What another summer of COVID-19 means for student internships

By: Mathias Leiendecker

Classes come to an end for the year, causing students to focus their attention to internships./Photo supplied by RRC.

As class quickly comes to an end for the winter term, many Red River College students are transitioning their focus to finding a summer job. 

According to a survey by RRC, 94 per cent of students find work after graduation. But with COVID-19 still prevalent in Manitoba, the possibility of a current student finding a summer position could be less likely compared to previous years. 

Manitoba’s employment rates decreased by 5.7 per cent in April 2020. This meant about 34,000 less jobs and Statistics Canada showed that 39 per cent of full-time students were unemployed during May 2020. 

However, some students still have hope for job opportunities this summer.  

Lisa Leochko, the diversity & inclusion supervisor at Manitoba Hydro, said the corporation will hire just over 200 summer students this year. 

Manitoba Hydro is responsible for employing many RRC students each year. Leochko said what is taught at RRC could be why they hire so many current students and graduates. 

“There seems to be a good match between the education students receive at Red River College and the skills Manitoba Hydro is seeking, ” said Leochko. “Whether it’s trades, business, or communications.” 

According to the March 2021 Labour Force Survey, the labour force has increased by 2.5 per cent in Manitoba compared to March 2020. This is an increase of approximately 16,700 jobs and a good sign for students interested in finding summer jobs. 

Teagan Tosh, a Geomatics Technology student at the college, is fortunate enough to have a summer job lined up. She is approaching her sixth summer with Manitoba Infrastructure and expects to graduate from RRC in 2022. 

“It’s usually super easy to find a summer job [at Manitoba Infrastructure],” said Tosh.

Manitoba Infrastructure provides a variety of student positions each year. This includes STEP services, conservation and climate’s green team, and urban/hometown green team positions. 

Tosh attributed her employment success to following up after interviews – a piece of advice she suggests to all students looking for a job. 

“I think it lets the employer know you are excited and eager to work,” said Tosh. “It could put you ahead of the competition.” 

When students are looking for summer opportunities, Leochko said a positive mindset is the most valuable asset for a candidate to have.