Student stories

History and environmental studies student gains research and writing work experience through co-op

Will Chaster

Canadian Forces Base Esquimalt

Will Chaster, a humanities student who is graduating with a BA in History and Environmental Studies in June 2017, has been gaining valuable work experience through his two terms with the UVic Co-op Program. In the summer of 2016, Will worked for ElectroRecycle as an ambassador, travelling across the province to raise awareness of the organization. He is now completing a work term as a communications writer at the Canadian Forces Base Esquimalt.

ElectroRecycle, a non-profit electronics recycling program based in Vancouver, hired Will to attend community events throughout the province to promote their message. “It was a lot of fun,” Will says, recalling the hectic schedule of travelling and event organizing that took him from downtown Vancouver to the Kootenays and Prince George.

Will’s second and current co-op is in the public affairs department for the Marine Forces Pacific. There, he works on articles for the base newspaper, the Lookout, as well as news releases, speeches, and media visits. You can find samples of his writing for the Lookout in issues 18 and 19 of volume 62.

“It’s a lot of writing, a lot of researching,” he explains. But he’s found that “being with the military, there’s always something interesting to do.” For example, during Will’s first week on the job, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau toured the base, and Will helped coordinate the media visit for that event.

Like his work at ElectroRecycle, Will’s work on the base is largely self-directed and demands strong communication skills: “If there’s something happening on the base and they want me to write a piece about it, it’s up to me to find out who’s involved, set up an interview, talk with them, push it through the editors. It’s been rewarding being able to establish those skills in my first co-op term and then moving forward being able to see them progress.”

After his degree, Will is interested in continuing to work in communications. And regardless of his eventual career path, he sees co-op as having prepared him for any job. “Co-op gives you skills that you will use moving forward—communication, self-starting—transferrable skills that you’ll find in any workplace no matter the speciality.”

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