The Niagara News is the community newspaper of Niagara College located in Welland and Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada. It is created and produced by the students of the Niagara College Journalism program.
By JACK FORD Staff Writer Let the jobs chase you. Those are the words that best describe Magnet, a revolutionary new job search and communication network launched in September by Ryerson University students as an answer to the struggle post-secondary students face finding work post-graduation and otherwise. Mark Patterson is the director of Research Partnership Development at Ryerson and was instrumental in the creation of Magnet. “I used to be responsible at Ryerson for over 10,000 students, trying to help them find jobs, and it used to frustrate me because I’d have employers looking for a certain type of skill set,” said Patterson. “I didn’t have that information about the student population I was responsible for, so it was really hard to help create effective connections between people.” Magnet is the solution to his problem, and it’s already expanding with a $1.2-million investment from the Ontario government across 18 colleges and universities. “We’ve had over 1,200 employers use the system so far and that’s just the tip of the iceberg,” said Patterson. The launch event, on Sept. 29, featured distinguished guests invited to discuss Magnet and their role in the new technology. Reza Moridi, minister of Training, Colleges and Universities, also had a hand in the formation of Magnet. “Technology can always be developed, but the most important thing, as once Albert Einstein said, imagination is more important than knowledge, and I can see imagination behind the creation of this technology,” said Moridi. The event also saw proof of the system, which has been developed since early-2014 and kept students on their toes for the new technology. Rahim Surani, vice-president of alumni relations at AISEC Ryerson and a fourth-year Business Technology student, said it has helped him find opportunities for post-graduation jobs already. “Through finding [Magnet], I noticed several opportunities that I, as a co-op student, did not previously know of,” said Surani. “Being in IT, it’s a really vague field, so as a student I feel this improved my decision-making and kind of streamlined me in the direction I want to go.” Patterson makes light of what he describes as a “hidden job market” due to the number of job boards that currently exist, saying it causes confusion among employers and potential employees alike. “What people typically do is they look for jobs based on title, so you’ll go to one of the job search aggregators, or even big job boards or even your campus job board, and you’ll look for a job based on a title that you put into a search field.” The stand-out feature of Magnet is its precise search engine, which links everything from employment history and program information to what Moridi describes as “unusual skills” that help students land jobs that would otherwise not be posted due to the long process employers take to post their available positions. “It’s really reversing the process,” said Patterson. “It’s more than just jobs.” To find out who’s looking for your skills, check out www.magnet.today.