Free will and First impressions

When I was first told I would be doing my practicum placement (internship) at Regina Work Prep, I had never heard of the place. I was filled with apprehension at the idea of working at a place that I knew nothing about. My first google search didn’t tell me much and I arrived for my interview feeling… well… grumpy. Even though people say that “an interview is for both parties to make a decision”, we all know the feeling that an interview brings and it’s not particularly one of free will.

Everything about my attitude changed after my first visit to the office. I was greeted with a smile and had a chance to sit down and get my bearings before my interview. My interview was with Ashley (Executive Director) and Kathy (Program Manager) and their enthusiasm for the work that their team does make me want to jump on board immediately. I could tell that they cared about their clients, employees, community, and me; even though they didn’t know me yet. My overall first impression of Work Prep was that it was a place of positivity and teamwork. Needless to say, I decided to come back.

As I went through my practicum, we talked a lot about first impressions of our office space. The organizational self-awareness that the Work Prep team strives to have is what makes them the kind of place that people want to come back to. While services are open to the public, some clients are sent to Work Prep by other means. Often, the free will of the potential client’s situation is taken away. The team strives to give free will back to their clients at every opportunity. Without collaboration and the sharing of ideas, no plan is moved forward. This level of respect is offered as a first impression and remains consistent over the course of engaging in services.

To engage with people so that they want to come back to a sometimes-mandated service requires specific skills that the Work Prep team is quick to share. This is not just a place to find a job, it’s a place to find opportunities that will enhance your employability for years to come. The options are almost endless when it comes to deciding what services will look like for you. You will be asked to ask yourself what it is that you need to reach your goals.

Looking for a job is hard and looking for a job on your own is even harder. At Work Prep, clients will find allies who will stand by them, regardless of how long the process takes. The method is never to drag someone through plans made by a so-called “expert” but rather to come alongside each other and exchange ideas and knowledge. The staff are experienced on both a professional and personal level, many of them having come full circle from being previous clients of Work Prep themselves! They understand the struggle and work to understand each individual client’s unique position and goals.

As a practicum student, I got to see Work Prep through many different lenses. I had a chance to be an outsider with ideas fresh out of school, I was looking for a paying job myself and thus got the help of the best team around, and I was treated as an equal team member on projects and in meetings. I also spent a lot of time out in the community, networking with other agencies. I learned about their services, and they also provided insight as to how they see their work connecting with Regina Work Prep. It was beyond interesting to see the different ways that we can work together to move ourselves forward.  I can truly say that from every angle, Work Prep has a great team who are just waiting to share their knowledge and support. My life has been forever changed by their connections and teachings. I hope that yours can be too.

By Laura, Internship Student, UofR