For many students, their post-secondary journey involves choosing a program of interest, enrolling in a school that supports the chosen area of study, and graduating with a credential to enter the workforce. My post-secondary journey followed the same path with the exception that I was able to get a head start on entering the workforce as soon as my first day at BCIT. Everything I learned, the skills I developed, and the people I met were all relevant towards building my resume.

As a polytechnic institute, BCIT courses are exceptionally practical and hands-on, with the curriculum developed and taught by industry experts. From the moment you step into your first scheduled class at BCIT, you realize that the skills and training you receive are all relevant, applied, and industry-focused. It’s all to prepare you for job-readiness. Many BCIT students, like myself, get job placements even before we even graduate from our programs.

This applied experience extends beyond the classroom and into the workplace through experiential learning (also known as work-integrated learning opportunities). When you take part in work-integrated learning opportunities – whether these be internships, practicums, co-ops, capstone projects, field experience, or Industry Sponsored Student Projects – you’ll gain experience working on real-world industry projects while building valuable connections with employers.

Choosing a work-integrated learning experience

As I navigate my second year of the Broadcast and Online Journalism diploma program, a very important decision had to be made: Where am I going to go to do my first practicum? Typically, most students will pick a location within the Lower Mainland as this is the most convenient in location. This is a noble decision but I was looking for something a little more challenging and intimidating. I chose Edmonton – and in the dead of winter.

In order to secure my internship, I had to reach out to where I wanted to go and present myself as an eager journalist student wanting to be a part of that particular organization. Once all the stars aligned, I headed out to CBC Edmonton in the middle of November to begin my three-week internship in the newsroom. I managed to learn the core skills of what it takes to be an associate producer and reporter for a major news network. CBC Edmonton allowed me to build and help produce the 6 pm newscast every day, throughout the three weeks of my internship.  Because of my hard work I was offered a job to stay if I wanted.  Although I had no plans to live in Edmonton, I did managed to stay an extra week as a paid Associate Producer.

Tips for students considering work-integrated learning

Now, it is important to realize that every internship experience varies. Your internship may not go as planned but here are some tips to get the most out of your work-integrated learning opportunity:

  • Apply what you learn in the classroom and any hands-on assignment.
  • Work hard to separate yourself from the crowd.
  • Be open to possibilities and trying new things.
  • Integrate yourself as best as you can into the task at hand. Your experience could be life changing.

Thanks to my internship, I’ve had job offers before I even graduate. Additionally, I have been able to create connections with so many professionals that are actively working in my industry and career of choice.

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