Over the past five years, the Vancouver Aquarium Marine Science Centre has helped over 1,000 students from B.C. complete their work experience hours necessary for high school graduation through our Work Experience Program. This hands-on experience helps to prepare students for the workplace and give them a start on building those all-important career networks.
Since 2010 the program has grown from 150 students per year giving 8,500 hours of volunteer service to 277 students contributing 23,495 hours of volunteer service in 2014. This year we are on track to have our highest number of contributors yet with 190 students volunteering just this summer alone contributing approximately 80 hours each of volunteer service.
We’re fortunate to have so many passionate students in our Work Experience Program. We asked a few their favourite part about volunteering here at the Vancouver Aquarium:
Geoffrey Lau, Burnaby Mountain Secondary School: Interpretive Delivery
“It’s been really fun and exciting being able to work in the exhibits and behind-the-scenes. Everyone at the Vancouver Aquarium has been so welcoming and the visitors are a pleasure to chat with. One of the most rewarding things about volunteering at the Aquarium is being able to help educate kids about marine life. It’s great to see the smile on their face when you tell them a cool fact or when they walk away with their fun new face painting.”
Cassie Gales, David Thompson Secondary School: Interpretive Delivery
“It has been a pleasure volunteering at the Vancouver Aquarium and being able to talk to people from different parts of the world, as well as teach other young people about the unique creatures in our waters. I came into the Aquarium placement a bit afraid that I wouldn’t fit in with the group, but we’ve all bonded through the time we have spent volunteering together. Volunteering at the Aquarium was an amazing experience and I would love to do this again!”
Akemi Gallagher, Customer Service Lead:
Akemi started her career at the Aquarium with the Work Experience Program, and today is a full-time employee. “I grew up with fond memories of visiting the Vancouver Aquarium as a child. In 2011 I was thrilled to be offered a Work Experience placement in the visitor experience department,” said Akemi. “As a high school student with no previous job experience, being part of this program was the perfect opportunity for me to learn skills in customer service, professionalism, and working in a team. I decided to apply for a job as a customer service ambassador a few years later and I am incredibly lucky to be working here today. My work experience placement has influenced my life in a fantastic way and I would strongly encourage any high school student to apply!”
Nathan Soloman, Carson Graham Secondary School, Visitor Experience Gallery Assistant:
“I’ve really enjoyed participating in the Aquarium’s Work Experience Program this summer. It’s a great way to learn, while having lots of fun and meeting new people. I wanted to take part in the program because I really like the Aquarium and wanted to let people know some cool and interesting facts about these aquatic creatures.”