When Brittany Lester signed up to attend the ZOOM Career Day on Arts and Culture, she was skeptical. Lester’s art teacher at Sir John A. MacDonald Secondary School recommended Brittany participate in the day as she had already taken every art class available. She was doubtful that she would learn something new. But Lester walked away from the day with not only a new perspective on careers but also a co-op placement.

“It was a really eye opening experience,” said Lester. “There were so many career options in arts and culture I didn’t know about. You might think one thing going in, but there are so many careers.”

Lester was particularly taken with the “Arts and Culture Speed Dating” session of the day, where students had the chance to speak to five different people who had a career in arts and culture.  It was in this session she met Hilary Gauld-Camilleri owner of One for the Wall Photography. “After meeting her, I asked her if she would ever take a co-op student and she said yes. I started the next term” said Lester. “I learned a lot from Hilary – every day was different. I think everyone should do co-op because you are thrown right into a real job. You see real life experiences and learn about having a job.”

Lester got more than real work experience, “I still have a relationship with Hilary and look to her as one of my mentors. I look forward to staying in contact with her.”

This experience was also beneficial for Gauld-Camilleri, “I believe one of the greatest contributions I can make to a community that has been so supportive of my business is to give back to the very people that will be leading this community tomorrow,” She said. “I love the energy and passion that our youth possess and I think it’s important to help guide and support them as they make decisions that will impact their future career. As a result of my experience with Brittany, I have taken two more co-op students this term.”

After her co-op with Gauld-Camilleri, Lester accompanied her the following year to help out with One for the Wall’s workshop during the ZOOM Career Day.

The next ZOOM Career Day is on March 26 and is for students with a Health & Wellness SHSM. The Business & Education Partnership hopes to see more students flourishing from these days and leading the workshops of the future.