TD Bank Group has donated $1 million to Ryerson’s Spanning the Gaps, a program that aims to help adult students receive higher education while expanding their career goals.
The donation was made through TD’s initiative called The Ready Program, which will provide $1 billion by 2030 to different community programs. Spanning the Gaps director Sandra Kerr said the program, which has been at Ryerson for 11 years, helps students get the education they want, even when they might not have access to the traditional routes.
“A lot of times people have a lack of confidence, certainly at that point when they have dropped out it’s pretty hard to get yourself back into things. It’s an investment that requires some faith on their part and it requires faith on our part … and knowing that their lives can change,” Kerr said. “That’s what we do, give them those extra goals and that extra support to reach that goal.”
The donation will be going directly to Spanning the Gaps’ Transition Foundation Program. The program provides students with several credit courses and also connects them with both academic and non-academic supports to complete those courses.
Students who don’t have the academic background to get into academic courses can pick up “learning strategies to give them some confidence in their own abilities to practise developing writing skills, understanding how to read questions [and] understanding how to research,” Kerr said.
Kerr said TD was particularly interested in the program’s goal to encourage and educate students on how jobs are changing in the real world. She said she hopes to work closely with TD to get insight into the changes that are happening specifically in the banking industry.
Looking forward, Kerr said she hopes to see Spanning the Gaps help students that need a different kind of help entering post-secondary.
“We are increasingly learning of other kinds of needs,” Kerr said. “One of them is, for instance, those who may have gone to college or tried a particular program [and] dropped out because it wasn’t for them. [They] have no idea what they would like to do, where they would like to be. [They] know that what they tried didn’t work but they don’t know how to find anything else.”
As Spanning the Gaps moves into its 12th year at Ryerson, TD’s donation of $1 million will go a long way in providing adult students with the support that they need to remain competitive on the job market.
“University is confusing and there is a lot of support systems out there, but a lot of people don’t know about them,” Kerr said. “So for us, it’s a matter of encouraging and reminding these students that they can get that help.”