News Release Archive

Helping others is often times the best way to help yourself.
Kara-Leigh Burke of River Bourgeois in Cape Breton is proving
that this summer. She is gaining valuable work experience while
helping clients in the Strait Richmond area. 

Ms. Burke, a 19-year-old Dalhousie University psychology 
student, is employed for the summer as an activity support worker
with Drug Dependency Services at Strait Richmond Hospital.

She landed her ideal job by tapping into the Student Loan
Employment Program, a Nova Scotia Economic Development and
Tourism initiative. The program is available for undergraduate
students who receive a student loan in the current academic year
and who plan on returning to school full-time. 

Under the Student Loan Employment Program, students apply by
mid-February to Economic Development and Tourism and, once
approved, must find an employer who will provide job experience
related to their field of study. The unique element to the
program is that at least 60 per cent of the students' pay is held
back and applied toward their tuition in the fall. 

"I think the program as a whole is great," said Ms. Burke. "I
don't have to worry about spending money."

Everett Harris, unit manager, said he was glad Ms. Burke
approached him for summer employment. "We were really happy that
she popped up, and I think the program is giving her a lot of
confidence in her pursuit of a job."

Ms. Burke feels that working in a hospital setting will give her
the experience she needs for her future. "A few of my friends
worked here before and they said they enjoyed it, and they
learned a lot. A few of them even went on to get their degree in

Within Drug Dependency Services, Burke has the opportunity to sit
and talk with clients, conduct drug awareness sessions at
schools, and gain an understanding of the components of

"She's getting a very elementary sense of the elements of
counselling, in that you have to behave in an ethical manner, and
you have to understand the basics of the people you are trying to
help," said Mr. Harris. "She has a steadiness, a maturity about
her, that gives her confidence."

Mr. Burke attributes this confidence to having been involved in
cadets and peer education when she was in high school. "I think
peer education was a good help in getting on here," she said.
"And cadets has taught me discipline."

Mr. Harris said these experiences help students get good jobs,
that no matter what career a student plans to pursue, working
within Drug Dependency Services is helpful to all. "We feel that
anybody in any career these days is going to run into people with
chemical dependency problems or gambling problems," he said. "We
feel we have something to offer students as a real-life

Mr. Burke credits the program for allowing her to develop skills
without the worry of saving every paycheque. "Most of my income
will be there for me at the end of the summer," she said. "I told
all my friends about it (the program) and I'm going to try to get
it next year, if I can."

She said the program offers a great incentive for employers to
hire students, because they are basically getting a "free"
employee as wages are covered by Economic Development and
Tourism. Mr. Harris also added that the administrative relief, in
terms of paperwork, is a bonus.


Contact: Angela Campbell
         Economic Development and Tourism

NOTE TO EDITORS: Colour photos available upon request.

ngr                   August 27, 1997 - 10:40 am