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Student job programs go remote amidst COVID-19

Undergraduate placements continue to be strong despite restrictions caused by the global pandemic.

A female student works on her laptop on a desk at her home.
Facing new challenges with COVID-19, students taking part in the Summer Work Experience Program (SWEP) are gaining valuable work experience through online opportunities. (Supplied photos)

Departments across Queen’s are continuing to offer meaningful student job and experiential learning opportunities, both on- and off-campus.

Typically, the Summer Work Experience Program (SWEP) gives students the opportunity to gain valuable summer work experience on campus. This year, most participating campus units have moved online, maintaining over 150 positions for undergraduate students.

Queen’s University Biological Station (QUBS) has hired eight SWEP students this year. They are currently helping the unit with outreach, data management, GIS and research projects, and serving as camp counsellors for QUBS’ virtual Eco-Adventure camp. These were intended to be in-person positions, however QUBS transitioned seven positions to remote work. Due to the nature of QUBS-led field research, one student was approved to live onsite at the station and continue these long-term monitoring research projects.

“It’s been truly rewarding to supervise and work alongside our SWEP students this summer,” says Sarah Oldenburger, Outreach and Teaching Coordinator at QUBS. “They have been fundamental in creating fun and engaging educational materials for children, youth, and community members during these uncertain times.”

For Joanne Rae (ConEd’21) – a Youth Environmental Educator and Eco-Adventure Camp Counsellor – the SWEP program has helped her develop professional skills during the unprecedented circumstances of COVID-19.

“The beauty of this experience has been that, as a team, we were able to work together to understand each other's strengths and design an interactive, engaging virtual camp,” says Rae. “I am thrilled to be part of a team that has designed programming that allows campers to interact with each other and play interactive games, all while educating them on the ecological diversity within their own backyard.”=

To support students and staff as they transition into a new online working environment, Career Services has been offering Supervising Remotely and Working Remotely workshops. The next Supervising Remotely workshop will be held over Zoom on Wednesday, July 8 at 10am. To register, contact el.hub@queensu.ca.

Queen’s University Internship Program (QUIP) is another option for students looking to gain work experience. The program offers paid, professionally supervised internships for undergraduate students who want to learn more about their industry of choice.

This year, 216 students have secured QUIP internships starting this summer, 28 more are already scheduled to start in September, and employers continue to post new opportunities.

Career Services will be hosting a QUIP information session for students who are interested in registering for the program. The session will be held on Thursday, June 25 at 12 pm EST over Zoom. Students can register through MyCareer.

To learn more about these and other programs, visit the Career Services website.