Recent college and university graduates will once again have access to 12-month paid local government internships in central and northern British Columbia.
Each year, Northern Development Initiative Trust (NDIT) funds up to eight internships beginning in May through its Local Government Internship program.
Since the program’s inception in 2013, three former interns have now risen to the position of chief administrative officer and many more are in corporate positions across the north, said Joel McKay, NDIT’s CEO.
The vast majority of interns (over 75 per cent) obtain full-time employment immediately following or nearing the completion of their internship, McKay told Lakes District News.
Although the Village of Burns Lake did not apply to host an intern in 2020, Sheryl Worthing, the village’s chief administrative officer, said most of the interns the municipality hosted in the past have gone on to build rewarding careers.
“It truly is a very rewarding program for both the municipality and the interns,” Worthing said.
Local governments are eligible to receive up to $35,000 and are required to provide a minimum of $10,000 toward the salary of the intern.
Seven graduates applied for the program in 2019 and all of them were placed with local governments in Houston, Quesnel, Williams Lake, Port Clements, Mackenzie, Northern Rockies Regional Municipality and Peace River Regional District.
The Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako will proceed with an application to hire an intern in 2020.
McKay said the program supports communities by helping them replace retiring government officials while helping students who left their communities to pursue post-secondary education find meaningful employment back home.
“Northern Development is committed to developing the economy in northern B.C.,” McKay said, adding local governments are key to this development. “This program seeks to keep young people in our smaller towns and villages so that all communities have the opportunity to thrive.”
Graduates do not require government experience to apply and NDIT accepts applicants from all disciplines. Local governments have until Jan. 7 to apply and internship candidates have until Jan. 30.
McKay said priority will be given to local governments that have not hosted an intern in the previous year.
First Nation governments may also apply to host an intern through NDIT’s First Nations Government Internship program, which was launched in 2017 through a partnership with Indigenous Services Canada.
For more information about these programs, visit www.northerndevelopment.bc.ca.