SEIDO Students Participate in Trade Training Conference

In 2011, the Saskatchewan Economic & International Development Officer Program (SEIDO), in partnership with the Hanlon Centre for International Business Studies – University of Saskatchewan sponsored four undergraduate students and two university faculty to attend the Forum for International Trade Training (FITT) conference in Ottawa. The attendance of SEIDO Student Officers Megan Doepker, Jackie Cook, Kasie Kelln, and Andrew Davidson as well as University of Saskatchewan faculty Melissa Strom and Christine Benzig, was an unique opportunity for conference "industry" delegates to directly engage and advise an educational institute delegation on how to facilitate FITT-related training skills to the student population.

“The SEIDO Program” was looking at building a partnership with FITT to offer classes to students,” says recent physiology graduate Kasie Kelln. “We went to learn more about FITT and to talk with people to see how we could best set that up.”

University of Saskatchewan graduate and SEIDO Student Officer trainee Megan Doepker explains that the Certified International Trade Professional (CITP) designation would either be connected to existing classes and part of the curriculum, or consist of additional coursework. “FITT also has Going Global workshops, which are shorter programs,” says Doepker. “They’re weekend workshops that the university might implement here as well, while SEIDO Program would use as foundation modules to further train its students too.”

“It was interesting to see how practical the CITP designation is within a number of professions, and to discover just how many industries are looking for students with experience in trade,” says marketing major Jacqueline Cook. “As a young student entering the job market and looking to differentiate myself from my graduating colleagues, the FITT curriculum would set me apart in a way that also allows me to follow my interest in international trade.”

The annual conference draws 150–200 delegates, the majority being small and medium sized enterprises involved in global business. “One of the significant attractions with FITT’s events is to be able to bring students together with the business community,” says FITT Director of Business Development Scott Ferris. “All the research indicates that business still has challenges finding skilled and knowledgeable international trade employees so there is a clear role for FITT to connect business with students to close this skills gap.”

Ferris adds that the U of S students were well-prepared for the conference and represented the university well. “The students from the SEIDO Program were so confident and so eager to participate in all activities. This was a clear indication of the professionalism of the program they are engaged in and is a real credit to the University of Saskatchewan and to the image of Saskatchewan young professionals itself,” he says.

Megan Doepker, Kasie Kelln, Andrew Davidson, and Jackie Cook have been heavily involved the Saskatchewan Economic & International Development Program since last year.

* Please note this article has been updated to reflect the new name change of the “Saskatchewan Economic & International Development Officer Program” (“SEIDO”), from its former program name as the “Saskatchewan International Trade Officer Program” (“SITO”).

The Saskatchewan Economic & International Development Officer Program (SEIDO) allows university/college and high schools throughout Saskatchewan the opportunity build global business knowledge, related skills development, and training opportunities for a career in global business, international trade and development. For more information, please contact Nicholas Kokkastamapoulos (SEIDO Program Coordinator) at the Haultain Institute for Global Business Studies at nick.kokkas@seidoprogram.org or nkokkas@haultaininstitute.org or by telephone at (306) 715-2260. Thank you.