Online networking and mentorship platform kickstarts an RRC Polytech graduate’s career

By: Hannah Palamer

The RRC Polytech Café, powered by Ten Thousand Coffees, has been an effective networking tool for an RRC Polytech graduate since its inception in January 2020.

The RRC Polytech Café is an online networking and mentorship platform that uses smart-match technology to connect students and alumni. Sehajdeep Singh created his online profile in early 2020 and matched with Dennis Cunningham, a 1991 Creative Communications graduate.

Singh told Cunningham about the loss of his internship, and Cunningham connected him with the owner of Chaeban Ice Cream, Darryl Stewart. Stewart needed someone with an IT background to help with their online platform, and Singh, who attended Business Technology Management at RRC Polytech, was perfect for the job. 

“Dennis knew a bunch of people. A typical Winnipeg thing,” Singh said. “It basically provided me with a starting point and a good reference, which matters a lot.”

Sahajdeep Singh (right) and his mentor, Dennis Cunningham (left), at Chaeban Ice Cream on Aug. 10, 2020. (Supplied by Darcy Finley Photography)

Katrina Sklepowich, the alumni engagement officer at RRC Polytech, said the national body of Ten Thousand Coffees hosts online webinars called Office Hours. These webinars connect hosts and participants worldwide to create career opportunities for students. 

“Students can enjoy knowing that there will be nationwide mentors available to them, thanks to those webinars,” Sklepowich said. 

The platform is user-friendly, and you are in control while using it, Sklepowich said.

“You get a match every 30 days. You can also change that,” she said. “Say you’re gone for the summer months; you can turn your matches off and on at any time on your profile… It’s nice that you get to have that control.”

Singh, who now lives in Brampton, Ont., said taking initiative is key to using The RRC Polytech Café. He said engaging with your mentors, asking the right questions, and being clear about your career goals are important. Mentorship is a collaborative effort, he said.

“In hindsight, this platform is what you make out of it. It’s how much effort you are going to put in,” Singh said. 

After using the platform, students receive an official LinkedIn certificate recognizing their commitment to mentorship.