Danielle Carter, a fourth-year human rights student, shares how FSWEP has helped her gain invaluable work experience with the government.
Making the jump from high school to university is an accomplishment that should never go unnoticed. So hey – congrats on making it to Carleton University! I’m here to share my insight to my life as a Carleton University student, a government employee and also as someone who never dreamed of being 21 and having accomplished both of these things!
I am going into my fourth and final year at Carleton with a major in Human Rights and a minor in French. In September of this year, I created a profile on the “FSWEP” – the Federal Students Work Experience Program website. This program is designed for students in university who are looking to gain experience working for the public service. Basically, you create a profile and government employers can go in and look for students who match their criteria. You can include anything from your resume, to the types of courses you take, to the area you would like to work in. If you’re a match to the criteria an employer is seeking, FSWEP will contact you and from there you may be eligible for the selection process.
I was fortunate to be chosen for an interview with Parks Canada as a student for their Occupational Health and Safety & Disability Management Program. I was successful in the interview process and began a part-time position in January of this year. Being a human rights student, my experience here was invaluable. I worked on drafting and updating the Disability Management Guidelines and was even able to attend part of a National Occupational Health and Safety Conference. I was able to apply my knowledge of human rights to my job – an opportunity I had not foreseen until I had completed university! It was the first time that I realized how much I really knew about my field of study and felt like I was an asset in the workplace by providing insight and bringing creative ideas forward.
In May of this year, I was contacted by FSWEP once more about an opportunity with the Privy Council in their Access to Information and Privacy Division. One month later, I found myself in my second job in the Government of Canada in less than a year, now working full-time for the summer, and I could not have been more excited for such a unique opportunity. I am currently employed with the Privy Council Office as an Administrative Assistant to the Director and have grown so much from this opportunity. My colleagues are always eager to speak with me about their own experiences and take a genuine interest in my studies.
Pursuing French studies at Carleton University is one of the most rewarding choices that I have made so far in my academic career. As a bilingual student, I have been able to show that I am an asset in the workplace and can communicate at a high level in both official languages. My terms with two different sectors of the Government of Canada have given me insight into jobs that I didn’t even know existed before enrolling in the FSWEP program.
So, as a fourth year student if I can offer any advice it would be to enroll in FSWEP! Right now! You will not regret your decision. The knowledge and experience you will gain as a result are invaluable. My experiences have been phenomenal and I encourage you to pursue a branch of employment that reflects your studies while you’re in school – you never know where it could lead!
Submitted by Danielle Carter, a fourth-year human rights student.