Internship available to international graduates
Credit: EMILY STEWART
International student graduates on the post-graduate work permit will have a chance to get City Hall experience from the City of London's internship program.
International students with a valid post-graduate work permit and an English Benchmark level of six or higher who have graduated within the last year from a recognized post-secondary institution are eligible for the internships, where they will then earn 600 fulltime work hours over 20 weeks.
The internships are part of Choose London – Innovative, Vibrant, and Global: London’s Newcomer Strategy.
Emily Low, immigration specialist for the City of London, said there are currently two internships available. She added that depending on each intake period’s funding, the city aims to offer between two to three internships per intake. Low added the graduates will have a chance to work in any of the city’s internal departments which can vary depending on which ones would like to hire interns.
“It’s kind of a lottery system,” she explained. “Different departments are chosen to receive an intern and from there, they explain which position they’re looking to help support and then they post the jobs.”
Low also said the College “has a very large international student base, and so does Western [University] and some of the other affiliates that are here in London”. She added the internship program aims to be a stepping stone for life after graduation.
“Basically, what this program allows is to try and help some of those international student graduates on the post-graduate work permit gain some of that experience,” she said. “So Fanshawe graduates that are deciding to stay in London on their post-graduate work permit are more than eligible to apply for these internships.”
Wendy Curtis, the executive director of Fanshawe’s International Centre, said the announcement of the internship opportunities was great to hear.
“I think all of us were really excited for a number of reasons,” she said, adding several people from the College have assisted with the city’s newcomer strategy. “We have heard and been part of the conversations around what is it that ideally, the city would look like and offer in order to attract international students, but also to keep the international students here and gainfully employed.”
She said Dev Sainani, the London and Middlesex Local Immigration Partnership co-chair and Fanshawe’s associate dean of the School of Information Technology, worked on the newcomer strategy with Joaqium Ballès of Trudell Medical Limited.
Caitlin Smith, Fanshawe’s international projects and exchange coordinator, echoed the International Centre’s enthusiasm for the city’s international student graduate internships.
“We have so many exceptional international graduates here. They’ve been in London and they want to stay in London,” she said. “They love the city after being here for two, three, or four years, so to have an opportunity for them to get involved with the municipal city offices and get their foot in the door is great.”
Curtis said the College’s International Centre and Career Services work together to provide lots of opportunities for international students and grads, including the Fanshawe Works initiative. During Fanshawe Works, around 360 international students attended and met Fanshawe’s international student alumni, listened to a panel of employers, and got training for resume creation.
“They’re also better able and informed to carry the message to employers around what they bring to that employer,” Curtis said, “What skill set do they offer, and we always balance that with our domestic students and what it is they bring to the table, so they both bring a tremendous amount, each a little different from the other, but both incredibly valuable to this community.”
She added that she wants all Fanshawe students to think about staying in London after graduation.
“Our employers are looking for that kind of talent, which is increasingly in short supply.”
Low also said the internship opportunities help the local workforce, part of the “Growing Our Economy” section in the 2015- 2019 Strategic Plan for the City of London.
“With the aging population and declining birth rates, there is a demographic need to attract, integrate, and retain newcomers, and this definitely includes international student graduates,” she said.
Visit london.ca/newcomerstrategy for more information on Choose London – Innovative, Vibrant, and Global: London’s Newcomer Strategy.