Skip to main content
Volunteer/Employer or Partner Organization

An overview of the city of Coquitlam at nighttime

Meet Graham Stuart, the Director of Corporate Planning at the City of Coquitlam. In this quick Q&A, Graham discusses the process of hiring an intern, the rewards and tips for employers hoping to hire a student.

What was it like watching students grow throughout their experience at your organization? Did you notice their skills develop?

Watching our co-op students grow throughout their term is one of my favourite parts of being a co-op employer. As they get exposed to different projects and parts of the organization, you can see them come into their own and really begin to understand how their role fits into the broader goals of the City. For me, I enjoyed seeing our co-op students develop their writing and strategic thinking skills during their time with us – they had opportunities to provide advice to senior members of our team, and craft input to reports that were approved by Council.

When new interns were hired, how did your organization help them adapt into the position successfully?

Anytime you join a new organization it’s a bit daunting, especially as a co-op student. One of the key things we do to ensure success is partner the co-op student with a senior leader/mentor in the organization to whom they can ask questions. Coming into local government is a bit different from other work environments, and creating a space where new interns can ask questions to gain a better understanding of how it all functions is hugely beneficial. This can be done in many ways such as one-on-one meetings with leadership, group work with colleagues, or getting them to lead a project; we’ve used all these tools to great success.

What did you think was the best aspect of having an intern working with your team?

The best aspect of having an intern work with your team is the mutual benefit you get of having someone with a fresh perspective come into your operation. Co-op students bring a different lens to the work you do that helps you identify some of the gaps in your own thinking. For me, I also enjoy being able to provide mentorship to someone at the beginning of their career, as others did for me, and to showcase that public service is an exciting and interesting career choice.

What is a word of advice you would give to any employer who is hoping to open a spot for a co-op student?

Take the time to craft the position so that you have a good understanding of what it is you want that person to do. Have a suite of work for them to potentially do, and allow the right candidate to pick projects that will accentuate their strengths, but also stretch them to gain new skills. Co-op students are worth the investment.

Volunteer/Employer or Partner Organization
visibility  275
Dec 15, 2022

Posts by Author

Emma standing in front of the pond at SFU Burnaby
Blog
A Co-op Student’s Guide to Media Relations

Like many Communications students, I came into the School of Communication very interested in media; both studying it and working in it. I found it harder and harder to pinpoint where I could fit into it professionally as I learned more about it. What do you do when you’re interested in media, but not sure you want to work directly in media?

A phone on the home screen where the apps for Twitter, Facebook and Instagram can be seen
Blog
Tips for Effective Social Media Marketing

When promoting events and news on social media on behalf of a club, service, or business, the main goal is to get as many eyes as possible on the content. One of my tasks in my 8-month Co-op position was to post updates on their social media accounts, which includes job postings, upcoming events, and special announcements. Over these months, I was able to find useful strategies and tools to help me manage these profiles effectively and efficiently.

Co-op students standing outside around a sign that says "SFU"
Blog
Event Planning 101: 3 Tips for Planning an Event even Gen-Z’s will Enjoy

Coming into this Co-op position as an Outreach, Promotion, and Engagement Coordinator for SFU’s School of Communication, I was not expecting to gain any sort of event planning experience. Creating an event for our incoming students for Fall 2023, was a brand-new concept that flourished this semester.

You Might Like These... Co-op Reflections, Working, Community Engagement, Volunteering, Professional Development, Life Experience

Cathy, author, smiling view of Ecuador
My Ecuadorian Escapade

"There are few experiences in one’s life that do not just provide you with new skills, but teach you a new way of perceiving the world around you." Cathy Greenway, a student of Biomedical Physiology and Kinesiology, travelled to Ecuador with Ecuaexperience's Help, Learn, Discover program as a Rural Development Volunteer. Read more about her life-changing experience.

jessica before the co-op make over
The Co-op Career Makeover: A Student's Journey from Drab to High Profile

Is your career portfolio feeling a little outdated? Tune in to a local makeover phenomenon that's taking the job market by storm: SFU Co-op. Communication Major Jessica Doherty knows first hand what co-op can do for building confidence, contacts, and a killer resume. Read on to follow her on her journey from drab to high profile.

Gateway of India Monument in Mumbai (Bombay)
Sheena Takes On the Mumbai Marketing Scene

In her third year as a Communication major, Sheena Rupani returns home to Mumbai, India and proves that an SFU student has what it takes to compete on the international marketing scene. In a setting where high stakes rely on time management and clear cross-cultural communication, this international co-op celebrity takes self-directed study to the next level.

You Might Like These... During the Work Term

person working on her laptop, sitting on the ground
How to Boost Your Remote Teamwork Experience During the Pandemic

As a university student, have you been having some trouble making remote teamwork fun and engaging? Des'ree shares what she's learned from her remote semester experience and provides some tips on how to improve the quality of your teamwork experience.

Woman sitting over desk looking at papers
Things Happen For a Reason: Three Ways to Turn Every Experience Into a Great Opportunity

Bored already?  Hitting a plateau at work can be discouraging – but it doesn’t have to be.  Follow Lauren’s experience of turning a roadblock into an opportunity for growth.

iPad, notebooks, camera, and graph over a neon background
3 Skills You Can Leverage to Land Your Dream Digital Marketing Co-op

If you’re like me and obsess over Instagram aesthetics, peruse like-minded communities on Twitter, or aspire to be TikTok famous, then you’ve probably considered a digital marketing career at some point and are ready to make your debut in the industry. Here are four Do-It-Yourself skills that will spice up your resume, helping you to leverage your digital marketing talents before your search for your Co-op opportunity!