Helping Students Find Jobs in Heritage

By Kevin Parker, Young Canada Works Co-Ordinator

Did you know that last year the National Trust for Canada funded positions for 70 summer students and 14 internships across Canada? As the administrator of the Young Canada Works program here at the National Trust, I was lucky enough to visit some of these organizations and see first-hand how this program helps young Canadians further their experience and education.

For over 15 years the National Trust for Canada, in partnership with the Department of Canadian Heritage, has administered financial contributions to built-heritage organizations from across Canada looking to hire students and recent graduates.

Young Canada Works (YCW) offers young Canadians the opportunity to develop work skills and gain professional experience.

Through summer job programs and internship programs, students and recent graduates can put their skills to the test, build career equity, earn money for their education or get started on the right career path. YCW creates about 2,300 job opportunities per year in the fields of heritage, arts, culture and official languages. Young Canada Works also offers opportunities in heritage organizations

This summer job program lasts between six and 16 weeks and offers students job opportunities with organizations in Canada that have a heritage mandate. Students might organize cultural or recreational projects in a heritage organization, for example, or learn new skills in preserving and promoting our cultural heritage.

This past summer I travelled to beautiful British Columbia and visited a number of job sites we support, including the Mackie Lake House Foundation located in Coldstream. Overlooking the picturesque Kalamalka Lake in the hills of BC’s interior. The Mackie Lake House was built in the early 20th century and remains practically unchanged to this date.

Through the Young Canada Works grant program, the Mackie Lake House Foundation hired Emily Beatty, a University of British Columbia student studying political science. Emily spent her summer interacting with the community by providing tours of the house and property to visitors and groups looking to learn about the local history of the region. When she wasn’t guiding people through the property, Emily was researching the history of the building and grounds in order to develop promotional information for the organization.

I was also able to visit the Vancouver Heritage Foundation (VHF) offices in downtown Vancouver and met with their intern Jessica Blesch, a recent graduate in archaeology from Durham University in the United Kingdom. Jessica was a key part in VHF’s pilot program to upgrade heritage homes and buildings throughout Vancouver in order to make them more energy efficient and ‘green”. Jessica’s educational background was a perfect fit for this job and both the organization and Jessica benefitted greatly from her past experience.

Being able to see first-hand the Young Canada Works program in action was an amazing experience. The funding the program provides to employers is essential in growing the built-heritage community throughout Canada and provides valuable experience for both students and recent graduates.

Applications are now available for summer students and recent graduates seeking internships. January 16, 2017 is the deadline for summer student applications and March 15, 2017 is the deadline for the internship applications. More info can be found here.


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