Selkirk College alumna Genevieve Thibault had actually graduated from the Recreation Fish and Wildlife Program when she walked through the doors of Selkirk’s Co-op Education & Employment Services (CEES) office.
Thibault was looking for an opportunity that would be pertinent to her completed studies, and as Selkirk College’s CEES Assistant Olga Sherstobitoff explains Co-operative Education formally connects academic studies with paid work experience, enriching students’ post-secondary learning, “We were pleased to help Genevieve find a job that suited her education and helped her learn more about her chosen career from skilled professionals willing to mentor her.” Students taking part in Co-op are able to test out a broad range of workplaces, helping them to define the best career options and set goals. Additionally, relevant, quality work experience adds significant value to their resume and increased confidence comes from practicing technical skills.
Thibault worked at Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations in Vanderhoof as a Junior Range Technician learning about crown land management, forest work, plant identification, the range and even about cattle and their feeding habits. The relationship that Selkirk’s CEES office had developed with Thibault’s employer was a core component of her success, as right from the beginning she was treated as a skilled apprentice: ““My supervisor really took the time to guide me. In a way, I felt like I was halfway between school and work.”
In addition to the new work environment, Thibault wasn’t sure what to expect from the change of lifestyle as the Quebec native ventured to a new remote community, but it couldn’t have turned out better:
“The people were so welcoming. I really felt well integrated into the local community right from the start,” she said. “I was really happy to put into practice everything I had learned at Selkirk – everything I learned in the program was useful in my work so that was awesome.”