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Instructors love the perks SAIT offers

SAIT Polytechnic is more than just a place to learn, it is also a desirable place to work.

For the fifth time in six years, SAIT was selected as one of Alberta’s Top 70 Employers by Mediacorp Canada because of its commitments to retirement planning, training programs, tuition subsidies, and access to on-site amenities.

“SAIT really allows me to follow my passion,” said Paul Norris, instructor of architectural technologies.

“That’s not a cliché.”

Norris has worked at SAIT for seven years and has led architectural study tours in Chicago, New York, and even as far as Europe. This combines two of his passions: architecture and travelling.

Another passion is teaching.

“It is such a rush to hang out and talk about architecture,” said Norris.

Aside from working at SAIT, Norris runs an architecture business and applies real-life projects to his assignments. This gives students projects that are “way more relevant” than textbook activities.

“I don’t just give my students assignments, we talk about real-world issues.”

Norris appreciates a flexible work schedule and plenty of vacation days so he can spend more time with his family. Working on a college campus also surrounds him with enthusiastic learners.

SAIT has around 2,500 employees and the average employee age is 47.

Brandie Yarish, director of employee services at SAIT, said that being selected as a Top 70 Employer allows SAIT “to attract and retain top talent.”

“Great people want to work for great employers,” said Yarish.

SAIT’s identity as a polytechnic offers employees a work culture that balances practical instruction with academic education. Employees work in an organization that is more than bottom-line focused.

“It is work that gratifies the soul,” said Yarish.

For Sonya Maloff, sheet metal instructor, teaching at SAIT provides an opportunity to “make a difference.”

Maloff, who graduated from SAIT in 2010, focuses on getting more women in the trades and is a mentor to several female students.

Less than 5 per cent of sheet metal students are female.

During her time as a student, Maloff was drawn to working for SAIT after an instructor encouraged her to consider teaching.

“I thought, ‘I would love to be an instructor for SAIT.’”

Benefits that SAIT offers its employees include more vacation days to improve work and life balance and the option for a sabbatical year after working four years.

There is a community group for retirees called SAIT Alive that connects previous employees and offers reduced membership rates for the library and athletic facilities.

Another perk for SAIT Alive members is free on-campus parking.

Employees can also become students.

SAIT offers on-campus education opportunities, including free continuing education courses if the classes are not full.

Jaime Eschyshyn is the travel coordinator for the SAIT Trojans and is currently taking marketing courses outside of work.

Eschyshyn is hoping to take advantage of SAIT’s professional certification enhancement program in the future.

The program offers tuition subsidies of $10,000 towards a certificate or undergraduate degree and $20,000 towards a doctorate.

SAIT encourages employees to acknowledge each other’s accomplishments through various employee awards.

“I am trying for one this year,” said Eschyshyn, who has worked at SAIT for eight years.

To Eschyshyn, the community of coworkers at SAIT is “like a family.”

Other institutions selected as an Alberta Top 70 Employer this year include the University of Calgary and NAIT.

From the WealMarch 9, 2015