Temporary move leads to career advancement
December 6, 2010
Bethany Helmink began her post secondary education by studying history at Camosun in 2008.She quickly realized that working with people and in management was more in line with her interests and switched to the Bachelor of Human Resources and Leadership degree program. Helmink signed up for co-operative education, and applied for a work term through the Federal Student Work Experience Program (FSWEP). She was offered a position as a Youth Service Officer with Service Canada Centre for Youth in Woodstock, Ontario, and she decided to take the job.
Making the move
Students sometimes are reluctant to leave Victoria for a co-op work term, but despite not knowing anyone in Ontario, Helmink loved the experience and wouldn't hesitate to do it again. "I saw lots of the local community through outreach at work and was able to travel to Ottawa, Toronto and London," she says. Helmink made the most of the networking opportunities, and was able to find a part time position with Service Canada in Victoria through her connections in Ontario. She began working part time in December and went on to apply for and obtain the summer co-op position as a Community Service Assistant. Helmink's supervisor, Darren Ash says "Bethany's prior co-op experience with Service Canada in Woodstock made her an ideal candidate."
Camosun grad gives back—and gains
As a former Camosun student, Darren Ash is pleased to be working with Helmink. Ash himself began work with the public service through FSWEP and admits that until he had the experience, he didn't have a clue what it would be like. "Students have an opportunity to see government public services and it lets them see what kind of competencies they need to work in this business," he says. And the benefits are not just for the students. Ash comments that one of the advantages of hiring a co-op student is getting work done that time pressures don't allow you to get to. "It is great for getting short term projects completed," he says.
During Helmink's work term, she worked on a research project on youth programs offered by Service Canada, one of which is Career Focus. Career Focus is a federally funded initiative that provides financial support to employers who provide career-related work experience to recent post-secondary graduates – a great opportunity for recent graduates to market themselves to employers citing the benefits of the funding option. Visit Employment Assistance Services for more information... Through her work with Service Canada, Helmink applied and expanded upon her newly learned skills – learning how to research effectively, improve her writing skills, business best practices and how to market. "You are taking what you learn in the classroom and actually using it – even though you are not really aware that you are using that knowledge," says Helmink. "Bethany brought great work ethic, commitment to the job and the ability to work effectively with others. She has learned a lot during her work term," confirms Ash.
Is co-op the way to go?
Ash thinks co-op is a great option and certainly would recommend it to others. Helmink enthusiastically concurs and says, "Co-op has confirmed for me that this is where I want to be." She urges students to take advantage of co-op and complete a work term. "Work experience is invaluable. Be open to any opportunities regardless of location. Don't limit yourself to Victoria."
Last updated: July 12, 2011 3:41 pm