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Student Success Stories

Being a Co-operative Education student means that you have the drive to make your dreams come true! As the following students can attest, when you combine positive action with your career goals amazing opportunities unfold.

This is what NIC Co-op students have to say about their experience:

Brianna Faucher Tourism and Hospitality Management Diploma
Co-op Student, Walt Disney Resort, Florida

When Brianna Faucher discovered that NIC’s tourism and hospitality program included an opportunity to take part in a co-op work experience at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, she knew that this was a chance of a lifetime.

“My co-op experience at Disney was phenomenal. I would go back in a second. I knew that I was going to experience a lot of culture but I didn’t know how profoundly it was going to impact me. I have made friends everywhere. People all think differently. Experiencing Disney really allows you to step back and look at yourself and how you should be towards other people.”

Working in the merchandise department at Epcot she rotated between 5 different stores, developing a strong bond of friendship with other employees. She says that she had so much fun meeting people from all over the world that even when the days were long she never felt like she was working.

“The guest services aspect of Disney really drove me,” she adds. “To be able to take a problem and fix it for someone, to have the ability to make such a difference in someone’s experience...”

Brianna expects to graduate from NIC in December 2015, with plans to continue her studies and maybe even head back to Disney as a cultural representative, an opportunity she says she would not have known existed if she had not been so inspired by Harley Elias’s presentation at her high school open house in grade 12. She credits his passion for the program for setting a spark in her and motivating her to pursue her dreams.

“It really changed the direction of my life,” she says.

Learn more about the Disney International Program.

Kristin McColl Tourism and Hospitality Management Diploma
Co-op Student, Walt Disney Resort, Florida

Kristin McColl heard about Disney’s International Program from her high school guidance counsellor in Clinton, Ontario and knew immediately that this is what she wanted.

“I like working with people, being able to have a real impact on their guest experience, and make sure everything is perfect. I knew having Disney on my resume was an incredible opportunity because the company is so well known around the globe.”

She researched her options and chose NIC from six post-secondary institutions across Canada that offer Disney partnerships. Always an adventure seeker, she chose NIC for its close-knit community and the opportunity to live in a coastal, Vancouver Island community where she could focus her studies on sustainable tourism.

In her first year of classes, she had the opportunity to connect with students that had participated in the Disney co-op program. She was able to call on them for advice through her interview process, and as she prepared for her own experience.

“Being in touch with the students who went the year before gave me a real sense of community,” she said. “This was really helpful and definitely cemented my desire to go to Disney.”

Kristin had the opportunity to work in costuming, helping cast members with everything from basic uniforms to more elaborate apparel. Working in the Animal Kingdom, her jobs ranged from brushing Baloo’s fur coat, to preparing Pocahontas’s costume for presentation.

Kristin says that the value of working at Disney is something that she will carry with her for the rest of her career.

“Disney is such a multi-cultural company. I had travelled a bit so am used to communicating with different cultures but didn’t expect to develop such a strong cultural awareness. I worked with people from Mexico, China, Japan… It was great learning about all the different cultures. Now I look back and have friends from all these different places that I never would have expected.”

Learn more about the Disney International Program.

Jessica Cruickshank Bachelor of Business Administration Degree - Marketing Major
Co-op Student, City of Courtenay Public Works Department

Jessica Cruickshank’s co-op experience as an administrative assistant with the City of Courtenay Public Works Department set her up for success.

The skills she developed as an office assistant, providing administrative support to city staff responsible for the operation and maintenance of a diverse range of services, provided Jessica with multiple opportunities to gain new expertise, building on the theory she learned in her first year of classes.

“The experience was wonderful. I learned a lot about organizational structure and culture,” she said. “It was great to be able to apply what I learned in the classroom to real life situations.”

Building on the momentum of her co-op experience, Jessica became involved in the Global Leaders of Tomorrow mentorship program in her next semester of study. This initiative matches high achieving students with local businesspeople. Jessica’s mentorship, which was initially only a seven-hour commitment, blossomed into a permanent office administration position. She believes it was the skills she learned during her co-op work term that gave her the foundation to turn her next opportunity into such a success.

“I was trying to figure out a career path for myself and I knew that making connections in the community would help me with that. What’s wonderful about both the co-op experience and my mentorship is that I was able to see behind the scenes before making a commitment.”

Samantha Agnew Business Administration Diploma, Accounting Major
Co-op Student, Seymour Pacific Developments Ltd.

“The co-op experience is definitely worth it. It allowed me to choose what I wanted to learn and provided first-hand experience with a company willing to develop my abilities.”

Samantha Agnew is grateful to North Island College’s Co-operative Education program for giving her an accounting career in her hometown. The third-year Bachelor of Business Administration student spent the summer of 2011 in the accounts payable and payroll department of Seymour Pacific Developments Ltd., a Campbell River-based property development company.

In September, the co-op position transitioned into a part-time job while Samantha completes her accounting degree and, quite possibly, a full-time career. “I can see myself at the company for a long time–possibly moving into financial accounting or travelling to the company’s operations across Western Canada.”

Sheila Bakker Business Administration Diploma, Marketing Major
Co-op Student, Comox Valley Youth Music Centre

"Co-op Education gave me real world experience while I was still in college - there's nothing like actually doing the work to understand the program you're doing."

As the program and marketing coordinator for the Comox Valley Youth Music Centre, Sheila was able to get a Business Administration diploma and experience in two years at North Island College.

NIC's affordable tuition and Co-operative Education program gave her industry-recognized skills and employer connections at a price that didn't overwhelm her budget. Plus, her access to discussion friendly classes, approachable instructors, and hands-on business skills allowed her to develop her interests and build her resumé before leaving college.

Taija Cox Tourism & Hospitality Management Diploma
Co-op Student, Comox Valley Visitor Centre

"My co-op experience confirmed that I would like to continue with my education in Tourism and Hospitality."

Taija Cox spent the summer of 2010 working at the Comox Valley Visitor Centre, talking to tourists about the place she loves.

The experience helped her decide to pursue a career in the industry, added relevant work experience to her resume, and gave her the opportunity to earn Tourism Training and World Host certificates, which are highly recognized within the industry.

Adam Ding Tourism & Hospitality Management Diploma
Co-op Student, Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel

"I highly recommend co-op students apply to Fairmont’s student program. It combines valuable work experience with an energetic, fun lifestyle at one of Canada’s most breathtaking resorts. You’ll be certain to make friendships and memories that last a lifetime."

Adam Ding discovered the secret to quality customer service by participating in Fairmont's Student Worker Exchange program.

He broadened his knowledge of the hospitality industry by working in many hotel areas. From the Castle Pantry, to his work as a banquet server, porter, breakfast host, dining server, and housekeeping staff he gained experience and knowledge at one of Canada's most recognized hotels. He hopes to return in future summers to take part in Fairmont's leadership program.

Paresa Habibi Tourism & Hospitality Management Diploma
Bachelor of Business Administration

Co-op Student, Delta Grand Okanagan

"Co-op has opened a lot of doors, not only because I have my foot in the door of a very respectable Canadian hotel but also because I have built relationships with people that I will carry for a lifetime. I know that this company could take me very far if I wanted to do so due to its training tools and most importantly its people."

As an in-room dining server in Kelowna, BC, Paresa learned a lot about service standards, the "ins & outs" of hotel operations, how to use a Micros system, as well as proper phone, and dining etiquette.

Along the way, she made relationships with future employers, discovered new areas of interest, and refocused her career goals.

Lindsey Innes Bachelor of Business Administration Degree,
General Management Major

Co-op Student, Campbell River Chamber of Commerce

"My co-op experience has given me hands-on marketing and leadership skills. Being part of successful team has increased my self-confidence and made want to do better. I love it up here."

Lindsey Innes' 2011 co-op work term is more than just a summer job. The business student turned her summer co-op into a permanent part-time job and gained valuable business contacts in Campbell River.

Last summer, Lindsey started working on the Chamber's social media marketing, event planning, and contacting members and business owners for the Campbell River Major Projects web portal, a database of Campbell River businesses and suppliers created to prepare for the John Hart Generating Station replacement and other large projects in the area. It's a job she continues today.

"My role is constantly changing," she adds. "I'm really getting to know the people and events in my community."

Sara McIlroy Bachelor of Business Administration Degree
Co-op Student, Discovery Trekking Outfitters

"At NIC, I'm not just another student, my professors' know my name, they know where I've been, and they know where I'm going."

Sara McIlroy returned to the Comox Valley from UVic to take the Business Administration program at NIC, where she knew she could get a less expensive and personal education, that suited her career goals. In the summer of 2010 her co-op placement was at Discovery Trekking Outfitters in Campbell River, where owner Leslie Hanes was looking for looking for bright students with a marketing background who could help her expand her customer base.

Sara and fellow co-op student Rachel Inglin created Discovery Trekking's social media marketing strategy and Facebook page. "NIC business students already have a basic knowledge of how to market a company," said Hanes."They require less training and they grasp concepts as you give them the ideas. If I could have them here longer, I would."


Do you have a success story to share?
Send your picture along with your co-op success story to studentemployment
@nic.bc.ca
and we'll post it online. Be sure to include:
  • Where you worked, what you did, and what you learned;
  • What made your experience memorable or unique;
  • Your most rewarding, interesting, or challenging experience;
  • Skills you learned to take to future employment;
  • How your co-op experience confirmed or altered your career goals