Sanari Wickramaratne is currently a Life Science undergraduate student at McMaster University. She spent her summer as a co-op student at TELUS Digital in the Toronto Office. Below, she shares her first-hand experiences of working in tech.
Being one of two recipients of the TELUS Health Scholarship, I was thrilled to hear about an open co-op opportunity at TELUS Digital.
From the moment I was offered the position as a co-op within the People Experience team, I was excited to gain hands-on experience and learn more about what it is like working in tech. Through my co-op experience, I was able to explore diverse career pathways and gain a true understanding of all the working parts that collectively aided in the operation of TELUS as a whole.
Walking into the TELUS Digital office, I did not know what to expect. What I observed was an interactive environment with colourful, collaborative spaces, and team members from various ‘squads’ engaged in synergetic discussions. The workspace was a definitive reflection of an agile, tech startup atmosphere. What was noteworthy was all the approachable people around me who were always open to answer my questions, give advice and provide support. The smooth onboarding process allowed for an effortless integration into the unique team culture.
As part of this onboarding program, all the new hires at TELUS Digital get to meet the Chief Digital Officer of TELUS, Shawn Mandel. I asked him how he would optimize his time at TELUS Digital if he were a co-op student. His advice was to work in the areas of interest, find people that I aspired to be and pick their brains (and of course network like crazy!). Taking his advice to mind, I was able to gain insight into how to navigate my time as a co-op and truly enhance my experience.
From day one, I felt like I was adding value to the company. I was involved in a research project to help determine best practices for diversity and inclusion with regards to onboarding and recruitment. From the data I gathered, I was able to present my findings to the People Experience team, communicate my recommendations and drive change and strategy within the Digital team. It was very rewarding to be able to add value and push forward my ideas into something useful. I was genuinely intrigued by the work I was doing daily and the atmosphere I was surrounded by, which had me excited to come to work every day.
One of the many important lessons I will take away from my experience is to fail fast and learn faster; to be able to take quick, calculated risks and learn quickly from the failures encountered. In addition, I learned to work productively in a highly interactive and agile environment. Walking into my second year at McMaster University, I am able to continue my studies with a new skill set and a wider understanding of business operations. Walking out of this co-op, I will never forget how welcoming the work environment was, how dedicated my team members were to my personal development and how they strived to support me in the best possible way. Working at TELUS Digital has given me the confidence to pursue a career path I have always been interested in and I am excited for what’s to come.
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TELUS Health offers two $2,000 scholarships each year for students entering their first year of post-secondary education in the field of health informatics, clinical studies and/or health administration.