The essence of an internship is to bridge the gap between education and career and see how the two relate – from the classroom to the real working world – where theory becomes practice. It’s a chance for the industry to see what types of students are coming out of the university system; at the same time, giving students a chance to get some experience and insight into what the professional job world is looking for in an employee.
McGill's Faculty of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Undergraduate Internship Program is focused on assisting our students in finding the best internship placements around the world that will help forward them in their academics as well as their real-world experiences. Our students are like no other – driven, focused and determined – they seek out internships that will challenge and inspire them. They want to take all of their academic knowledge and years of education and put words into motion, in a practical, hands-on work experience. More than anything else, students look to internships to help them establish a professional path for themselves.
For students and employers, the advantages in participating are numerous and serve to benefit both parties.
How can having interns benefit my organization or company?
- Internships are a direct pipeline to high motivated, career-minded university-educated, entry-level employees
- Interns can fill positions and assist employees by bringing enthusiasm to companies in the form of new developments in the industry, new ways of thinking about things, fresh ideas, and different approaches to tackling difficult challenges
- Interns allow companies to receive exposure via the university and thus may help future recruitment, as well as grounding the company within the community
- Québec employers may claim a tax credit for on-the-job training of a student intern
- Students are highly capable of contributing all kinds of business value
What have past participants said about their experiences?
Brenda Moore, interned at UBC
“My summer experience at UBC has given me many new ideas about future career possibilities. It has taught me the patience and precision of lab work, which are skills that I can use in my future coursework. It has introduced me to the stamina and unpredictability of fieldwork, which I hope to employ in future fieldwork as an engineer. Most of all, it has revealed to me the mechanics of teamwork, in a setting other than the classroom. It felt like an introduction to the “real world” that students are always talking about after they graduate.”
Jeffrey Courchesne, interned at Dion Machineries
“This is a great job for me because not only is it related to my field of study but also the exact part of it in which I am the most interested in, the agricultural part. Working at Dion was a hands-on learning experience for me. This was actually my second summer working at Dion and they rewarded me by letting me build new machines that I did not get the chance to work on last summer, as well as having me be responsible for a certain tasks that I was not last year.”Xavier Bélanger, interned at Agropur
“During my internship I really enjoyed when I had a characteristic that went well and I was given the green light to push it to the limit regardless of cost and the possible danger to the equipment. I really felt the trust my supervisor had in me and also the freedom of going all the way I wanted to go.”Alexandra Sumner, interned at the University of Notre Dame Environmental Research Center, UNDERC
“I was able to spend my second summer in a row at a research station (UNDERC), situated on the Wisconsin-Michigan border. Working again in the same position re-affirmed my interest in going to graduate school after graduation. An incredibly valuable aspect of this job was the guidance I received, both from fellow students and from researches. I was told what type of graduate program was good for my personality, which professors and schools are well-known, and what the opportunities are in the field of aquatic ecology after school is over. Possibly even more beneficial are the contacts I made while working at the research station. I have met professors from a multitude of wonderful American universities, with whom I hope to have future research opportunities.”
What kind of work can interns do?
- There are all types of internships - lab based research, field research, product development, quality control, project implementation, environmental scans, delivery of community resources, industrial design, public poicy, and more.
- To see what past interns have done, see our student poster packets.
Can my organization's position qualify as an internship?
The program requires that each student be placed in their internship for a minimum of 10 weeks or more, working 35 hours a week. The position should be related to the student's program of study.
Employers do NOT need to create a "special" program for the intern. From a learning perspective, the purpose of the internship experience is to provide students with a hands-on opportunity to apply what they have learnt in the classroom. This experience can be gained with a "regular" summer work opportunity, not a special program. (In other words, it is not a requirement to provide students with particular projects.)
Employers that host interns are also asked to complete a mid-term and final evaluation of the student. The mid-term evaluation will take place halfway through the student placement. Additionally, should schedules and distance (and health restrictions) allow, the Internship Officer will try to visit each student in their internship placement and review the mid-term evaluation with them and their employer. At the end of the internship, a final evaluation will be sent to the employer for completion.
Both the mid-term and final evaluations are tools used by the Internship Office to help assess the progress of the student intern. In order to ensure the internship is a good fit for both parties, the evaluations are necessary.
Are interns paid?
McGill University prefers that student interns be paid. But we understand that, depending on the industry, part of the world, and organizational structure, this is not always possible. Currently, approximately 1/3 of our students receive an hourly wage, 1/3 receive a stipend, and 1/3 do not receive financial compensation for their work. (Note: Students who are not paid tend to work in non-profit community organizations, organizations with a large volunteer workforce, and/or internships outside of North America.)
Students should be paid in accordance with local employment law. In the past few years, students working in Canada have often received an hourly wage in the range of $15-$21.
All students should be registered with CSST or their local workplace accident insurance. If you are a non-profit in Quebec and the student will unpaid, we can put students onto McGill's CSST. Please ask for additional information.
Is there financial support available to help cover the cost of an intern?
There are sources of funding that employers can apply for.
Tax Credit Information for Québec Employers
For Québec based companies that meet the eligibility requirements, you are entitled to receive a certain percentage of what is paid to your intern, and it will come back to you from the Federal Government in your Income taxes. Please consult the Revenu Québec web site for paperwork and additional information.
The Internship Office will forward the necessary documents to your company following completion of the student’s internship.
What is the process for hiring a student intern?
Post the position on MyFuture -or- ask Internship Officer Kendra Gray to circulate the posting to students. Be sure to include information including where to send application materials, the application deadline, the job location, language requirements and the salary.
Once you receive applications, you should proceed with your regular hiring practices. If you'd like to interview students on campus, contact the Internship Officer to arrange for a space. (Note: McGill's campuses will not be available for on-campus interviews until after the campus reopens, post-pandemic.)
When you have identified the student you would like to hire, process the student as you would any other employee.
How do I advertise a position to students?
- Employers can post job offers directly on the MyFuture, the job database maintained by McGill University's Career Planning Services.
- Go to www.mcgill.ca/caps
- There is a horizontal black line, the second choice on that line is Employers, click on that.
- On the left side bar the first choice is ‘FREE Online Job Posting’, click on that.
- Scroll down the page just an inch, you will see: "Already registered?" -or- "Not yet registered?"; Click on "Not yet registered?"
- Try to complete your contact info and job details in the same session.
- If you have an internship job posting that you would like the Internships Officer to circulate to students on the Macdonald Campus, please fill out the Employer Job Form, available in both French (poste_de_stagiaire.doc) and English (employer_job_form.doc) and email it to Kendra directly. Or post the job on MyFuture, and contact Kendra to let her know that there is a new position posted.
- You are always welcome to contact the Internship Officer, Kendra Gray by phone (514) 398-7924 or by Kendra.Gray [at] mcgill.ca (email)
If I want an intern for the summer, when should I advertise the position?
Student begin seriously looking at internship opportunities in January. February is a busy month for internship applications.
Therefore, in order to have your position receive maximum exposure from students, aim to post the position in mid-January, with an application deadline in the 2nd half of February.
Do international students have Canadian work visas?
YES, in nearly all cases, international students receive work visas in association with their study visa. They can work full-time during school breaks (including the summer).