Finding a job without experience can be difficult. But it can be made far easier with the help of a co-op placement. Just ask Trevor Flood.
The 1999 University of Lethbridge grad completed five co-op terms before earning his bachelor of management degree, giving him an important edge in finding meaningful employment. Flood is now a supervisor with Canadian Natural Resources Limited (CNRL), handling royalty reduction programs within the oil and gas industry.
"We're responsible for a number of different areas but the primary focus is gas cost allowances andequalizations," he says of his 11-person team.
"We've seen a significant reduction in drilling in Alberta because of the new royalty program. In some ways it's good, because it's helped slow things down as far as what I see coming through Alberta, which is my group's core area."
Flood started at the U of L in fall 1996 after completing a two-year program at Red Deer College. He initially found it hard to land a co-op opportunity but ended up with his first placement at the Red Deer United Way. After that, he began an eight-month co-op at the U of L Management Co-op office, a position that ended up changing his life.
"That was a great job and it allowed me to be a co-op student but still be at the University and still experience university life. I learned about the recruiting process and a lot about career development, making sure you set yourself up for a career path that will take you where you want to go," says Flood.
"It really set me up nicely, because I met some really good people. And because of the contacts I made there I was able to line up another position in Calgary with Gulf Canada. That led me into the oil and gas industry, which is what I knew I wanted to do."
Following his final eight-month co-op with Gulf Canada, Flood was able to land another position within the industry before moving into his role with CNRL. This happened, he says, largely because of the U of L's continuing co-op program.
"When I was coming out of university the oil industry was in terrible shape. Nobody was hiring. But because I had a little bit of experience and made some good contacts, I was still able to get in there," he says.
"I think the co-op programs have a huge value. From the student's perspective, you get your foot in the door with great companies. It was a great transition for me from full-time student to part-time student to full-time employee."
Now that he's in a position to do so, Flood has started to use co-op students with CNRL.
During the past five years he has hired five co-op students as a way to ensure the program continues.
"We like to utilize that route whenever we're able to. Generally, they come in and get great experience. They do very similar duties to the full-time people. Most of them pick things up extremely well," says Flood.
"The learning curve is pretty steep for them but it's not insurmountable, so we see a lot of value in it. As long as CNRL continues to place an emphasis on hiring co-op students, I will be involved with the co-op programs."
To learn more about the Faculty of Management at the University of Lethbridge, visit this link.