Applied Apprenticeship - SDS 496R

Learning is experience. Everything else is just information. – Albert Einstein

Applied Apprenticeship application: 

Everything you need to know to apply 

- still have questions? email

NOTE: Due to COVID-19, the the planned offering of SDS 496R in Winter 2021 has been cancelled. If/when a future option is available, information will be posted here.

The apprenticeship experience:

What was the most valuable "take-away" experience from your placement?

  • Learning the difference between a job and a career
  • Ability to be an educator and role model
  • Witnessing progress in clients
  • De-stigmatizing my personal assumptions
  • Being the person others sought out to listen
  • Exploring out my comfort zone and pushing my old limits
  • Seeing passion in others
  • Building rapport
  • Being able to establish new services to help UW students 
  • Allow yourself to be a better learner
  • Tied academic learning to hands-on experience

~ as noted by SDS 496 students


Here's what past students have to say:

Lauren's Applied Apprenticeship experience

LaurenLauren has one piece of advice for students who are considering the fourth-year SDS Applied Apprenticeship course:

Allow yourself to be a learner.

During her time at Extend-a-Family, Lauren worked with individuals with learning disabilities for the first time in her life. It was an experience she hadn’t anticipated, but she quickly came to enjoy it. By trying something new, Lauren was exposed to an area of social service that she hadn’t been aware of. The experience pushed Lauren to learn about herself as a service provider, an employee, and a citizen of society.

Because the position is unpaid, the experience is all about learning. Students are allowed to make mistakes and much of the pressure is self inflicted. Lauren was allowed to create her own self-directed experience, delving into aspects of the position that she found interesting and requesting new work when she was eager to learn more. The hands-on experience that Lauren gained highlighted an entirely new career path - one that she is now seriously considering thanks to the Applied Apprenticeship course.

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Margaret’s Applied Apprenticeship experience

MargaretMargaret loved that she had a say in where she was placed for her Applied Apprenticeship. Once she was accepted into the program, she had the opportunity to meet with her professor and talk about her interests and career goals. These were used to find her a placement: in a kindergarten class at Keats Way Public School.

This experience tied academic learning to hands-on experience. Teaching is something that Margaret had been considering as a career path, and this opportunity allowed her to gain some real skills in the field. It was also a practical application of the Education specialization that she’s working toward in her degree.

Spending time with kindergarten aged children taught Margaret to think on her feet and prepare for the unexpected – both skills that she can apply to whichever career path she chooses.

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"I really enjoyed taking [the course] because it consisted of two components. The apprenticeship component gave me the opportunity to work in the community and apply the skills I have learned in class to an organization. My placement... allowed me to enhance my communication and organizational skills... and taught me how to design a program with goals and objectives for a specific target audience. The seminar... taught students how to develop learning goals and gave students the opportunity to discuss issues arising from their apprenticeship... the course is an excellent opportunity for students to learn new skills and apply existing skills to an organization."   - Claudia Frias, Waterloo Regional Homes

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"My placement...taught me the vast amount of work that is involved in constructing a community program from the ground up. I had the opportunity to work with First United Church to help develop their "Food and Friends at First" program which caters to frail elderly... I learned how to recruit volunteers and participants, to receive feedback and adapt programs to run them more effectively, to obtain required items for the program, to network with interested organizations and reflect upon experiences effectively. In class I related my own experience to [those] of my classmates and found many similarities. Differences allowed me to expand my own knowledge of the broad social work field."  - Melinda Goertz, First United Church

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"Foster parents receive lots of training before accepting a foster child into their home, but what kind of preparation do their biological children get? I took this question to my applied apprenticeship at the Children's Aid Society, where I started a support program that helps biological children adjust to the impact of being a foster family." - SDS Alumna Jessica Cragg, Family Service Worker, Family and Children's Services of Waterloo Region

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