Student stories

RHED student contributes to diverse workplaces

Evan Letkeman

New Balance Victoria, Richardson Sport, and Recreation Integration Victoria

I am a fifth-year student in the Recreation and Health Education program. I started my post-secondary education at the University of Alberta and transferred to Victoria in my second year where I began the EPHE program at UVic. I chose my co-op program because I felt it would complement what I am learning in the classroom. I also believe co-op work terms will prepare me better for when I graduate because of the abundant opportunities to network.

What co-op work terms have you done?

I am currently completing my third and fourth work terms (as I’m working at New Balance Victoria for both the fall and spring semesters). Previously I worked with Richardson Sport as a Summer Camp Staff Supervisor and at Recreation Integration Victoria as a Summer Inclusion Facilitator. While it was a great experience working with kids, I am excited to join a large athletic company and learn more about this sector of the recreation industry.

What type of work have you done on your work terms?

I’ve been working at New Balance Victoria since September as a fit specialist/sale associate. In this role, I helped people find shoes and insoles that allow them to feel confident and comfortable. New Balance has a large selection styles from stability shoes to lifestyle shoes, so every shoe has its benefits to particular customers.

I also worked at the Steve Nash Fitness Centre as an ambassador for New Balance Victoria. While there, I educated gym members about insoles and specific shoes to help them reach their fitness goals. By speaking with gym members, the store benefitted from an increase in new customers, which was extremely rewarding to witness.

How do your co-op work terms complement your courses and classroom studies?

The knowledge I gained in the classroom about the recreational field through lectures and group projects has complemented what I am doing everyday on my work terms. My interpersonal skills and background in recreation classes has helped me succeed in addressing the unique fitness needs of each customer.

What have you learned most from these experiences?

I really had no idea that each shoe has specific purpose and each customer’s needs are so different. Sometimes you get a customer that chooses and buys a shoe right away but other times you have to use trial and error for an hour to find the right fit and by adding an insole or lacing the shoe differently. That was all very surprising to learn.

What are you most proud of about the work you did in co-op?

I would say the amount of knowledge I learned about the shoe industry and the relationships I have made throughout my co-op experiences.

What are your plans for your future career?

My goal has always been to pursue a career in the recreation or the sports industry. Through co-op, I have met and built connections with people around the city and feel confident that these connections will help me in pursuit of my career aspirations: to help people in my community with active living and athletics.

Would you recommend this experience to other students?

Yes, I would! Learning about New Balance and how it helps customers counteract pronation, supination, and allow them to reach their recreational goals is rewarding and compliments an EPHE education. I also think it’s important for Recreation and Health students to venture out and try working outside of the non-profit organizations.

What is your advice to students considering the co-op program at UVic?

I think they should strongly consider it. Delaying your graduation is so worth it because there are so many benefits to co-op work terms. By having strong relationships with employers and valuable work experience I think it prepares students well for careers after completing university.

How has co-op impacted you?

Through my three co-op experiences, I have developed a variety of skills that I believe will help me with my career aspirations. I have networked and made connections that will hopefully benefit me in the future. I also learned a great deal about the administrative side of the recreation field and the hard work that goes on behind the scenes that puts together different projects.

More about Exercise science, physical and health education co-op