporting early-career advancement and upskilling

Among the programs offered to support students is the RBC Continuing Studies Professional Skills Fund, which provides qualifying emerging creative professionals with the opportunity to acquire and upgrade their skills through courses in certificate programs offered by OCAD U’s Continuing Studies. To date, 35 students have benefited from the fund. 

The University also offers the RBC Speed Networking Program. Similar to the concept of speed dating, this initiative connects students with alumni so they can gain valuable insights on how to kickstart their careers. More than 25 sessions will take place from January through to March 2021. 

RBC is a passionate and longstanding supporter of OCAD U. Since 1991, RBC has committed more than $1.4 million to enhance the educational experience of emerging artists at OCAD U.