Summer Student Success Stories

As part of our Summer Student Hiring Campaign, we wanted to share a few examples of current Town Staff who began their careers with us as summer student hires.

 Meet Nicole Crown, Community Recreation Coordinator.
Nicole Crown - Summer Student Success Story1) When did you begin your work as a summer student and what was your role/position?

I began my work as a summer student in June 2010 as a day camp counselor. I continued as a summer student in Parks 2011 & 2012, then as the Events & Recreation Program Assistant 2013-2015. I then continued as a part-time Program Assistant Fall 2015 – Spring 2017.

2) What did you enjoy most about your summer position?

I enjoyed meeting new people (employees and residents) that you normally wouldn’t otherwise meet.

3) Was there something you learned during your time as a summer student worker that helped you during your studies or in making the jump to permanent full-time work?

I was attending Brock University in the Community Recreation Services program at the time of my Events & Recreation Program Assistant position so it helped me determine that what I was going to school for was exactly what I wanted to do.

4) Is there any advice you’d give to someone considering applying for a summer student position, or someone already in the role?

Apply! Even if it doesn’t relate to what you are going to post-secondary for, it is a great opportunity to meet new people and to be part of the community. Although some positions are less glamorous than others, they all have a role in making our community what it is. You never know, it may even turn into a permanent position!

 Meet Matthew Wale, Building Inspector / Plans Examiner
 

Matt Wale, Summer Student Success Story1) When did you begin your work as a summer student and what was your role/position?

I started working for the Town as a student during the summer of 2016. I originally started out in the septic re-inspection program.

2) What did you enjoy most about your summer position?

I enjoyed having the responsibility and freedom of arranging all of my own work and planning out what I needed to do next. I also enjoyed working with everybody in the office because I learned a lot about subjects that I had overlooked before. My co-op positions allowed me to expand and build my knowledge more and more each term.

3) Was there something you learned during your time as a summer student worker that helped you during your studies or in making the jump to permanent full-time work?

I learned that good communication and an office full of great people is what helps you be successful. My favourite thing about working in the field rather than learning about it in school is that we are encouraged to stay connected with each other, ask questions and opinions, and if you have doubts, an answer is never required right away. If you have doubts about something, unlike school, you don’t have to guess and hope it’s right. Instead you can go back to the office and ask questions or do your research and get back to them. Through each term I was able to grow and move my way up to where I am now.

4) Is there any advice you’d give to someone considering applying for a summer student position, or someone already in the role?

There is nothing to lose. You will never know if you enjoy something until you try it. When I applied for the septic program, I’d never even thought about a building inspector or what they do. Once I got into the position and started to learn more about what they do, I began to enjoy it.

 Meet Kyla Bruce, Parks & Trails Technician

Kyla Bruce - Summer Student Success Story1) When did you begin your work as a summer student and what was your role/position?

I began with the Town of Gravenhurst in the summer of 1996 on the “Parks Crew”, which performed tasks such as grass cutting, landscape maintenance, garbage and litter removal, painting and repairs to parks structures, working special events and assisting members of the public.

I was a summer Parks student for 3 years, and my summer job ended up connecting me to a seasonal part-time position at the Arena where I worked during the winter months when I came home from school on weekends. After graduating from college, I still worked part-time at the Arena for some time, even after I found a full-time job elsewhere.

Eventually, there was a full-time position at the Arena that I applied for and was offered, and my summer student experience helped to eventually lead from there to a full-time Parks Operator position and then eventually the Parks & Trails Technician position.

2) What did you enjoy most about your summer position?

I loved the fact that we worked outside: every day was a different job in a different location, and I took a lot of pride in contributing to the community and our parks, and helping make and keep my hometown clean, tidy and enjoyable for residents and visitors.

Another great part of the job was the teamwork - not only were the Parks Crew a close-knit team, but there were Lifeguards, Day Camp counsellors, Bylaw staff – so many other summer student employees that we would work with too – and they became new close friends as well, and we would all have fun together - both at work and hanging out together after hours.

3) Was there something you learned during your time as a summer student worker that helped you during your studies or in making the jump to permanent full-time work?

Working as a summer student was a great introduction to how a municipality works, to learn what different departments there are and the services they provide, as well as employment opportunities there are within the corporation.

Getting to know staff in various roles, at different levels and in various departments helps you make connections and gives you an introduction to what is required and the skills and training you need to be able to pursue a career within a municipal setting.

4) Is there any advice you’d give to someone considering applying for a summer student position, or someone already in the role?

Summer student positions are a great employment opportunity, even if the position is in a department which is not where you would like to end up permanently. It allows you to ‘get a foot in the door’, and demonstrate your strengths and work skills.

The training, customer service, and employment experience you gain is invaluable and looks great on a resume for future potential opportunities, within the Town of Gravenhurst, another municipal setting or even elsewhere.

Most summer positions are seasonally full-time with consistent hours, which also provides a dependable summer income for saving up for college/university expenses, and also provides good opportunity for continued summer employment in future years if you are a dedicated employee with good work ethic and demonstrated commitment and dependability.

 Meet Amber Lee, Purchasing / Financial Analyst
 

Amber Lee - Summer Success Story1) When did you begin your work as a summer student and what was your role/position?

I started in May 2014 as the Infrastructure Services Office Assistant.

2) What did you enjoy most about your summer position?

I enjoyed the people I worked with. I also enjoyed how much I learned about the community that I lived in.

3) Was there something you learned during your time as a summer student worker that helped you during your studies or in making the jump to permanent full-time work?

All of the experience that I gained helped me obtain the job that I have now. I use the knowledge I obtained as a summer student every single day in my permanent position.

4) Is there any advice you’d give to someone considering applying for a summer student position, or someone already in the role?

If you’re considering applying for a summer student position, make sure you do your research! Learn a thing or two about what a municipality does, specifically the Town of Gravenhurst, before applying. As for someone already in the role - don’t be afraid to ask questions when you have them. It’s the best way for you to learn and can be super beneficial for your future.

Meet Cheryl Wilson, Planning Administrator II

Cheryl Wilson - Summer Student Success Story1) When did you begin your work as a summer student and what was your role/position?

2001 - Public Works Administration student

2) What did you enjoy most about your summer position?

I enjoyed learning more about the community I lived in and how it operates.

3) Was there something you learned during your time as a summer student worker that helped you during your studies or in making the jump to permanent full-time work?

The office atmosphere and varying dynamics were interesting and in my short experience I was constantly learning.

4) Is there any advice you’d give to someone considering applying for a summer student position, or someone already in the role?

Take a chance - you won’t regret any experience working in municipal government.

 Meet Kat Alizarchyk, Municipal Law Officer & Firefighter
Kat Alizarchyk - Summer Student Success Story1) When did you begin your work as a summer student and what was your role/position?

I began working for the Town of Gravenhurst in May 2014 as a Student Municipal Law Enforcement Officer.

2) What did you enjoy most about your summer position?

Various experiences. As front line staff, MLEO students deal with anything from people to animals and everything in between.

3) Was there something you learned during your time as a summer student worker that helped you during your studies or in making the jump to permanent full-time work?

I was able to learn a lot more about the Municipal World as well as practice different techniques learned during my college career however, the biggest thing that was confirmed for me was communication is KEY. After continuing my employment on part time basis and returning the following summer for another co-op term, I was able to take on more complex tasks, learn from my colleagues and assist other departments.

4) Is there any advice you’d give to someone considering applying for a summer student position, or someone already in the role?

Just do it and never say never. Student MLEO position is a great stepping stone for anyone considering a career in enforcement as you get to make great connections with other community partners as well as meet amazing people that can provide support and guidance. I remember thinking “I’ll never get a full time role, I’m too young”, all sorts of different doubts were going through my mind. Regardless of that, I tuned it out, applied, gave it my all, and here we are. Now, being on the other side of the table (hiring panel), from an application process/interview alone, you will learn a lot. I encourage you to apply and hope to see you alongside me in 2019 season!

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