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Ekam Kochhar

SFU Student Undergraduate
Arts + Social Sciences › Criminology
Co-operative Education › Local Co-op

Position Title
Experience Faculty
Witnessing the role of safeguarding the accident fund, a lifeline for injured workers, has deeply impacted me. Seeing the tangible difference our efforts make in the lives of impacted individuals and their families ignites a passion, driving my commitment to advocating for workplace safety.
Experience Details
Introduction + Preparation
Previous Experience

In my professional journey, I navigated through diverse roles, embracing challenges and seizing growth opportunities. Currently, along with my co-op at WorkSafeBC, I serve as a Community Advisor at SFU Residences and Housing, fostering inclusivity and conflict resolution within a vibrant community. With a curiosity for law, I volunteered at two law firms, honing my skills in legal document drafting, case management, and team support. Additionally, my love for research led me to contribute to significant projects such as the Partner Abuse State of Knowledge (PASK) Project and the Incarcerated Serious and Violent Young Offender Study (ISVYOS), enhancing my research skills. Furthermore, as a Teaching Assistant at SFU’s Beedie School of Business, I refined my communication abilities by providing support and constructive feedback to students. Through these experiences, I have cultivated a diverse skill set and a commitment to continuous learning and development.

Preparation Tips for Future Students

As I near the end of my co-op term at WorkSafeBC, I would like to offer some preparation tips for those considering joining the team in upcoming semesters. First and foremost, with the help of your supervisor, familiarizing yourself with the organization’s policies and procedures, including the legal framework and report-writing requirements, is essential for a successful experience. Additionally, honing your communication skills, both verbally and in writing, is crucial for effectively conveying arguments and presenting evidence in reports. One of the most valuable lessons I have learnt is the importance of attention to detail and critical thinking, as our work directly impacts the lives of injured workers and their families. Lastly, remaining open to constructive criticism and feedback to continuously enhance the quality of your work is the key to personal and professional growth.

During my Experience
Orientation and First Weeks

My first day at WorkSafeBC was beyond anything I could have imagined, gratitude filled me as I stepped into such an esteemed organization. Despite the commute from Burnaby to Richmond, which would have seemed long on any other occasion, the excitement kept me energized. Upon entering the office, I was greeted by my supervisor and my mentor, who would guide my progress throughout the semester. Their warm welcome, complete with decorated surroundings and thoughtful goodies, made me feel truly valued and affirmed my sense of belongingness. As I delved into the learning modules and familiarized myself with the organization in those initial weeks, my mentor, whom I deeply admire, patiently introduced me to the essential systems and gladly answered my myriad of questions during the first few weeks of training. With each passing week, I gained confidence and independence, eventually taking charge of cases and crafting my own schedule. This newfound autonomy not only instilled a sense of accomplishment but also provided an opportunity to showcase my capabilities and worth. 

Day to Day

In my day-to-day at WorkSafeBC, I handled tasks like conducting open-source investigations, drafting reports, and updating my supervisor on my progress. Alongside these duties, I managed my schedule, attended team meetings, and chatted with colleagues but beyond the tasks, I prioritized building meaningful connections. It is about more than just working together; it is about fostering a supportive and empathetic atmosphere where we uplift and inspire each other every day.

Accomplishments and Challenges

Despite an enriching work term, I encountered some challenges, particularly in adjusting to the newfound freedom in managing day-to-day tasks. As a university student accustomed to structured accountability, the autonomy at WorkSafeBC posed a significant challenge for me. To address this, I reframed my perspective by considering each case as impacting real lives, fostering a heightened sense of accountability to the individuals and families involved. Additionally, to manage my work effectively, I implemented daily schedules and meticulous to-do lists, along with proactive questioning to ensure alignment with organizational objectives and my work goals

Social and Extracurricular Activities

At WorkSafeBC, a variety of social and extracurricular activities contributed to maintaining a healthy work-life balance. From yoga and pilates sessions held throughout the week to 15-minute stretch breaks led by instructors, employees had opportunities to rejuvenate and stay active amidst busy workdays. Additionally, having access to our fitness center allowed for quick workouts before or after the workday. Beyond fitness activities, I was invited to a retirement party during my first week, which provided a chance to connect with other investigators and witness the strong sense of unity within the WorkSafeBC community, forming bonds akin to a workplace family.

Reflection & Tips
Connection to Academic Studies or Career Goals

Working at WorkSafeBC provided me with a valuable opportunity to bridge the gap between theoretical knowledge gained in university classes and its real-world applications. My coursework in criminology equipped me with a solid understanding of the practical applications of the law, which I was able to directly apply to my work, enhancing my critical thinking and problem-solving abilities. Similarly, business courses such as those focusing on foundational principles and organizational behaviour prepared me for navigating real-world scenarios encountered in the workplace. Moreover, my experience at WorkSafeBC aligns closely with my future career goals in the legal field, allowing me to further develop my critical thinking skills through hands-on involvement in cases and legal processes.

Advice for Future Students

For future students considering a co-op opportunity at WorkSafeBC, I encourage you to approach the experience with an open mind and a genuine eagerness to learn during your term. This is a unique chance to fully immerse yourself in the work and seize every opportunity to expand your knowledge, and skills and grow as an individual. Embrace the challenges that come your way, as stepping outside of your comfort zone is where true growth occurs. Don't hesitate to ask questions and seek guidance from your co-op advisor, mentor, supervisor, and colleagues – they are valuable resources with their expertise to share. By fostering these connections, you'll not only enhance your professional development but also gain valuable insights on a personal level. Remember to prioritize your well-being by maintaining a healthy balance between work and personal life as self-care is essential for sustained success and fulfillment throughout your co-op term.