Community at Lakeland: The Student’s Perspective

May 23, 2024

Written by Paige Robertson

Here at Lakeland, we’re always looking to grow our community, our services, and our team. This is why Lakeland has been providing co-op and internship opportunities to students studying locally for years, providing grassroots learning positions to our surrounding colleges and universities as well as to youth in our districts’ high schools. We’ve had the exciting opportunity to invite nine student interns/co-op students onto our team this summer, and writing this as one of these students myself, I’m happy to share some insights from some new members of our team!

We’ll offer you a glimpse into the backgrounds, aspirations, and first impressions of three of our new hires, hopefully shedding a personal light on what its like to settle into our company driven to harbour and connect communities.

Meet Hengis! – Human Relations Co-op Student

Headshot of Hengis

After earning her degree in India in business administration majoring in HR, Hengis transitioned to studying at Georgian College where she was able to apply to Lakeland as our Human Resources Co-op student. She remarks that this opportunity is like her dream job, and she is excited to pursue it.

As an HR student, she’s begun working on design projects within our Health and Safety Board, is updating policies, and has been helping to promote a positive work environment amongst the team. When I asked if she’s encountered any surprises or challenges in her first week, Hengis replied that she really hasn’t, as the team and her supervisor Taylor have been incredibly nice to her and have helped tremendously with easing into the position, allowing her to feel comfortable in both workload and community. While she was nervous on her first day, she said that Lakeland’s positive environment really aided in her transition, joking that this is her first experience in HR where everyone is nice to one another as well as to other employees. She remarks on her experience site visiting with Taylor, and when asked what goals she has for her time here, Hengis comments that she would like to bring a positive reputation to the field of HR, much like the one she’s found here at Lakeland.  At Lakeland, the human resources department is called People and Culture.

Hengis working at her desk

Something you may not know about Hengis is that she describes herself as a very sensitive and nervous person, meaning that in new settings she can take a while to get used to things. However, she says the environment here at Lakeland has helped relieve her of the pressure of having to get used to things quickly!

Hengis’ advice to future interns and co-op students applying to Lakeland is to “Go for it! Because people are nice here, they will help you out, and you won’t feel pressured with anything.”

Meet Amanda! – Technical Support Co-op Student

Headshot of Amanda

Commuting all the way from Barrie, Amanda is a student at Georgian College studying to be a computer systems technician, which is where she secured the opportunity to join the Lakeland Networks team as a Technical Support Centre Co-op student.

The Technical Support Centre position has Amanda doing help desk work, which means she’s picking up phone calls and helping people fix their internet issues, as well as helping troubleshoot customer phone and TV issues. She also comments on her provisioning and refurbishing work, keeping the customer database up to date and resetting products manually, respectively. Amanda has an affinity for small businesses and the cultures they create, which played a big role in choosing to accept her position here at Lakeland, where she states that everyone has been super supportive in helping her learn and get settled. Amanda reflects on how she’s never been in a workplace that is so open and friendly, mentioning that the community here is the most memorable part of her first week. She’s excited to get to gain experience in her field here at Lakeland, and her long-term goal is to be able to absorb as much knowledge as she can.

Amanda working at her desk

Something you may not know about Amanda is that she’s into coding as well as working on a game in her free time!

Amanda’s advice to future interns and co-op students applying to Lakeland is Don’t stress too much about the work. As long as you are willing to learn and ask questions you will succeed! The tech team here is always open to answering any questions you may have no matter how silly you think it is!’”

Meet Paige! – Marketing Student Intern

Paige Headshot

That’s me! I’ve just finished my second year at Queen’s University studying Earth System Sciences and have decided to blend my love for artistry and my passion for sustainability at Lakeland in the Marketing Student Internship position. Having grown up in Muskoka my whole life, I’m enthusiastic about the opportunity to make a real difference in my community.

Being in the Marketing position means I’ve been using my creative skills to design social media posts, have been applying my strengths in analysis to marketing analytics, and have been able to work with my supervisor, Jen, on projects in sustainability that mean a lot to me. My biggest surprise during my first week here at Lakeland was how prepared everyone is to help. My supervisors have been great at keeping me from getting overwhelmed with projects and have been providing amazing support and transparency with my expectations. To give a testament to the awesome sense of community I’ve felt here, I’ll tell you that yesterday we had about 15 people including myself who decided to meet for lunch outside, just to enjoy each other’s company on a sunny day. I hope I can make an impact here, whether it is simply through community, or on a grander scale such as positive marketing analytics or sustainability projects.

Paige working at her desk

Something you may not know about me is that I’m quite long-term goal oriented, meaning I’m looking forward to making a mark here, and hopefully creating lasting change for the betterment of Lakeland!

My advice to future interns and co-op students applying to Lakeland would be to accept your offer even if you think you’re not completely qualified or if the position doesn’t fit your interests. I was quite nervous walking into the office on my first day with little to no true marketing experience, however I’ve found that everyone here is there to help you learn and grow, and there are always ways to apply your interests to your job here!

It’s apparent how community influences Lakeland both internally and externally, and as us students continue our journey within the company, I’m sure that feeling will only grow stronger. So, here’s to new beginnings and lasting connections!