From intern to employee: Hiring students after work placements

“Students are working on real projects here. Everything they do helps our company grow and expand.” –Desiree Stockermans, Ocean Sonics


Ocean Sonics Logo - Small

 Every student hopes to find a co-op placement or internship that leads to full-time, permanent work. For Pierre, this hope is his reality.

Pierre Almeida started his career taking the Advanced Diploma of International Business at NSCC. Students in the program complete a four month internship at the end of their diploma. 

Opportunity in the Oceans Industry

Despite the wide range of internships available, Pierre was drawn to the ocean technology sector. 

“I wanted to find work that was both international and that every company deals with. To me, the answer was simple: the ocean. I’m also a big fan of boats, 

marine life and conservation, so it seemed like the right fit,” says Pierre.

Pierre - smaller

Ocean Sonics, an ocean technology company that designs and manufacturers digital hydrophones, hired Pierre for his internship in 2015. After four months of working with the team, Pierre was hired on as a full-time employee. In his position of Sales and Marketing Coordinator, Pierre’s day-to-day work relates directly with his coursework at NSCC. 

“At Ocean Sonics, most of our sales come from outside of North America. I write stories and create advertising for international industry magazines. This role was a great transition from my program, because we learned a lot about international marketing,” says Pierre.

Pierre also coordinates logistics, such as shipping and receiving for Ocean Sonics’ clients worldwide. From his experience, making the switch from a temporary to a permanent employee is an easy transition.

“Moving from an internship to full-time, you already know where everything is and you already have your place within the company. You’re not starting from scratch, you’re just modifying and moving forward in your position,” says Pierre.

The Value of Hiring a Student

As advocates for hiring young, the Ocean Sonics team has mentored many co-op students over the years, particularly in the R&D side, including technologists and computer scientists. They’ve also started hiring interns from the NSCC international business program, which includes Pierre.

“Students bring a lot to an organization. They bring added dimensions of enthusiasm and excitement. They are able to fill in the gaps and pick up projects that may not otherwise get done,” says Desiree Stockermans, Director of Operations at Ocean Sonics.

Over the course of a placement, employers get to watch students grow and figure out where they belong. Desiree says that hiring a student full-time after an internship simply makes sense. 

 “After working with the student for four months, you get a feel for whether the student is the right fit in the organization. And this goes both ways. The student also gets to figure out if they enjoy working in that environment and which tasks they like and dislike. Working with Pierre, we were able to help him find his niche in ocean sector sales,” says Desiree.

But the benefits of placements go beyond professional development. Young people can add significant value and energy to any organization.

Ocean Sonics (Desiree & Pierre) - smaller

“Young people bring in new, fresh ideas to the table. Students are working on real projects here. Everything they do helps the company grow and expand,” says Desiree.

Ocean Sonics has also hired several international students over the years. 

“The personal and professional development you witness is amazing. You can see that they are improving, getting more confident, gaining more skills while also (hopefully) enjoying what they’re doing,” says Desiree.

Desiree emphasizes that having a student on board is an investment in the long run.

“You’re training someone to help you. After you help them, they quickly return the favour by getting things off your plate. As a small business owner, that’s valuable for the entire company,” says Desiree.

Over the past five years, 8 students have completed internships and co-op placements with Ocean Sonics.


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