Searching for postsecondary students to work in essential services during summer internships

PERCÉ application deadline extended to help meet workforce needs

WELLINGTON – March 25, 2020 – RDÉE Prince Edward Island has adjusted the 2020 edition of its PERCÉ summer internship program so that it can place special emphasis on post-secondary students who are ready to work in essential services, as identified by governments, to respond to the current pandemic.

« We are therefore looking for college and university students from PEI, who are in their last or second-last year of studies, who want to work for 10 to 12 weeks this summer in fields such as health and wellness, pharmacology, nutrition, cleaning, manufacturing, food distribution, public services, etc., » explains Stéphane Blanchard, youth development officer with RDÉE PEI who oversees the program.

« We wanted to use a program that is already in place to do our part to help alleviate this very difficult situation we are all facing. »

He explained that the deadline for applications had been extended to April 5, 2020, to give those who did not apply a chance to submit, in response to this criteria adjustment.

Blanchard indicated that it is unclear when the current restrictions will be removed, but that ways will be found to ensure that all dimensions of the program can be offered. For example, orientation and training sessions along with personal and career exploration workshops will be held online through videoconferencing. In addition, some of the internships could be done by teleworking from home while others placements will take place in secure environments that have implemented strict preventive measures to protect employees and clients.


As always, it is anticipated that the RDÉE will be able to accommodate some 30 interns during this 17th annual edition of the program. These young people will receive the regular salary offered to a beginner in their field.

« This program is aimed primarily at repatriating our young people, most of whom are studying outside the province. We will show them that it is possible to make a life and a career right here on the Island and that they don’t necessarily have to move to Ontario or Alberta to work in their field, » added Blanchard. « If our excellent repatriation rates continue to maintain themselves, more than 80 per cent of these young people will eventually settle permanently on the Island. »
In its first 16 years, PERCÉ welcomed 316 trainees.

The development officer invites all qualifying young people who are interested in participating in the program to visit the website to obtain more details and to fill out an online application form.

Program directors will then evaluate applications received before the original closing date as well as new applications. Using an advanced scoring system, they will select the 30 applicants who best meet the new criteria. It should be noted that bilingualism will be considered an asset. Once participants are selected, assistance will be provided in finding an appropriate internship location for them.

« We are calling on parents of university and college students to relay the message that we are looking for participants, » adds Blanchard.

As for employers, in addition to receiving a financial incentive to help pay their intern’s salary, they receive the services of an enthusiastic young person who has acquired the latest skills in their industry and who is willing to learn.

« We invite employers who are interested in hosting an intern – especially those working in essential services – to fill out the employer application form on the website or send me any questions at, » Blanchard concluded.


PHOTO: Former PERCÉ intern Joselyn Jelley worked in the health care field in O’Leary.

For more information:
Stéphane Blanchard
PERCÉ program supervisor
RDÉE Prince Edward Island
(902) 388-8460