“The Diversity Internship program allowed me to put into practice what I had learned in school,” says Wuwu Ugbeye, a Human Resources (HR) Advisor with Strategic Initiatives who will soon be taking up a new role with the Operations and Real Estate Partnerships (OREP) Divisional HR Office. “I was relatively new to Canada at the time and the program gave me a platform to learn more about the various facets of HR, while getting practical experience. It was important to me to work in a supportive, diverse environment, which is what I found at U of T.”
Wuwu was the successful candidate—among 846 applicants—when the Diversity Internship Program launched in 2016. She credits this internship experience with giving her an excellent introduction to her chosen career.
That is exactly what the internship is intended to do. Offering a one-year paid position for recent HR graduates who self-identify as Black, Indigenous, Racialized, and persons with disabilities, the program is carefully designed to be both educational and practical, giving incumbents a better understanding of the role of HR at the University, and more broadly in the public sector. In doing so, it aims to jump-start the careers of those who are underrepresented and often face systemic inequities.
Divisional HR Offices can apply to host a partially-funded one-year placement. Interns are hired on a term contract into a non-unionized staff position, and receive full benefits and a salary that is equivalent to similar entry-level positions at U of T. These individuals are also able to take full advantage of the University’s professional development courses and programs offered by the Centre for Learning, Leadership & Culture (LLC).
Internships, especially those that advance equity, diversity, and inclusion, are an integral part of the Division of HR & Equity’s commitment to creating a culture of belonging at U of T. Indeed, the Diversity Internship was one of many initiatives highlighted by the selection committee when, in March of this year, the University of Toronto was once again named one of Canada’s Best Diversity Employers.
All the interns to come through the Diversity Internship program since 2016 are still with the University. Some work in Divisional HR Offices, some in the Division of HR & Equity. Anita Chooraman came through the program in 2017 and is now an HR Advisor in Central Administration HR Services (CAHRS). “I wholeheartedly encourage eligible candidates to apply in future years,” she says. “The time I spent as an HR Assistant was extremely formative and set me up for what I hope will be a successful and fulfilling career. My colleagues and supervisors provided invaluable guidance, and I have been able to directly apply the work experience I gained in each of my subsequent roles.”
The recruitment process for the 2021 program is ongoing and a new intern will soon be joining Integrated HR (iHR) as an HR Assistant. If you would like to read more about the Division of HR & Equity’s work on equity, diversity, and inclusion, please visit our website.