From May 10 to 14, 12 interns participated in virtual orientation sessions, facilitated by Alanna LeCerf, internship program manager at Northern Development. The intern orientation takes place near the beginning of each internship and lays a strong foundation as the cohort transitions from post-secondary studies and into the professional world.
“So far the experience has been amazing!” wrote one intern in the anonymous post-intern orientation survey. “I feel as though the orientation has helped prepare me to start my career, and my mentor and co-workers have been so welcoming. I was searching for an opportunity where I could be introduced to my career in a less intimidating way and because of the support that I am receiving, I feel very excited rather than scared!”
The five-day orientation featured presentations from a variety of speakers, including select members of the Trust’s staff team and other government professionals in Northern B.C. Sessions included diving into how regional districts operate, presented by Melany Helmer, chief administrative officer at Squamish-Lillooet Regional District, building relationships between local and First Nations governments, co-presented by Aaron Manella, chief administrative officer at Williams Lake First Nation, and Ron Poole, chief administrative officer at Regional District of Kitimat-Stikine. Current interns also had the opportunity to hear from Lina Gasser, the current chief administrative officer at Village of Hazelton and a 2015 local government intern (read a Q&A we did with Lina in 2019).
Other presentations focused on soft skills that interns will need during their 12-month internship, including some professional dos and don’ts, tips for successfully transitioning into their host community, an in-depth look at communications styles and best practices and suggestions for building a professional portfolio.
First Nation Government Internship Placements
Cook’s Ferry Indian Band – Jennifer Grieve
Tsay Key Dene – Moyo Ofulue
Saulteau First Nations – Gbenga Ayansola
Williams Lake First Nation – Jia Hui Zhang
Local Government Internship Placements
City of Fort St. John – Devin Croin
City of Quesnel – Purnesh Jani
District of Chetwynd – Leah Labarrere
District of Houston – Diana Reyes
District of Vanderhoof – Vincent Wickham
Regional District of Kitimat-Stikine – Walsham Tenshak
Squamish-Lillooet Regional District – Liana Stepan
Village of Fraser Lake – Kristin Levy
Since 2013, Northern Development has invested more than $3.5 million into its internship programs to help build capacity in communities throughout its service region.
“The NDIT internship is a door for me to start working as a real professional in Canada. I applied for the internship program because it is a great opportunity for me to combine my studies with working in a government organization. I am glad to have this opportunity to not only work in my field as a planner, but to gain a broad learning experience from different departments. I took the initiative to start my internship at Williams Lake First Nation Government, and I believe this is an exciting journey for both my personal and professional path.”
– Quote from post-intern orientation survey