For the past few months, the team at ECO Canada has been lucky enough to mentor and work alongside three bright and passionate summer students. Meet Vanessa, Julia, and Seun, who have helped with Marketing & Events, Professional Services and Research.
What are some of the top things you’re taking away from your experience at ECO and working with the environmental sector?
Vanessa: Working as a Marketing, Training and Events Intern at ECO Canada has been such an awesome experience. I had the opportunity to directly apply the skills learned through my University Program to various projects, as well as develop new skills from working with so many different people.
Julia: Working as a summer student with the Professional Services team this summer has truly been an incredible learning experience. The whole team at ECO was so welcoming and open to allowing the students to try new things and explore different aspects of the company. If I had to pick the three main things I learned they would be: the importance of building genuine relationships, a greater understanding of the wide breadth and potential of the environmental industry, and how to communicate thoroughly and effectively in order to be successful.
Seun: The environmental sector is incorporated into so many other sectors so you will always find something that interests you whilst having a positive impact on the environment. There needs to be an increased interest in individuals moving into environmental jobs as more than enough jobs will be available as people retire and we all play a part in sustaining the planet. ECO Canada is a very open and collaborative place to work. Rather than having one person make decisions, regardless of seniority, every shared opinion is taken into account. It is the kind of place where you are pushed to do the best that you can, but at the forefront is your well-being. It is a very light-hearted and welcoming space to be in and co-workers really become genuine friends.
Was there anything that stood out or surprised you?
Vanessa: What surprised me most about working at ECO was that, even though everyone is usually swamped with work, everyone is so friendly and welcoming. If I had any questions or concerns, no one hesitated to help me out. I was also surprised that I was able to work on a project at my own pace without the constant stress of someone micro-managing me.
Julia: What stood out to me the most about this internship was how many projects and initiatives I got to be a part of. This position disproved all my existing notions of what it meant to be an “intern”; I expected to spend most of my time pouring coffee or filing paper. However, this was far from the case. I was fortunate enough to be able to contribute to many meaningful projects such as helping develop an Indigenous climate action workshop, reviewing energy efficiency curriculum, and conducting research on international accreditation. Through being a part of the team for the past three months, I feel equipped with a brand-new skill set and an improved knowledge base.
Seun: Something that surprised me is how far certain skills that I never really paid much attention to develop for me. Coming into my position as a research intern I didn’t expect to do as much writing as I ended up doing. As the summer progressed and I was given tasks that involved more writing, I found myself becoming more attentive to my writing style and wanting to make it stronger, which motivated me to read more. Although not perfect, having exposure to tasks that involved writing has built up my confidence in the area and made me want to strengthen it more beyond this internship.
Do you have any advice for future summer students or those looking to break into the field?
Vanessa: My advice is to do some research on ECO Canada! You will be surprised about how much one company can do. From Training and Events all the way to Accreditation, it will be very beneficial for you to understand what each of these programs do, how they work together, and how you will be able to help.
Julia: My advice for other summer students is to be unafraid. Don’t hesitate to ask lots of questions, accept and grow from constructive criticism, and share innovative or exciting ideas because you never know what might come out of it! Lastly, I would like to thank everyone at ECO Canada for being such kind and inspiring colleagues.
Seun: Don’t feel intimidated when starting an internship. It’s completely understandable to be nervous about starting a new position, but be confident in what you know and what you bring to the table. There’s a special reason you were hired, so enjoy the experience and be open to learning as much as you can through it all.