Valuable Student Experience
By Charles Corness
Born and raised in Thunder Bay, I grew up playing hockey, skiing, and sailing. I study business at Lakehead University, and was eager to gain experience in my field of study while also getting to be part of a team. I feel very fortunate to have found employment with Parks Canada as a Human Resources (HR) Student—full time in summer 2019, and part-time into the fall and winter.
I saw the position posted on an employment search engine, which directed me to jobs.gc.ca, where I found a complete listing of available government jobs with a great system for filtering through to find ones of interest to me.
At Parks Canada, I discovered that all employees are treated like family. Staff support each other to learn and grow, both as employees and individuals. I was given tasks and responsibilities that I enjoyed, such as filing and creating pay and staffing requests. I even had the opportunity to complete a couple letters of offer, which I found very cool. By far my most interesting and influential task was organizing and hosting a retirement information session for employees, which included researching and sourcing a presenter, coordinating with staff, and leading the entire process. By asking colleagues to submit their questions in advance of the seminar, I got to know them a little better. Though I’m a long way from retirement, this was a great learning experience!
HR may be an administrative function, but I had the opportunity to get out of the office once in a while and gain a better understanding of the various roles in Parks Canada. I visited the Terry Fox Visitor Centre to meet two students from Lake Superior National Marine Conservation Area, who were providing an educational session and information on local programming. In December, I visited Pukaskwa National Park and assisted with a recruitment presentation delivered to the community of Biigtigong Nishnaabeg. This included a presentation from an Ecologist Team Leader, who highlighted careers in Resource Conservation. On Family Day, I helped the External Relations team with community outreach at the SnowDay event in Thunder Bay. These interactions allowed me to understand how significant all components of the Parks Canada team are to making the whole successful.
My time and position with Parks Canada allowed me to gain practical experience in my field of interest, which I have applied to my learning in class. It has reinforced my interest in a future career in HR. Student employment opportunities are very influential in the development of young professionals, and I would highly recommend any student looking for an excellent learning opportunity to apply for a position with Parks Canada.