Student Spotlight – Brendan

I started working for the Durham Workforce Authority as a student in the summer of 2020. Having recently graduated from university with an undergraduate in Political Science, I was thrilled to work with a team researching and developing tools for the development of the workforce in Durham Region – particularly in this interesting time of the COVID-19 pandemic. I’ve always been interested in policy at all levels of government, and this job has given me a glimpse into the large-scale practical impact that government policy and decision-making has on the local community and economy.

For safety reasons, this summer, the DWA employees have all had to work from home. This has been a new and interesting experience that has shown me both the benefits and downfalls of a work-from-home environment. While this makes it difficult to maintain a community between colleagues, regular Zoom calls and staff meetings help alleviate that feeling of alienation that is unfortunately “part-and-parcel” of the global pandemic.

However, there are many upsides to a work from home environment, which includes the loss of commute, saved money and time, my home kitchen, and the comfort of being in my own environment. While the business world struggles to develop continuity plans and weigh the benefits and downfalls, it will be interesting to see the forthcoming impact on the workforce, particularly in a commuter area such as the Durham Region.

Working for the DWA has also allowed me to explore government policy from a local lens, and the innovative ways local entrepreneurs are taking to adapt to this new business environment. Seeing first-hand how the DWA has developed tools for the local economy, to me, really demonstrates their commitment to the Durham Region community, to employers, businesses, and the general workforce. I can say with certainty that it has been both a challenging and rewarding experience thus far.