STUDENT EXPERIENCE in the Public Policy Field Placement
"My placement with the Accessible Housing Network helped me to see the ableism inherent in the construction of our communities. Their goal of mandating universal design for new housing projects is something that I have come to see as necessary for building a more just and inclusive society. The dedication and passion of those I worked with at AHN was inspiring and they taught me the value of inter-organizational coordination in areas of public policy."
“I had the pleasure of working with MPP Dave Smith through the Policy Placement course in 2022. During my time within his office, I was able to travel to Toronto to visit the Legislative Building of Ontario, gain practical experience in policy and make real-life connections to my field that will transcend my university career. I went into this position looking to challenge my preconceived notions of political parties and policy work and was able to accomplish both goals. I met people whom I never would’ve had the opportunity to understand or work with prior to this course. Through these relationships, I now have references and friendships that I can translate into career connections. I also got to contribute to policy decisions within the Peterborough community, specifically working on the mental health and opioid crisis throughout the county. This was a project I was passionate about and had the privilege of working on. Through the placement, I was able to work firsthand with MPP Smith, and individuals within the community, enhance my written communication and work on press releases for the office. It was a wonderful experience and I recommend the course to every and everyone!”
"The Public Policy Field Placement is important for one reason. It allows you to put theory into practice. Discussing, debating and examining theory is all well and good, but that is all you really do in most classes, talk about ideas as opposed to apply them in the real world. The Field Placement is a chance to actually go out into the world and do something with what you know. I learned all about the policy process in my various classes. But thanks to the Field Placement I actually got to participate in it, gathering information, and creating media materials, including published news releases that impacted how a policy was being developed. And although it doesn't seem like much, an ounce of action is worth a ton of theory."
“Trent’s Field Placement course was an invaluable opportunity for me to put my knowledge to practical use, which is something that I felt I was missing. This course opened my eyes to the different directions that sociology and policy can take me, as I was able to explore a variety of placement opportunities before deciding on Kawartha Lakes Food Source. Throughout the semester, I worked on designing a curriculum on food security for the school board, as well as occasional assignments for the course. There was a good balance between my placement and course work, which allowed me to develop and strengthen different skills that will greatly benefit me as I pursue a Master’s in Policy.”
“This experience has taught me so much about the reality of working in municipal politics and expanded my network within Peterborough in a way that no other course has… [The] course will help you start a career in politics and better understand the type of work you can do with a Political Studies degree.”
Katrina – From Trent News, June 28, 2021 [hyperlink to: https://www.trentu.ca/news/story/30453 ]
“I was able to ask questions directly to the MPP, learn about what is required within this career, and test my research and analytical skills in a ‘real world’ environment… I would highly recommend anyone interested in taking a placement course, to jump on it. This amazing experience gives students the chance to propel their career ahead of schedule.”
Aidan – From Trent News, June 28, 2021 [hyperlink to: https://www.trentu.ca/news/story/30453]
“It’s been really exciting to work side-by-side with Mayor Therrien and watch the [youth engagement] project come to fruition. It has been rewarding… This course is an investment into the future. I hope more people take advantage of the program.”
Ruth – From Trent News, June 28, 2021 [hyperlink to: https://www.trentu.ca/news/story/30453]
“The placement was a wonderful experience for my professional development. I worked at Kawartha-Haliburton Children's Aid Society, where I had the opportunity to learn about legislation and professional practices governing the sector. I worked on a project analyzing permanency outcomes for KHCAS clients – my work may translate into staffing changes to better support clients as well as a youth engagement process to better tailor internal policy and services to local needs. I have already highlighted writing and communications skills learned in my placement (e.g. press release, briefing note, etc) in applications and interviews for jobs. I would recommend this to any politics (or politics-adjacent) student if they want to learn relevant skills and make professional connections!”
“I cannot recommend the course enough. Placed with the City of Kawartha Lake’s Clerk’s Office, I was directly engaged within the by-law creation process while also supporting the community and its government in a variety of ways. Not every placement brings the same teachings and experiences. Some focus on an overarching major project, others focus on research, and some (like mine) focus on government support. Any of these would be an amazing opportunity. From the interview process, to the work and communications skills gained, the whole experience will help you grow as a person while better preparing you for the workforce. If you want a chance to bolster your resume while gaining skills and experiences that will stay with you for life, this is the course for you.”
“The political studies field placement was by far one of the highlights of my undergrad. The field placement allows you to apply all the skills and knowledge learned throughout your studies and work on real-life projects. In my placement During my time with the Kawartha Sexual Assault Centre, I worked on a paper on provincial and federal funding models for rape crisis centres, examining the different governments' approaches in response to cultural phenomena surrounding sexual and gender-based violence. My time with KSAC expanded my network and contacts, as well as offered future opportunities to work with the organization and stay involved. Overall, the field placement course provides practical experience with government and not-for-profit organizations that helps you to navigate potential career paths and develop skills useful for future employment opportunities.”
In the public policy field placement you’ll engage in practical writing – you’ll do the type of writing you can expect to do if you worked for a governmental or non-governmental organization in a policy-related job.
Here are a few recent contributions based on work completed during the public policy field placement.
News Releases – news releases by placement students contributed to these published stories:
Greg Davis, “Virtual Town Hall Meeting to Discuss Proposed Express Go Bus Line Between Peterborough and GTA,” Global News, February 11, 2022, https://globalnews.ca/news/8613759/virtual-town-hall-meeting-proposed-express-go-bus-peterborough-gta/
Policy Brief – written by a placement student:
“Fulfilling the Right to Accessible Housing in Canada,” March 20, 2022, https://mcusercontent.com/801c3848b0ba18fd79be28eaa/files/bf1fd3fb-9452-0c91-5268-3eec76eb3589/Vreugdenhil_Policy_Brief_Fulfilling_the_Right_to_Accessible_Housing_in_Canada_POST_4850H_Winter_2022_for_TCAS.pdf