Skyler's Co-op Experience

28 January 2019

 

In 2016 I was full of fresh ideas and inspiration when I came to Victoria to pursue a post-secondary education. But by the time I completed the second year of a Bachelor of Commerce at the University of Victoria, I felt burned out. I had learned a lot, but felt lost when it came to my career path. I took classes that were interesting, but could not understand how these courses applied to my professional future. I made the big decision to take a year off from my studies. After sorting out the logistics, my career counsellor recommended that I complete a co-op during my year off to gain some professional skills and experience while getting a break from school. It turns out that this recommendation was an excellent idea.

This past Fall I was fortunate to land a position with the Client Engagement Unit (CEU) in the Ministry of Advanced Education Skills & Training. For me it was the perfect fit. The CEU is responsible for maintaining and updating the WorkBC.ca website while also marketing the resources through social media and outreach events to provide valuable resources to job seekers and employers across the province. With the CEU, I have been able to broaden my practical knowledge of digital marketing while also gaining valuable experience on the job.

There were a lot of things that I expected out of a co-op—such as gaining professional work experience, meeting influential people, learning about an industry first hand, and getting a taste for what type of work I enjoyed. Yet, there were a lot of things I didn’t expect. Firstly, my employer was very open to me taking on tasks that were aligned with my interests so that I could build skills in areas that mattered most to me. My supervisors were also very supportive of continuous learning. I participated in many seminars and meetings that gave me the unique opportunity to learn new skills and information. There was amazing support for co-op students from different schools and educational backgrounds in the BC Public Service Agency (BCPSA) to meet and get to know each other. The opportunity to network and share experiences and perspectives with other co-op students was very valuable to my career development.  
 
In the past four months of my co-op term I learned so much more than I expected. Previously I couldn’t have imagined myself working for the BCPSA. Now I have a whole new perspective on what the BCPSA does for British Columbians. I truly enjoyed being a part of the team working to help support British Columbians throughout the province. I leave my BCPSA co-op placement more inspired about my professional future than I have ever been before. I encourage others to look into co-op opportunities at their university, and learn more on the WorkBC Co-op page.