Meet Emiliano.

Emiliano Laing is a 3rd Year Justice Studies student (emphasis in Police Foundations) at the University of Guelph-Humber and is a very active member of the community. He currently serves part-time with the Canadian Armed Forces, works as a computer support assistant at the university, and volunteers. Despite his parents both being from an IT background, Emiliano has his heart set on policing.

His passion for the administration of justice led him to choose UofGH. He recalls being drawn to the fact that the university employed both past and current professionals from the field such as police officers, lawyers as well as probation and parole officers. Some other positives were the small class sizes, as well as having the opportunity to complete two field placements.

Laing believes that the real-world experience shared by these professionals and the experiences gathered through placements would translate into invaluable knowledge.

Emiliano Laing in his current volunteer role with the organization, speaking to youth about youth leadership at the Youth Crime Prevention Academy
Laing in his current volunteer role speaking to youth about youth leadership at the Youth Crime Prevention Academy

Laing’s insight proved true when he secured a placement as the program development placement student at the Community Safety Village of York Region, York Regional Police.

Here’s what he had to say about his internship experience!

How did you feel when your search for an internship started?

“I was very excited. It was one of my main motivations [for choosing] UofGH, but like every other student,[I felt] nervous.”

“Placements are competitive because we aren’t only competing with students from UofGH, but all post-secondary institutions across the GTA. I knew [it] would be an invaluable opportunity to brush up on my networking, resume, and interview skills. By learning from my mistakes when applying to placements, I would be better positioned to be successful when applying for employment after graduation.”

When did you start applying for internships? When do you recommend other students start?

“Months before the placement search process began. This allowed me to float the idea of working as a placement student before employers became inundated with tens of emails from other students. If you have contacts in the field you want to work with, I’d suggest having a casual conversation with them months before the formal placement application process begins. It makes them aware of your interest, and they can reach out to you with any placement opportunities their employer may have.”

“Having started earlier than the rest, I managed to secure a placement well in advance of the deadline, with an employer I liked and a position which I knew I would enjoy working in. This helped minimize the stress.”

Emiliano at his current placement with the Community Safety Village
Laing at his current placement with the Community Safety Village

How did you prepare for coffee chats and networking?

“I was lucky to have the opportunity for several coffee chats. I prepared for them by doing my research on the work they did online and tried to minimize the time used to ask questions that I could find answers to online [and instead] crafted unique questions to take advantage of the opportunity.”

Any tips for cracking an internship interview?

“Practice, practice, practice. Public speaking is one of my weaknesses and interviews tend to make me nervous. “

“I spoke with past students who worked in the role. I developed questions that could be asked and pre-prepared my answers, relating my skills back to my experiences. For those of you applying to any policing-related placements, they also heavily value your knowledge of the organization, the population they serve, and the organizational values!”

Any words of wisdom for people trying to secure an internship?

“Go in with an open mind. You may have your mind set on doing a particular placement, but you may end up working in a completely different role.”

“In my case, I was hoping to gain experience in the policing field. However, it is difficult to find a “uniformed” placement role where you are doing “traditional policing” tasks. I discovered a youth engagement role with a police service. Thanks to this experience, I found out that I have a passion for teaching youth. This has led to me returning to the organization to volunteer with cadets and volunteer with leadership camps they run during the summer. Although my heart is still set on policing, going into teaching is a different path I am now considering.”

Emiliano with his placement team and other post-secondary students
Laing with his placement team and other post-secondary students

Laing ‘s passion and hard work paid off when he was one of the 13 students recognized for IGNITE’S Glow scholarship. He says that being a recipient of the scholarship was an invaluable support. It allowed him to stay committed to his future without having to worry as much about paying the bills.

We hope Laing ‘s story aids you in your internship search and while you are at it, keep an eye out for more information about IGNITE’s Glow scholarship opening Tuesday, March 1!

*This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

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