Monday, May 26, 2014

Building a Career in Community Development in Canada

Community development work is both a task and a process. The task is to bring a social and economic change; and a process is the application social planning and collective decision making, while incorporating economics, politics, research and an understanding of task diversity.

Community is organic by nature and there is no single road map to ensure community development. It’s a gradual process that demands continuous effort and engagement from professionals who strive to enhance social and economic well-being of people living in various communities.

The core principles that community development workers should believe in are:
Respect - a respect for diversity
Participation - full participation of everyone including minority groups is important to bring a social change
Psychology - understanding of social psychology is important in order to plan how to bring a change
Sustenance - continuous effort is required to bring a sustainable social change
Planning - planning and policy making is required at every stage of community development
Communication - conveying the right message to the right audience at the right time and in the right manner is critical

The community development workers are expected to emotionally stable yet sensitive towards the issues, problems and sufferings of a community. With this, they need to have thorough understanding of society as a whole, social psychology, global perspectives in community development and legal regulations.

Building a Career in Community Development in Canada

Community work involves working together to plan, bring and sustain a change in the society, by exerting control over social, economical, religious and political issues. A community development program may lead prospective community development workers to the right path. The program is grounded on the principles of equality and fairness.

The program is geared towards helping students develop the necessary skills for
  • Building community capacity
  • Promoting sustainable community
  • Managing and directing community economic development initiatives
  • Planning and advocating for change strategies
  • Promoting social and economic justice
  • Challenging patterns of oppression and discrimination
The two-year post-secondary community development course covers a wide range of subjects, such as theoretical foundations in community development, sustainable community development, communication fundamentals, social psychology, community based research, community economic development, community engagement and participation, community development in action, community development policy, and business essentials.

The program combines classroom learning, placement seminar and two separate field placements in real-world settings. The field placement provides students an opportunity to put their acquired knowledge into practice and gain experience. Students are also provided opportunities for international development placements.

The graduates of this program can find employment with government, voluntary organizations, corporations and international community settings.

Enrolling in a Community Development Program

In order to enroll in a community development course, you will need:
  • Secondary school diploma or equivalent
  • English Grade 12 C or University or equivalent
Several colleges in Canada offer community development programs ; however, not all offer students industry exposure that is required to gain hands-on-experience. Centennial College's community development course lays strong emphasis on working in real-world settings. The industry exposure provides students experience and valuable contacts that can be used as references in future.

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