Advancing Together With Barrick Gold

People Barrick and Birchall family bolster co-op education

Giving graduates a competitive advantage as they start their careers

Catharina and William Birchall

Catharina and William Birchall


The Birchall family and Barrick are supporting the expansion of co-operative education at the Ted Rogers School of Management—the business school at Ryerson University in Toronto. The co-op program will give graduates a competitive employment advantage as they start their careers.

“There’s an opportunity to get industry and Ryerson to work together on how best to bridge the gaps so that a graduate could seamlessly make the transition to the commercial world,” said Mr. Birchall, who served as Vice Chairman of Barrick until 2015, and retired from the Company's Board of Directors this year.

Full details were published in Ryerson's University Advancement newsletter:


The Birchall family have long made helping Ryerson students succeed their first priority. When Lillian Birchall (Psychology, ‘15) told her parents, William and Catharina, that many of her Ryerson classmates were collapsing under the pressure of the economic downturn of 2008, the Birchalls donated $1 million to create bursaries to help students in financial need stay in school. It was one of the largest expendable gifts in Ryerson history, and it helped more than 110 students complete their studies and improve their lives.

Now, the Birchalls are set to play an equally integral role in shaping the path of students beyond the classroom and into their careers. To bridge what they have identified as a “skills gap” in the workplace, and give Ryerson graduates a competitive employment advantage, the Birchalls are supporting the expansion of co-operative education at the Ted Rogers School of Management (TRSM) with a new gift of $1 million. And, given William Birchall’s long tenure and commitment to Barrick Gold, the Company has made an additional gift of $250,000 to this important priority.

“There’s an opportunity to get industry and Ryerson to work together on how best to bridge the gaps so that a graduate could seamlessly make the transition to the commercial world,” says William Birchall, honorary Chair of the Ted Rogers Student Society. “We believe Ryerson has the right stuff, and the most relevant programs to get graduates prepared for their careers – that's in the Ryerson DNA.”

Passionate champions of the benefits of co-op education, William and Catharina know that a program like this depends for its success on developing new employer partnerships and connections. That's where the alumni network comes in. They are encouraging alumni and friends of the university to get their workplaces involved as employers of choice for our co-op students.

It's easy—to find out more, get in touch with Osman Hamid, TRSM’s Director of Alumni and Student Engagement (416-979-5000 ext. 4639) or Donna Muirhead, Manager Co-Op Education at TRSM (416-979-5000 ext. 3802).

Co-op placements are a win-win for employers and students alike—employers get the innovative thinking and fresh approach a student can bring to the workplace, and students get the chance to gain on-the-job experiences and skills while still in school. It's a winning strategy that the Birchalls are helping to make possible for more Ryerson students.