Student in good standing
He’s engaging, intelligent and hard working. Just the kind of person an employer would want to hire. And yet, Ross Sandwell sat around earlier this summer with no work. Then he signed up with the Hire-A-Student program. He found a job.
For the past three weeks, Sandwell has been working for B K Woods and Water Supplies Ltd. The UNBC student is grateful for employment. It means he can continue studying History and Political Science in relative comfort.
“I have seven more courses to go for my degree. Student loans help with rent and food. And I’ve won some scholarships and bursaries. But I really needed to work since April.”
Businesses know that students are out there looking for summer jobs, said Sandwell, “but often they don’t want to hire them. They don’t want to hire someone who is going to leave after they spend time training them.”
Sandwell is grateful for his job.
“I do something different every day,” he said. “That makes it interesting. I do just about everything. I’ve learned to fix pumps, check out septic tanks and operate heavy equipment.”
While some employers may be hesitant about hiring students, the Prince George business community has been very supportive, said summer employment officer Matt Bassett.
The Student Employment Office recently exceeded its goal of 200 jobs through its Hire A Student program. “We have actually obtained 268 jobs for students. And there is still two weeks to go before we close it down,” said Bassett.
Sandwell admits he is not the typical student. For one thing he is now 33. And he plans on having three careers in his lifetime. He started his higher education later than most.
“I was 25-years-old and working to complete Grade 12.,” he said. When he completed that, he felt inspired to go on.
“Teaching is my forte. I’d like to teach at the college level. But I’d like to keep my options open. Maybe teach in Asia. During my time on earth, which I hope is at least another 40 years or more, I want to do three things. Be a politician, teach and go to law school – in no particular order.” Sandwell said the party woes and political scandals in B.C. do not deter him from wanting to enter the political arena. In fact, he wants to improve things.
“I’m an idealist. I know there is probably little that I can do to effect change. But if I run for office and participate, I may be able to make a difference in some small way. And I’d be pretty happy with that.” Sandwell had a small taste of politics in his role as a director with UNBC’s undergraduate student program.
He is driven by his own sense of achievement. He makes top grades. “I have a pretty good standing right now. But I can’t afford any less than an A- on my courses because I want to get into law school.”
Born and raised in Vancouver, Sandwell moved to Queen Charlotte Islands in the 1990’s where he worked as a fisherman for seven years. “It was there that I became interested in Aboriginal Affairs and learning to ask the right questions. There is a real bridge that needs to be gapped between people.”