Kamloops & District Chamber of Commerce News

United Way Providing Opportunities For TRU Students

Here in Kamloops, United Way is an important part of our community, helping to address critical issues facing kids, youth, seniors, and other vulnerable populations.  And with the recent explosion of wildfires, they have also stepped in to help fundraising efforts through the United for BC Wildfire Recovery fund.

But like many non-profits, United Way finds that getting enough staffing for their many initiatives can be challenging.  “In the non-profit world, there is always more work to do than people to do it,” says Katie Neustaeter, the Regional Director at United Way British Columbia TNC. 

That is why United Way has often recruited work-integrated learning (WIL) students from Thompson Rivers University (TRU) to help support United Way’s projects, programs, and operations.  We caught up with Katie recently to learn a bit more about her experience working with TRU work-integrated learning students.

What type of work-integrated programs do you recruit from?
Depending on the role or project we are looking to fill, we have recruited from a variety of TRU work-integrated learning programs including co-op and service learning. Recently, we have worked with Social Work and Human Service students as well as students in the Communications co-op program.

Photo Credit: United Way Thompson Nicola Cariboo

What types of roles do the students fill? 
We try to provide a broad scope of experience and development opportunities. In the past, we have had students help with workplace campaigns and campaign preparation, office administration, marketing and communications, event coordination, community impact support, and various other roles. There’s always a wide variety of meaningful work to be done at a charity!

What do you see as the benefits of working with students?
Their enthusiasm and energy are always a boost for our office. We find students to be bright, helpful, innovative, and a great source for fresh new ideas and ways of doing things. We are also pleased to provide the opportunity for students to understand and experience the significant value and calling of charitable work.

What tips do you have related to recruiting, onboarding, or working with students?
Know what you need from the position you want to fill and recruit appropriately. It’s important to have defined goals and outcomes around the work so that both the job and student are successful. I’d also emphasize the need to be patient: allow space for questions, get to know the strengths of your student, and be willing to alter tasks according to skills and capabilities demonstrated along the way.

If you’re interested in working with a TRU student, reach out to Jessi Guercio (jguercio@tru.ca), Employer Liaison Coordinator, at TRU and they would be happy to walk you through the first steps in exploring your options in bringing a TRU student onboard to your organization.

Contributing Author:

Katie Neustaeter 
Executive Director, 
United Way Thompson Nicola Cariboo

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