Anna Jessop is interning as Project Assistant at Nova Scotia Community College (NSCC) in Halifax, Nova Scotia. The internship lies within the ImpAct program stream, funded by Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC), and implemented via Career Launcher.
NSCC is missioned to grow Nova Scotia’s economy and contribute to the life of Nova Scotians. The projects here are centered around sustainable development goals. Approximately 90% of graduates from NSCC work and live locally, so the projects through the 14 campuses are about making a positive impact on the workforce in rural and urban communities.
When she started working with the organization, she was introduced to the challenging task of generating awareness about NSCC sustainability programs in 14 campuses. She created a poster campaign where she designed resources and posters based on the sustainable development goals and provided context in terms of what the goals would mean in a local perspective, the programs developed by NSCC to address those goals, and quick access resources for people to get more information. She feels her team trusts her and provides ample ground to contribute and learn.
One skill that she acquired from scratch during the internship was graphic design. Coming from a science-driven background, she did not know much graphic design during her undergraduate or graduate degrees. At the internship, there was a need to develop communication materials such as posters, slide decks etc. which she created using different design software.
She has always been interested to work in the field of corporate, and institutional sustainability. The internship has allowed her the opportunity to find that kind of work just when she needed it.
- What was a problem or task that you were assigned at work and how did you overcome it?
- The organization runs sustainability campaigns but there weren’t many staff members who were aware of it. When I started my work with the organization, I was asked to address this issue. It was a challenging project as staff were geographically spread in 14 NSCC campuses and open communication was essential to generate awareness. One of the things that I did was created a poster campaign where I designed resources and posters based on the sustainable development goals. I described what the goals would mean in a local perspective, the programs developed by NSCC to address those goals, and quick access resources for people to get more information. These materials were posted on the sustainability boards of the 14 campuses for staff and students to read. Another project that I took up was related to SDG goals where I helped to design workshops along with another intern. These workshops focused on creating a resource for staff to support their foundational knowledge of the SDG and bring greater awareness to how the SDG are being advanced across the College. We delivered these materials to a diverse group of staff members in the college.
- One tip you could give employers on how they should onboard their intern.
- Something that helped me when I was new to the organization is shadowing a mentor on the team. Managers are always willing to provide guidance, but their time is limited. In such situations, a team member can prove to be of great support who can answer your questions and show you the ways of the team. Additionally, access to team meeting notes and internal documents can also be beneficial for new employees or interns to know about ongoing and upcoming projects as long as they don’t contain sensitive or confidential information.
- Did the internship make them feel prepared from school/academics to the professional space?
- It definitely did. When I started this program, I had been out of school for a couple of years, building my resume and gathering experiences. But this opportunity has been a valuable journey for me because I was interested in corporate, and institutional sustainability. I always thought that getting an opportunity like this would take time to find. So, I am glad that I was selected for this internship and grow in my field of interest.
- How inclusive is the workplace or the team?
- I work with a small team on a daily basis, but it is very inclusive. They have been really accommodating to me. On a larger scale, there are more than 2000 staff at NSCC so the wider community and culture at the colleges is really inclusive. When I joined the team, they provided an overview of the work, but I had ample ground to contribute and learn. They trusted me with the work that I felt was important.
- Are there any new skills that you developed/are developing while you are at the worksite and what are they?
- One skill that I acquired from scratch was – graphic design. I come from a science-driven background, and I had not come across graphic design during my undergraduate or graduate degrees. When I started in the internship, there was a need to develop communication materials such as posters, slide decks etc. I started to develop these myself using Canva and I feel I am getting better at that. An addition to that would be learning to work in a communications and promotional role.
- How will your work with Nova Scotia Community College make a difference to the community?
- I am really excited about my work at the college. NSCC is missioned to grow Nova Scotia’s economy and contribute to the life of Nova Scotians. The projects here are centered around sustainable development goals. Approximately 90% of graduates from NSCC work and live locally, so the projects through the 14 campuses are about making a positive impact on the workforce, rural and urban An interesting project that I have been working is integrating sustainable literacy and sustainable learning into the curriculum to build student capacity as they transition to the work force. This in turn would make a difference to the province’s economy and accelerate sustainable development. Being able to instill education about sustainable development and the sustainable development goals into the training and outreach that happens in these communities will have very real impacts on those communities. When we mainstream sustainability into our campuses, through the culture and the education and the physical environment. We are preparing our staff and our students to take that with them into the more rural communities and spur systemic changes in those areas. So, I have no doubt that this work that NSCC is taking on will act as an accelerator to developing sustainability in those areas and that is going to have a really positive impact on those people, on their economy and their environment and will lead to more resilient communities.
- How did the Career Launcher Internship Program encourage you to begin/ grow a career?
- I was always interested in working in the field of corporate, and institutional sustainability. The internship has allowed me the opportunity to find that kind of work just when I needed it. I think this will definitely have benefits going forward in terms of my learning and growth.