Internships that work for people

Manitoba offers programs for various educational backgrounds

Aspiring journalist and current Legislative intern Ksenia Prints says her job has helped her view the province’s political system with more critical eyes. Cindy Titus

With an honours BA in politics and conflict resolution from the University of Winnipeg, and more than four years of journalism experience, Ksenia Prints thrives under the pressure of being an intern for the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba.

“This is not a job for pencil pushers, to be frank,” said the 23-year-old aspiring journalist. “It’s a pretty dynamic opportunity, so you have to be a pretty dynamic person.”

The former Canadian University Press bureau chief is currently one of six individuals getting an in-depth look at the province’s inner workings by participating in the paid Manitoba Legislative Internship Program.

Established in 1985, the program annually assigns three interns each to the government and opposition caucuses to do varied work, including background research for bills, talking to constituents and writing speaking notes for MLAs.

Additional features – like once-a-week seminars with prominent community and political figures and a trip to Ottawa and St. Paul, Minn. to learn about both the Canadian and American political systems – make Prints certain the internship is a chance for unique networking and work experience with Manitoba’s who’s who.

“You learn to read beyond the political spin,” said Prints. “This isn’t a career, but it’s a career opener.”

For graduates or students with a science or geography background, the Shell Conservation Internship Program is a chance for relevant hands-on experience in southern Manitoba’s grasslands, woodlands and wetlands.

This isn’t a career, but it’s a career opener.

Ksenia Prints, Manitoba Legislative intern

The partnership with the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) is offering four positions this summer. Interns will perform baseline inventories, take account of all plants, animals and other components of a property. They will also use GPS and Geographic Information System technology – which stores, analyzes and presents information related to a location – in the southeastern Tall Grass Prairie region, as well as in and around Riding Mountain National Park.

The program, according to stewardship programs manager Julie Sveinson Pelc, gives NCC the staff to preserve land while providing participants a leg up when looking for jobs.

“These internships provide that introductory level of field experience, and as an employer I’m looking to hire someone who has had that,” said Sveinson Pelc.

Another Manitoba program increasing employment potential is the Dr. Douglas W. Leatherdale Global Citizenship Internship Program. The U of W Global College’s executive co-ordinator Joel Marion, a former participant in the program, is responsible for helping choose which applicants receive the bursary-style travel study opportunity. After studying international criminal courts in Northern Ireland, the benefits of providing up to $5,000 for students to learn abroad for six weeks to three months are clear to him.

“It definitely showed me the kind of work that can be done internationally, and the work I’m doing now is definitely informed by that education and my time at the U of W,” said Marion, who holds an honours BA in political science and conflict resolution.

Due to the recession, the Global College is currently awaiting confirmation on the number of endowment-funded internships that will be available this year. The decision is expected by the end of January.

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