Northern Rockies Regional Municipality experiences success hosting an intern

Northern Rockies Regional Municipality

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

Interns provide increased organizational capacity and encourages recent graduates to consider a career in local government

In 2019, Northern Rockies Regional Municipality (NRRM) welcomed their first intern through Northern Development’s Local Government Internship program. For 12 months, the regional municipality hosted Valerie Caden-Baptiste, a recent graduate from Mount Royal University with a major in Policy Studies. Jaylene MacIver, director regional development and planning, was Caden-Baptiste’s mentor during her internship to help ensure a successful and mutually beneficial term for both the host government and Caden-Baptiste.

“Taking part in the program has afforded the NRRM with the opportunity to provide a young professional with direct exposure to local government, as well as some of the unique challenges of rural and remote communities, and to really learn from them, both as a newcomer to the community and in having a fresh perspective to the organization,” said MacIver.

For NRRM, hosting an intern is a rewarding experience and MacIver is looking forward to being a mentor once again for a graduate who is looking to gain experience with a local government.

“Beyond the obvious individual value and contributions that the intern brings to the communities within which they work, the network formed among the interns and the learnings they share within their group also trickles back to benefit the communities,” said MacIver. “We learned many things happening in other communities through the cohort’s activities that gave us insight and contacts to further develop services or projects in our community and vice versa.”

MacIver attributes a successful internship placement in part to having a welcoming and available management team to provide a breadth of support and mentorship to the intern, which contributes to a quality experience and diverse experiences in the world of local government.

Encouraging recent graduates to consider a career in local government through the paid internship program is one of the ways that Northern Development seeks to build a stronger north while supporting communities that may experience capacity challenges. One of the ways Caden-Baptiste contributed to the community was by leading the Regional Connectivity Strategy, which contributes to improved telecommunications for residents in the region.

“Valerie was responsible for the Regional Connectivity Strategy (Phase 1) to begin to address the challenges with broadband and cellular connectivity in the region,” said MacIver, when asked about what their intern accomplished during the 12-month term. “From developing the request for proposals, to evaluating the submissions, to awarding the project, overseeing the contract and liaising with the successful proponent including organizing the public engagement portions and finally presenting the final report to Council, Valerie truly saw the project through from A to Z.”

Caden-Baptiste also identified this extensive and rewarding project as a highlight of her time as an intern with Northern Rockies Regional Municipality.

“My greatest success as an intern was leading the Northern Rockies Regional Connectivity Strategy,” said Caden-Baptiste. “It was an honour to develop a roadmap to improve telecommunications in a rural and remote community and I learned a great deal of transferrable skills throughout the project.”

Learn more about the internship programs offered by Northern Development and read about some of the interns’ experiences by visiting northerndevelopment.bc.ca/internships.
Read more about Caden-Baptiste’s experience as an intern: https://www.northerndevelopment.bc.ca/explore-our-region/success-stories/15007/

Valerie Caden-Baptiste with the NRRM Regional Development and Planning Team in the field to assist with data collection for a Bear Hazard Assessment that was developed in partnership with WildSafeBC.
Photo credit: Jaylene MacIver