Internship programs generates myriad of benefits

Northern Rockies Regional Municipality

The 2019 cohort of government interns during their week-long internship orientation at Northern Development's office.

To support Northern B.C. local and First Nations governments, Northern Development offers two internship programs – local government and First Nations government. These valued programs connect recent post-secondary graduates from across Canada to host governments in the Trust’s service region.

In 2019, 10 talented and keen interns were placed with three First Nations governments and seven local governments from Fort Nelson to Williams Lake and many places between. Interns receive a real-world opportunity to practice what they learned in school and hosts governments benefit from new ideas, enthusiasm and increased capacity to serve their constituents.

“I majored in Policy Studies at Mount Royal University, which gave me a foundational level knowledge of public policy, government-relations, project management as well as research and analysis,” said Valerie Caden-Baptiste, local government intern with Northern Rockies Regional Municipality. “I spent the past few years learning about the policy process and I have been able to apply that knowledge to developing policies and coordinating a bylaw review because of this internship."

Caden-Baptiste has a Bachelor of Arts with a major in Policy Studies and minor in Business and has been able to put what she learned in the classroom into practice during her time as an intern. The one-year internship term is ending April 2020 and after that Caden-Baptiste plans to stay in local government, ideally in an economic development role.

"My greatest success as an intern was leading the Northern Rockies Regional Connectivity Strategy,” said Caden-Baptiste when asked about a highlight of her internship. “It was an honour to help develop a roadmap to improve telecommunications in a rural and remote community and I learned a great deal of transferrable skills throughout the project. I was able to see the entire project through from start to finish with the support of the regional municipality staff. I applied for funding, led a RFP (Request for Proposals) process, coordinated with telecommunications consultants, gathered input from community stakeholders and helped deliver a completed strategy to Regional Council.”

With interns across the region gaining valuable experience during their time with their host government, they are gaining a wide range of professional skills that they will further develop during their careers. Another benefit is the quality relationships they are building with people from other organizations. These personal connections can help them when they enter the workforce after their internship ends.

“More folks should seriously consider working for local government; it is incredibly rewarding and every day is unique,” Caden-Baptiste enthused. “Also, the North is beautiful!”