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March 12, 2009

Meghan Biggs, a development assistant with Ministry of Labour and Citizen Services, has a career plan. And with the help of her employer and Camosun College, the plan is on schedule and on budget!

BC the Best on Earth.The BC Pacific Leaders Scholarship program, a government sponsorship initiative, helps with the budgetary side of the equation. Scholarships of up to $5000 a year are awarded to public servants who commit to pursue their studies aligned with the province’s future needs.

And Meghan is a public servant who believes in the power of one, serving many. As a development assistant, she’s proud of working on projects that improve services for BC communities and residents.

Right now, Meghan is working toward a Local Government Administration certificate from Camosun. That puts her one credential closer to the ultimate goal—project-managing the design and construction of sustainable community developments. Eventually, Meghan plans to manage projects with a LEED Accredited Professional (AP) attached to her name. (see below (or link to a page of this story that goes more in-depth).

'Easy as 1,2 3' is easy to say

Meghan BiggsWith Meghan’s long term goal of project management, it’s no surprise that she’s developed one, two and three year learning and career plans. With discipline, skill and access to educational benefits on her side, it’s Meghan’s commitment to her goals that will result in success.

Just over a year ago, Meghan worked for a property management company. That experience provided practical experience, plus the insight into how much could be accomplished through sustainable development practices.

The groundwork was laid for the next steps. A sister in a student co-op position with the Ministry of Transportation heard that the Ministry of Labour and Citizen Services was also a good place to work, and encouraged Meghan to apply.

Meghan is now a development assistant with the ministry’s Accommodation and Real Estate Services branch. She’s discovered that life/ work balance initiatives are encouraged and supported by the ministry.

“They walk the talk, and promote healthy practices with flex days and employee development, for example,” says Meghan. “We’re encouraged to align work goals with personal career plans.”

Meghan first discovered that financial help for education was available when the ministry emailed employees information about the BC Pacific Leaders Scholarship program. The government boosted this scholarship program from 75% coverage to 100% in the last couple of years.

Employees work with supervisors to develop an education plan aligned with career goals. Meghan decided that Camosun’s Local Government Administration certificate would be her first step.

The one-year Camosun program is designed for people currently working in government. The fact that most of the classes are online means students can reach their educational goals while working and having a life! Meghan does not come to campus more than twice a term, once for each 7 week class.

“The program has a lot of flexibility,” notes Meghan. “It’s important to pick a program that fits your life – that’s what empowers my education.”

The Local Government Administration program has taught her the importance of public stakeholders, and their viewpoints and needs; and how to deliver services to meet those needs without conflicting with the needs of the larger public.

The teachers are one of the things that Meghan likes best about the Camosun program. “Most of them are also online learners,” says Meghan. “They understand their students’ challenges and struggles, and allow for workable solutions.”

She views education as an integral part of life – that consciously balancing life and classroom demands of are part of the act of self-improvement. “Learning should happen continuously,” says Meghan.”We continuously improve if we educate ourselves.”

Pragmatically, Meghan recommends setting up a plan. “Be realistic with your time line,” advises Meghan. “Step through month by month to see how your plan can be accomplished. Educate yourself as to available resources and support.”

After gaining her Camosun certificate, Meghan plans to aim for Project Management Professional (PMP) certification from the Project Management Institute (PMT). She’s studying for the exam prep course now, and hopes to write the exam in May.

Then, onto her long-term plan – to write the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) exam in three years. We’ll see Meghan Biggs, LEED Accredited Professional (AP) working on community project designs then!

Other Camosun administration and management options

Scholarship funding opportunities such as the BC Pacific Leaders Scholarships, in addition to scholarship and bursaries available at Camosun that result in working adults able to take part-time studies.

For every year of sponsored education, one year of service to the BC government is required. Participants can move around within the government, gaining breadth of experience in addition to having their education paid through the scholarship program.

Last updated: September 23, 2015 5:12 pm

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