The Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies (LA&PS) launched a new internship program in January 2017 with its first partner, insurance brokerage firm The Shepherd Group. The internship program will provide students from all LA&PS programs with an opportunity to apply their knowledge, enhance their skills and gain valuable and paid work experience.
“We are very proud of our students. Their abilities and outlook are unique and unbeatable,” said Ananya Mukherjee-Reed, LA&PS dean. “With this internship program, we want to help them grow into even greater leaders by providing them with practical experience with the highest-ranking employers like The Shepherd Group. We are honoured to be The Shepherd Group’s partner in this mission.”
In today’s competitive job market, paid internships provide students with the necessary work experience that recruiting employers seek, as well as demonstrate to potential employers that interns’ skills and professional input are unique and highly valued.
“LA&PS has a rich array of programs with a strong diverse student body,” said Narda Razack, associate dean, Global & Community Engagement. “Graduating students and interns are the driving force of today’s businesses and economy and they deserve to take their place in the workforce.”
Interns build strong mutually beneficial relationships with local businesses and organizations in the community. These businesses and organizations then support the Faculty by developing internship positions open to LA&PS students exclusively.
“An internship is not just a job,” said Karlene Davis, experiential education program coordinator in the Office of the Associate Dean, Global & Community Engagement. “It is a meaningful employment opportunity that allows our students to see themselves in a work environment, to network and to make long-lasting connections with professionals in the field.”
Internships are ideally suited for third-year LA&PS students. Once students have been approved as candidates by the Faculty, they are invited to attend workshops on perfecting an internship resume, cover letter and interview skills offered in partnership with the YU Experience Hub. This workshop helps the candidates prepare for the next phase: an interview with the employer. Finally, the employer extends an internship job offer to the selected candidate.
The new LA&PS internship program supplements the YU Experience Hub’s LA&PS internships and other organic internships independent from the Faculty.
“Our office is fully engaged in the process as we provide direct support to both the student and the company from the application stage, throughout the duration of internship work term to evaluation,” said Davis.
The Shepherd Group focuses on helping small businesses and individual entrepreneurs succeed in the labour market. The company emphasizes teamwork and community outreach events. The company’s slogan is “Every day should feel like a Friday,” and employees receive coaching and support to develop their skills, making the work environment conducive to helping staff reach their potential.
Neil Shepherd, CEO and founder of the firm, sees the internship program with LA&PS as an opportunity for growth and expansion for all parties involved. He believes that through this internship, employers like him can source and work with the best and brightest students from York University. Shepherd says that postsecondary students offer unique perspectives and the fresh outlook that businesses need.
“York is such a great brand,” says Shepherd. “When I see what York has done and the future leaders that it is creating, I want to be part of that.”
Alex Kvaskov is a third-year Professional Writing student and the first intern in the LA&PS internship program. In January, he was hired as The Shepherd Group’s Social Media Intern. He is responsible for increasing the firm’s brand visibility online, researching, writing social media blogs and other online content to help boost sales. The internship opportunity is helping Kvaskov expand his social media and writing skills. By helping drive the business forward, Kvaskov said he has become more confident as a competitor on his media career path. He said the LA&PS internship is providing him the liberty to explore his career opportunities and helps undergraduate students build flexibility into their academics through paid work that complements their studies and career paths.
“My peers shouldn’t be worried about leaving old jobs, finding new ones, or sticking very strictly to their four-year undergrad plans,” said Kvaskov. “Make a plan, yes, but build some flexibility into that plan.”
For more information and to apply, employers and students should visit the LA&PS Internship Program website.
You can also read this story in Y-File.