Many thanks to our partners in the Canadian Federal Government as well as PGSS, CaPS, and University Advancement for helping to make McGill’s Annual Federal Careers and Networking Trip to Ottawa a truly unforgettable two days!
A group of 35 graduate and undergraduate McGillians spent January 23-24, 2020 in the National Capital Region. It was an eventful two days packed with visits to four federal departments including presentations, tours, speed-networking activities, panels, and discussions. This year’s partners were Transport Canada (TC), Global Affairs Canada (GAC), Innovation, Science, and Economic Development Canada (ISED), and Natural Resources Canada (NRCAN). At an evening alumni networking event, students also had the opportunity to speak one-on-one with public servants, human resources and hiring managers, and other McGill Alum working in the NCR.
In addition to learning more about career paths to and through the government, students learned about the breadth and range of roles in the public sector in general. Research and policy were at the top of many students’ lists of concern, but various presenters were also able to kindle students’ curiosity in fields and roles far from what they expected they’d find interesting. Human resources departments highlighted the federal government’s mandate to mental health, equity, and diversity, for instance, and various departments’ international portfolios on scientific innovation, natural resources, and trade piqued the attention of those who thought global-oriented careers were limited to diplomacy. Public servants underscored the importance of keeping an open mind when approaching careers in the federal government, stressing each position is an opportunity to build new skills, develop your network, and learn new ways of approaching and solving problems. As always, our public service partners also emphasized the core values of integrity and loyalty to the government’s mission of serving the Canadian public.
After two days of learning and networking, our students now have a head start on planning their careers in the Canadian federal government. The CaPS team look forward to seeing them all through their next steps!
I thought the trip was very helpful! It’s hard to get a sense of the path forward from inside the university but talking with people in government provided a lot of direction on where to go from here. I think the length of the trip was just right (it was busy but not exhausting). The most useful parts for me were the times when we got to speak with people individually, either during the networking session or during the “speed networking” sessions at the various departments. I think we all come from different backgrounds so the opportunity to ask more personally relevant questions was definitely worthwhile. The importance of FSWEP and other co-op programs to getting a job in the government became much more clear during the trip as well which I didn’t realize going in. Overall though, I thought the trip was great and I’m really glad I went!
- Matteo Bernabo, PhD student in Neuroscience
Thanks to the CaPS federal government career networking trip, I have been able to meet and learn from people in the public sector that inspire me. My network has grown significantly and in general, my approach to networking has improved by leaps and bounds. […] Even though we went to a couple departments that I thought would be of no interest to me, I ended up learning key information and tips from every visit we had on the trip. Stay open-minded throughout each activity because I was able to learn that my transferrable skills and prior experience is much more far-reaching than I thought it was. Every department visit was fascinating and inspiring in its own way. One of my favorite activities was the networking cocktail with McGill alumni. It was fun and so interesting to see all the different places McGill students have landed for work. Plus, the cocktail provided a laid-back environment conducive to striking up career conversations with them organically. We got drinks, some bites to eat and the opportunity to connect with successful, kind alumni – it was awesome!
- Gabrielle Thomas, BA English Literature
Navigating the employment landscape is daunting as a graduate student. The Federal Government Career & Networking Trip is a wonderful opportunity to gain a better understanding of the nuances of public service work. McGill, through CaPS and PGSS, supports us and values building connections that will benefit our present and our future! What a great experience!
- Nioushah Noushi, PhD student in Dental Sciences and Education
The Ottawa trip organized by CaPS was an incredible experience. The trip allowed me to network with McGill Alumni and find out what a day in the life of a government worker is like! The Hotel was really great, and the bus rides were very comfortable. I really enjoyed visiting Global Affairs Canada, as it is where I see myself hopefully working after graduation. The trip was extremely well organized and thanks to CaPS, I feel like I am one step closer to working at the Government of Canada!
- Zack Billick, BA Political Science