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Hannah Dupuis – Policy and Communications Co-op Student at the Chamber

When people asked me in my first year of university what job I wanted when I graduated, my response was usually to shrug, laugh and say something like, “One that pays!” I chose to work towards two degrees instead of one in the hopes that one of the expensive pieces of paper I bought would lead to a fulfilling and satisfying job. Thankfully, here I am 5 years later with a general direction and tons of valuable experience. All because I decided to take a chance on a co-op.

In university, they always tell students that it’s important to focus on skill development and experience outside of university. And my response has been, “well I work and participate in clubs, isn’t that enough?” I’m here to tell every student like me ‘no it’s not.’

Taking an 8 month co-op with the Chamber of Commerce has been one of the smartest decisions I have ever made. Most importantly, I’ve learned more about the industries and the type of job I would like to have. But, I’ve also learned hard skills like web design, social media strategy, and policy writing. I’ve also developed my soft skills like leadership, compassion, integrity, and time-management – which just can’t be learned in a textbook.

For the Chamber, the benefit has been to get projects done they’ve been putting off for years. They had an extra person to help with COVID-19 calls, communication strategy, and keeping up with government programs. But they also found of a new set of eyes and experiences that can provide a different perspective.

Taking on a co-op student isn’t easy but the learning goes both ways. Students are able to learn new skills and employers can learn about emerging trends, fresh ideas and younger insight. The relationships developed can lead to life long connection and possible a potential future employee.

Find an opportunity and take a chance. It’ll be worth it.

Click here for a list of work integrated learning opportunities.

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