Don Dickson speaks fondly about his time as a co-op student with Nova Communications. At the tender age of 50, Dickson had just finished a two year electronics course at the Nova Scotia Community College (NSCC), and was looking for experience in the wireless communications industry.
He found an opportunity with Nova Communications, and fifteen years later, Dickson is working at the company’s Sydney branch where he services the wireless communication needs of the Cape Breton Municipality.
He’s just one of a handful of current Nova Communications employees who began as co-op students.
“The students get hands-on experience with new gear and really understand how to meet customer expectations,” says Dickson about the co-op fellowship between Nova Communications and NSCC.
“This experience will go a long way in helping them in their eventual job.”
The program provides students with the opportunity to work full-time alongside Nova Communications staff, whether in the field or in the office. Selection is based on a number of factors, including recommendations from current professors and past work experience.
Working with partners such as Motorola, GE-MDS and Alcatel-Lucent, students are given unprecedented access to the most advanced wireless communication solutions in the industry.
Some of the projects students have worked on include the Rural Broadband Project, which provided wireless broadband to all rural areas of Nova Scotia, and the Metro Transit Bus system project. The latter saw public buses outfitted with wireless security communication equipment for the 2011 Canada Winter Games.
In 2008, Nova Communications entered into an official partnership with the NSCC Campus in Pictou, Nova Scotia, to mentor at least one student each year at its Dartmouth location.
The program has also grown outside the wireless communications field to include marketing and business students.