2012 Summer Student Program - Oct. 19, 2012

19 octobre 2012
Déclarations et discours de ministres

Mr. Speaker, I am happy to report that the Government of the Northwest Territories hired 308 students this past summer.  This was an increase of nine percent from 2011, when 286 students were hired.  Of the 308 students hired, 54.6 per cent were Indigenous Aboriginals.

The Summer Student Employment is an investment in our future and our youth.  Through this Program, Northern students gain valuable work experience to complement their formal education and test drive the GNWT as a future employer. 

At the end of the summer, we asked the students about their experiences. The feedback we received was very positive. One student responded by saying the best thing about working for the GNWT was the autonomy: having a supervisor who believed the staff could handle their responsibilities. We want these students to come back next summer and apply what they’ve learned. They’ll get increasingly complex duties and develop as individuals. We want them to have fulfilling careers after they graduate and consider a career with the public service.

This year, Mr. Speaker, we made changes to the summer student orientation to ensure that students understand their job duties and our expectations of them. We held three full-day orientation sessions in Yellowknife, and one each in Fort Smith, Fort Simpson and Inuvik.  Students had the opportunity to hear about work and life in the GNWT from all levels of management. I had the chance, at one session, to explain our expectations and promote the public service as an employer.  While fielding questions, I was very impressed by the intelligence and enthusiasm of this bright group of students.

Students also heard from GNWT employees who had recently taken advantage of the summer student and internship programs to start their careers in the public service.  Peer feedback on how experience complements formal education helps ensure that our youth are equipped for a positive and successful career after graduation.

Our investment in summer students is paying off.   Our public service workforce is growing older, and so we rely on student programs and internships to transfer knowledge from one generation to another.  To quote another student, there are many benefits to returning to the GNWT after graduation; it is one of the best places to start as a newly graduated person for the experience and responsibilities that you are given.  The GNWT has just been recognised as one of Canada’s Top 100 Employers for 2013, and our efforts to recruit and retain students and interns contributed greatly to that recognition. I was proud to see the Globe and Mail coverage included an interview with a former student who is now a senior manager in our government.

Mr. Speaker, it was a very successful summer for the employment of students.  I would like to thank department and agency managers for the incredible work they do with the students and to all others who support this program.   Summer students are a good investment in the public service of the future.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.