In spring 2020, Madelaine Swift completed her 12-month local government internship with the City of Quesnel and transitioned into a full-time position with the Takla Nation as executive political assistant to the chief. Swift moved from Hazelton to Prince George to graduate from the University of Northern British Columbia with a political science degree before moving to Quesnel for her internship.
During her time with the City of Quesnel, Swift experienced a well-rounded internship and contributed to a variety of departments, from the airport to job shadowing the executive assistant. Swift also participated in interesting and relevant training opportunities, including the North Central Local Government Association Conferernce, Municipal Administrators Training Institute (MATI) Foundations, Policy Development Workshop, Management Skills for Supervisors and more.
“I strongly believe that this internship helped me determine that I would like to have a career in local or First Nations government,” said Swift. “Had I not participated in this internship, I’m not sure that I would feel as strongly about specifically working in this field.”
“Working for the City of Quesnel has allowed me to participate in and observe the many exciting projects that will benefit the community, “added Swift. “ I believe that working for and serving the public is very rewarding and something I would love to continue doing.”
Since 2013, Northern Development has been offering recent post-secondary graduates the opportunity to complete an internship with local governments in its service region. As with Swift, and so many others, it provides young professionals with the opportunity to experience the unique world of local government and helps launch their successful careers.
For host governments, it provides temporary increased capacity to help complete tasks to serve the community. The City of Quesnel hosted their first intern through the Trust in 2014 and Swift was their fifth intern. Throughout the years they have seen the benefits of the program for communities throughout central and northern B.C.
“The intern program has been very successful in achieving its goals of creating managers for the North,” said Kari Bolton, Swift’s mentor and director of corporate and financial services with the City of Quesnel. “From the City’s first intern, Gerald, who is now a CAO, to Madelaine who is now working for a First Nation government, I can definitely see the value of this program. From the City’s perspective, it gives us extra resources to complete a lot of policy and bylaw work that normally gets put aside when things get busy.”
Northern Development will be offering the Local Government Internship program once again in 2021. Local governments who are interested in applying are encouraged to consider the obligations of this program as they are preparing annual budgets. Applications for host governments and interns are due early in 2021. For more information on all of the Trust’s internship programs, visit northerndevelopment.bc.ca/internships.