New co-ordinator links businesses, employees

North Island College has created a new position to make it easier for employers to find skilled employees, interns and co-op students.

Anita Budisa-Bonneau is the Co-ordinator of Work Integrated Education at North Island College.

North Island College has created a new position to make it easier for employers to find skilled employees, interns and co-op students.

The new Co-ordinator of Work Integrated Education matches students to employers across the region and posts jobs free of charge for businesses on NIC’s website.

“I want to meet as many business owners as possible to help them with their specific HR needs and help students find jobs,” said Anita Budisa-Bonneau, who has more than 30 students available for hire. “The more I know about an organization’s needs, goals and operations, the better equipped I am to match them with an ideal candidate.”

The position is one of the ways the college supplies demand for a skilled and educated workforce in the Comox Valley and across the North Island.

“NIC provides incredible opportunities for local businesses to access highly talented and dedicated co-op students and interns who are a valuable resource to the business community,” said Dianne Hawkins, Comox Valley Chamber of Commerce president/CEO. “Employers provide workplace and industry knowledge; students provide fresh perspective and innovative ideas into local business systems and operations. It’s definitely mutually beneficial for both sides.”

Co-op and internship students generally come from the accounting, marketing, business, or tourism and hospitality fields, often filling vacant, seasonal and project-based positions.

In recent years, students have worked for the City of Courtenay, Painter’s Lodge and the Wickaninnish Inn, as examples.

Students like Jessica Cruickshank worked with public works last year and is now seeking another placement in marketing.

“Working at the City was such a wonderful experience,” said Cruikshank. “It was great to apply the knowledge I learned in the classroom.”

Co-op students work full time over four months while completing undergraduate studies. Internship students, however, have already completed one degree and are available to work full- or part-time during the school year.

“Our post degree diplomas consistently attract top notch, highly-qualified students from around the world who already have degrees in commerce, business, tourism or engineering,” adds Budisa-Bonneau. “They’re ready to apply their skills to the Canadian labour market.”

In past years, Gamdoor Brar helped organize community events such as the Immigrant Welcome Centre’s Global Fusion Fest, and accounting student MJ Sharma handled financial accounts for Canadian Industrial Power and Control in Merville. Both have graduated and are working in the community. Interns also work locally in banks, accounting firms and insurance agencies, and manage sales for a local Telus affiliate.

“NIC interns bring a lot of skills and knowledge to the community,” said Jim Brennan, Human Resources Manager at Campbell River’s Immigrant Welcome Centre. “They look at problems differently, bringing with them real-world perspectives, passion and business acumen that motivates people around them.”

Budisa-Bonneau will be at NIC’s fifth annual career fair March 11 at the Comox Recreation Centre.

To discuss your hiring needs with Anita, email Anita.Budisa@nic.bca.

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