Amy Hutchinson – Global Affairs Canada Summer 2016

Position Title: Junior ATIP Analyst

Workplace: Global Affairs Canada; Corporate Secretariat; Access to Information and Privacy Protection Division (DCP)

NPSIA cluster: Conflict Analysis and Conflict Resolution

Position obtained through the Carleton co-op process?: Yes! I obtained this position through the co-op office at Carleton!

Undergrad school(s): Carleton University

Undergrad major(s): Double Major in Law & Legal Studies and History

How would you describe the dress code at your work?

Business Casual. My office is pretty relaxed when it comes to dress code, however there are other divisions at GAC where people dress more formally. It’s really something to figure out the first few days of work. From my experience – if you are worried – better to dress nice!

Are there many other NPSIAns at your workplace?

Yes, TONS! There was another NPSIAn working in my Division with me. Although we did not work directly together, we often saw each other. There are also many more NPSIAns working at GAC.

How many jobs did you apply to this summer?

I applied to about 12 different jobs through co-op. I had two interviews for different jobs before I was offered this job. For some people it can be a fast experience, others have to apply to a few more. Apply for what you are interested in… you will get something! Don’t worry.

What is your favourite part about your job?

My favourite part about my job i the diversity I have in my job. My job entails reviewing documentation created by GAC or relevant to international affairs and determining whether it can be released to the public. I work on a very unique portfolio that allows me to work in areas such as human rights, international security and intelligence.

I am incredibly fortunate to work with some amazing people. I have a Supervisor who is very helpful and very patient when it comes to learning. I am in a very large Division, meaning that there are many people that I can talk to and learn from.

What is the most challenging part of your job?

The most challenging part of the job is interpreting the Access to Information Act. There are many different approaches to understanding this piece of legislation. There is a fine balance to transparency and the protection of information to ensure the proper functioning of government. The hardest part is finding that balance on many different types of documents and types. It is a learning process that cannot be completed in 4 months.

What is an average day like for you?

It starts early and ends late, its crazy but I love it.

Is your workplace fully bilingual, or does it favour English over French (or vice versa)?

My workplace is bilingual. During my co-op I was not fully bilingual, however this never impaired my ability to work or understand what was going on. French was spoken quite often at meetings, however, if anything it helped me improve.

Are you also taking classes (NPSIA, language training, etc.) and/or studying abroad this summer?

Yes, I took a condensed summer course. It was six hours a week in the evenings for the months of May and June. Although it was a lot of work for the first two months, it is totally worth it to complete another course and be done by mid-June.

What sort of work experience did you have before this position?

I had worked for the federal government before, however not in a position relevant to this job. I had studied the theory behind transparency and democracy in the Canadian government during my undergrad. It was great to see the practical side of something that I had previously studied. The best part about co-op is that you do not NEED to have related work experience. Your supervisors are expecting to teach you. I asked a lot of questions and felt that I learned so much about this particular area and the functioning of government.

What are your hours like?

I choose to work 7:30-3:30. I can work whenever I want as long as I work for 7.5 hours a day. There are days when I come in at 6am and then am done work by 2:00. As long as you clear it with your supervisor, most in my Division do not care when you work.

What is some advice you’d give to a student hoping to get hired/intern at your workplace?

Be open to learning. My division is not something you learn in a classroom. It is legislation based and the process is something that has to be learned. In order to get hired, I would strongly recommend that someone become familiar with the ATIP process and understand the spirit of the Access to Information Act. It is a really unique way to view policy and the work that happens at GAC. Understand how the ATIP process fits into the larger GAC mandate. For this position, it would also be helpful to relate some of the skills we have learned at NPSIA to what you think this job might require.

Anything else to add?

Co-op is an amazing opportunity. Take advantage of it! Ask lots of questions and work really hard! The one thing I found that benefited me the most was working hard. I impressed my Supervisor and was asked to stay working there.

During the interview process, you will find it is a lot of work. Although it might seem like a stressful process, you will get a co-op position because NPSIA has prepared you well. Take the time and get your resume and cover letter perfected – make an appointment with the Co-op Office and have them review it. Ask questions at the end. Try to make that personal connection with your interviewers. If you don’t get the first job you applied to, don’t worry – there will be lots more show up throughout the semester.

Overall, use this opportunity to learn. Try to develop transferrable skills that can help you elsewhere. If someone is looking for someone to take on a task – DO IT! Learn lots and it will benefit you in the future!