News Release Archive

Imagine a summer job where you test electronic games, gain
valuable work experience, and put money aside for tuition.
Twenty-year-old James Forrest is doing more than imagining this,
he's doing it.

Mr. Forrest, a second-year electronic technology student at the
University College of Cape Breton (UCCB), is working as an
assistant electronic technician at the Northside New Product
Development Centre in North Sydney. The centre is an initiative
of John Van Auken, president of Loravan Canada and inventor of
Accu-Call, an electronic line-calling system for tennis.

"I figured this would be the most interesting place to work,"
said Mr. Forrest. "Considering his (Van Auken's) background and
the ideas he has, I figured this would be the place to go."

Mr. Forrest landed his ideal summer job by tapping into the
Student Loan Employment Program, a Nova Scotia Economic
Development and Tourism initiative. This program is available to
undergraduates who receive a student loan in the current academic
year and who plan to return to school full-time.  

Under the program, it is the student's responsibility to apply to
Economic Development and Tourism for funding by mid-February.
Once approved, he or she finds an employer who will provide job
experience related to the student's field of study. The unique
element to the program is that at least 60 per cent of the
student's pay is held back and applied toward tuition in the

The not-for-profit Northside New Product Development Centre is
set up to help entrepreneurs with products that will create much
needed jobs in Cape Breton. Joyce Davidson, the centre's business
development manager, said having Mr. Forrest come to them opened
a door for the organization.

"We thought it was a great opportunity for him and for us," she
said. "Funding is getting harder and harder to get every day, so
we have to make use of some of these programs. Otherwise, when
you're not-for-profit, there are no other means of getting the
people in."

The centre is currently developing a prototype infrared hockey
practice net that sets off an alarm when a puck passes through a
specific area. Mr. Forrest is thankful for the experience he is
gaining in constructing electronic circuits and in working with
infrared technology.

"I didn't expect to be making electronic games but I like it;
it's fun," he said. "You get to test it, and if it breaks down
you have to fix it and figure out what the problem is."

Ms. Davidson said the training Mr. Forrest is receiving will
benefit him in the future. He will have an edge in the field as
he is being exposed to technology not yet taught in the
classroom. "He's learning things that are so new . . . because
it's all new product development," she said. "He'll have a good
chance of getting a job when he's ready."

Mr. Forrest said the Student Loan Employment Program also gave
him more control over summer job opportunities. "It's almost like
getting your own job. Instead of them calling you for an
interview, you call them," he said. "Plus, they don't have to pay
you. It's a great benefit."

Since wages are covered by Economic Development and Tourism, Ms.
Davidson said the program couldn't be easier for employers. "I
like the way this is set up."

Mr. Forrest has two more years to go at UCCB and, due to his work
at the centre, is confident he made the right career choice. "I'm
not sure what field I would like to get into, as long as I'm in
electronics," he said.


Contact: Angela Campbell
         Economic Development and Tourism

NOTE TO EDITORS: Colour photos available upon request.

ngr                    August 25, 1997 - 8:37 am