Austin - My Co-op Experience

7 September 2017

Fresh out of high school, I wasn't sure of my career path. I had a vague idea of the industry I wanted to pursue, but overall I felt lost.

In the fall of 2016, I started a journey with no real destination. I wanted to test the waters without closing any doors. During my first year of post-secondary education, I was a Commerce student at the Camosun College School of Business. Following a discussion with a close family friend, I felt that pursuing a co-op opportunity was the healthy next step towards my future. A co-op would provide an opportunity to get a feel for business and technology, while providing me with an opportunity to gain valuable work experience.

In May 2017, after applying for a co-op position at Camosun College, I landed a position with the marketing team in the Client Engagement Unit (CEU) in the Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills and Training. When I arrived, B.C. was in the midst of an election which was very exciting. My job was to help oversee social media for and, my job quickly expanded. Suddenly, I found myself working with the whole division on multiple, high-priority projects. For example, I joined the Search Engine Optimization strategy team, and edited and reviewed website metadata, created graphics for an executive audience, and helped plan and work at outreach events.

I will admit that working for the BC Public Service for the first time was intimidating, but my perception of government could not have been more different than what I experienced. I discovered that the work people do on a daily basis is extremely relevant to the everyday lives of British Columbians. I also saw that the public servants I worked with are a dedicated group of hardworking people whose main goal is to serve the public in the best way possible.

Finally, before I joined the Ministry, I was incredibly disorganized. Any of my friends reading this article are probably scratching their heads, wondering how I even managed to get my resume submitted. But I was excited for the new challenge and promised to improve my organizational skills by developing healthy routines and consistent practices. I struggled at first, but found inspiration through my colleagues. Joining the B.C. Public Service has been an extremely rewarding opportunity; the experience has not only shaped my professional life, but also my personal life. I could not have asked for a better, more worthwhile co-op experience. I encourage others to learn more about co-operative education opportunities