WELLINGTON – Sept. 7, 2017 – Thanks to PERCÉ internships, a record of 34 university and college students from PEI were able to gain valuable, paid work experience in their field of studies in their home province this summer. The previous record was 25 students.
During this 14th edition of the program, these young Francophone and Anglophone students shared a combined total of 360 weeks of work, explains coordinator Carol Richard. They worked in a vast array of fields with employers from Alberton to Souris.
Twelve of the interns worked in health-related summer jobs – a field that is always extremely popular and in high demand since the program was established. Four interns worked in early childhood jobs, another priority sector on PEI. The other interns’ fields of employment were environment and sciences, administration and finance, youth support, tourism, theatre, engineering, marketing, human resources and politics.
“Our interns worked, for example, in seniors’ care facilities, hospitals, day care centers or for community groups, environmental protection organizations, an amusement center, a theatre, the provincial legislature, an investment firm, a university and even a distillery,” explained Richard.
She added that the interns noted in their evaluations that they had learned a lot during their summer placements and greatly appreciated the opportunity to come and work on in their home province of PEI in their field of studies.
Similarly, she added, employers were extremely satisfied with the performance of their interns, who were always ready to learn and to try new things. Following the internships, some of the employers offered their students part-time work as they continue their postsecondary studies this fall.
“Several of them told us they really would have liked to keep their interns on a permanent basis, but they of course understood that these young adults have to complete their final years of studies,” said Richard. “But after they’ve completed their degree, these graduates will certainly be welcomed to knock on the doors of their internship employers to see if they have any openings.”
HERE ON PEI
During a training and orientation week at the start of the summer, the program provided an opportunity for participants to visit several future potential work sites and to establish contacts in their industry. PERCÉ’s global objective is to show participants that the Island offers them great career and life opportunities and that they don’t necessarily have to go to big cities to get a job once they’ve graduated. Surveys of former PERCÉ participants consistently show a retention rate of about 82 per cent.
RDÉE Prince Edward Island, the provincial francophone economic development council that manages the PERCÉ program, is also extremely pleased with this year’s results and with the continued popularity of the program. Again, this year, about 100 youth applied to participate in the program, notes Stéphane Blanchard, RDÉE’s youth development officer.
“We really don’t have to do much publicity for the program,” says Blanchard. “It is mostly our former participants – both employees and employers – who do most of our promotion. They talk to their friends about the positive experiences they’ve had with PERCÉ. So essentially, all we have to do is announce the start of the recruiting campaign and right away, the applications start pouring in.”
The RDÉE has been able to increase the number of internships primarily because funders have agreed to invest more funding in the program since they’re seeing that more than 100 youth were applying every year. The program is funded through contributions from the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency’s Business Development Program and from the provincial Department of Workforce and Advanced Learning.
CUTLINE 1: Sébastien Roy-Garand from Indian River worked in astronomy at the UPEI Department of Physics during his PERCÉ internship.
CUTLINE 2: Victoria MacDonald from Souris did her summer PERCÉ internship at Myriad View Artisan Distillery in Rollo Bay.
CUTLINE 3: Samarah Gallant of Alberton was very pleased to be able to get a PERCÉ internship at the Western Hospital in Alberton.
CUTLINE 4: Christian Hansen of Charlottetown had the opportunity to be a PERCÉ intern at the PEI Legislative Assembly this summer.
For more information:
Youth Development Officer
PERCÉ program supervisor
RDÉE Prince Edward Island
(902) 370-7333, Ext. 402