FROM INTERN TO CAO

This has been a funding partnership of Northern Development

Gerald Pinchbeck

JANUARY 2018 — The goal of Northern Development’s Local Government Internship program is to provide young, talented individuals with an opportunity to be successful — just how successful our interns will be, is up to them. For Gerald Pinchbeck, Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) for the District of Houston, his path to success was a quick one thanks in part to a helping hand from Northern Development’s internship program.

Pinchbeck began his journey to success through his internship placement with the Quesnel Community and Economic Development Corporation. This opportunity enabled him to gain valuable experience at the municipal level and provided him with the chance to learn the ins and outs of working in local government.

“It was a really good learning experience for me in Quesnel,” said Pinchbeck. “As someone who was fresh out of university with no prior experience, I learned how valuable the role was for not only me but the community and its local government. The program played a vital role in providing me with the skillset needed to really progress along my career path.”

The Trust’s internship program was designed to offer university graduates with an opportunity to gain valuable work experience that will help them gain leverage on the ever-expanding competitive workforce and to help retain talented youth in the region. Interns in the program not only gain valuable experience and professional development to help them work toward high level positions, but also provide much needed capacity to local governments throughout Northern B.C.

During his internship in Quesnel, Pinchbeck got experience working with all levels of municipal staff while conducting comprehensive bylaw reviews, which led to recommendations to Council and improvements to community policies. When Pinchbeck arrived in Houston as the Corporate Officer after his internship, he attributed these experiences to providing him with the foundation necessary to excel in his new job.

“The internship program gave me a great boost when I really needed it,” said Pinchbeck. “Northern Development’s internship program was an excellent way for me to gain valuable real-world experience. The program challenges you in ways you couldn’t imagine but rewards you for your hard work.”

Pinchbeck’s reward came quickly in his new role in Houston, where he proved to be a quick learner. His dedication and work ethic caught the eye of then-CAO, Michael Glavin, who took on the role of mentor with Pinchbeck, to teach him the ropes.

“I had expressed an interest in one day becoming a CAO to Michael,” said Pinchbeck. “He used that opening to develop and mentor me for my current role.”

Pinchbeck didn’t have to wait long for his opportunity, as he was tasked with taking over the role of CAO when Glavin stepped down from the position last year, and officially assumed the position as CAO for Houston in January.

From intern to CAO within five years, Pinchbeck still has a hard time believing it.

“I just keep thinking back to the interview question I had with Northern Development when I was being considered for an internship placement,” said Pinchbeck. “I was asked if I saw myself as a CAO in five years. I remember saying that it would be great if it were possible. It’s funny to think back on that now. The feeling is quite surreal, but I look forward to this opportunity to lead and make real changes.”

As Pinchbeck continues along his career path, he knows that his time as a Northern Development intern played an important role in leading him to where he is now.

“The Local Government Internship program is a great opportunity for anyone looking for a successful career,” said Pinchbeck. “I highly recommend the program to anyone on the fence about it. You should apply to this program, it may lead you to places you didn’t think you would reach.”

Local Government Internship

These 12 month internship positions are available with select central and northern British Columbia local governments to gain work experience across departments with expert mentors. The interns make a difference in a community, develop leadership and management skills, and chart a path into a rewarding career. Positions offer a challenging and engaging custom-designed work plan and competitive wages.

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