June 5, 2001

Margison (Becky Lockhart photo)

Get a Job!
UVic's Student Employment Centre helps
students and alumni sort out their career options

by Becky Lockhart

You finally have your degree but need help finding a job or figuring out what career best suits you. What do you do?

Head back to campus, of course. The UVic Student Employment Centre has several programs that make the transition from school to the working world easier for grads.

For grads who don't know what kind of career to pursue, there's the Career Decision-Making program. "It's an opportunity for recent grads who are still really unsure of their career or work direction," says Jennifer Margison, centre manager. This free program gives participants the tools to make effective career decisions.

Grads are guided through the planning process by a career counsellor who helps them develop a plan to achieve their short and long-term goals. The program is offered six times a year, and is made up of three half-day sessions over three weeks.

If getting work immediately is the number one priority, the centre's newest program operates much like a temp agency. The Contract Work Referral Service, co-sponsored by the UVic Students Society, matches employers in the community with grads from all different disciplines for short-term contract work that can last up to a year.

Program coordinator Barbara Chant says students are working in government as business analysts, doing information technology work and less technical communications jobs, among other things.

"We want clients who will give graduates opportunities that add to their experience and help them move forward," says Chant, adding that none of the students and grads involved in the program come from an info tech background. "They're mostly people who have really good critical thinking, analytical and writing skills," she explains.

For grads who have a clear goal in mind but are having difficulty landing a job, the Career Search Internship program is a good fit. Participants must be 30-years-old or younger and actively seeking work in their career goal area for six months or longer. The 13-week
program includes an eight-week paid internship.

Ian Robertson and Paula Pothier run the program, and say that over 90 per cent of participants have
secured career-related work following their internships.

The free program starts with seven half-day sessions and weekly meetings with program coordinators over five weeks, as well as an internship search. "We help with the research end of things, and help them to recognize their skills, and how to make the leap from what they learned in university to how it can help an employer," says Pothier. Adds Robertson, "We find that a lot of people really lack confidence and don't value the skills they have."

For $25 for half a year alumni can take advantage of all services offered by the Student Employment Centre. "If alumni want to have individual consultations with our employment officers, or if they want to come in and use the computers to work on their résumés or do Internet work searches, the Alumni Career Services plan enables them to do so," says Margsion.

To find out about any of these programs, check out the centre's Web site at <www.stec.uvic.ca> or phone 721-8421. The Student Employment Centre is located in the Campus Services Building across the hall from the bookstore.

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