The Ryerson Students’ Union (RSU) in collaboration with the Career Centre has created a new grant for students in unpaid internships. The Career Development Grant became official late Thursday night and applies to any Ryerson student currently in an unpaid placement, regardless if it is for a credit or not.
There are 100 grants available per year, with grants for full time students of up to $1,000 and $500 for part time students.
Half of the grants will be distributed in the fall semester and the rest in the winter.
Of the total grants, 15 are set aside for members who identify with marginalized communities.
The RSU invested $35,000 in seed funding, and $10,000 came from Gallivan & Associates.
Students must sign a legal declaration that confirms all the information provided is true and write 250 words detailing their need for the grant and how the internship benefits their career. There is also a possibility for a candidate interview.
Susanne Nyaga, president of the RSU, said vice-president Daniel Lis and the team have always been passionate about pushing a conversation about unpaid internships that some students have to undergo.
“It’s a good stepping-stone, it shows they are acknowledging our concerns of participating in a placement that is unpaid,” said third-year nursing student Naomi Marasigan.
Lis is currently looking into a long-term plan to keep the grant offer. He is specifically exploring how the grant can be self-sustaining without needing to dip into the RSU’s budget.
Lis is reaching out to business sponsors and the university to see who is willing to donate annually towards the grant. The difficulty is trying to make it stick when RSU executives change each year.
“The initiative is a pilot project and increasing the number of grants will depend on the results over the coming months,” said Dan Traynor, campus engagement specialist.
Since this is their first time around, Nyaga said the RSU will be relying on student feedback for improvement.
The application can be found at: goo.gl/5S9sDE