Friday, April 23, 2010

A 46-point plan

Help! I'm drowning in red tape!

Or I would be, if I were a student applying for a summer job with Canada's federal government.

First, there's the acronym FSWEP.

That's the Federal Student Work Experience Program. Rolls off the tongue, doesn't it?

Then there's the helpful guide for university student applicants published by Parks Canada. The opportunities in this department sound exciting, and I'm sure they will be well paid.

But a 46-point guide?

My favourite point is 45: "YOU'RE FINISHED!"

That's a snare and a delusion. There is indeed a Number 46. It refers you back to the beginning of the process.

Check it out.

Parks Canada
Riding Mountain National Park of Canada

Guide for university student applicants.
Applying for employment at Riding Mountain National Park through the Federal Student Work Experience Program (FSWEP).

1. Go online to
2. Click on “English”.
3. Click on “Students” on the left hand side.
4. Click on “Federal Student Work Experience Program (FSWEP)”, the second bullet point.
5. Click on “Apply on-line”, the fifth bullet point.
6. Click on “FSWEP Campaign 2009-2010”
7. Scroll down to the bottom of the page and click on “Apply Online”.
8. You are now on a page called “Login to your File”. Since you haven’t got one, click on “Create Account”.
9. Fill in the personal information requested. (The PRI is for internal usage; you can leave it blank.)
10. Scroll down to the bottom of the page and click on “Continue”.
11. Fill in your home address information. To be screened in for Riding Mountain National Park indicate that your Area of Residence is in “Central & Northern Manitoba”.
12. At the bottom of the page, click on “Continue”.
13. Fill in your work address or other address information. If you don’t have a secondary address, leave everything blank.
14. At the bottom of the page, click on “Continue”.
15. Select a password and a security question and click on “Continue”.
16. Write down your Applicant Number and password (it will allow you to access your file again at a later date) then click on “Continue”.
17. Select “I confirm” and click on “Continue”.
18. Click on “View My Jobs File”.
19. Scroll down to the bottom of the page and you’ll see your My Jobs file. You’ll have to complete all sections marked by a red X before submitting.
20. To do that, start by clicking on “FSWEP Criteria”.
21. Answer the questions on that page and click on “Save”. Complete both dates, when you will be available for full time work and when available for part time work.Note that many of our jobs will have a “part time” component to them either at the beginning of the term or at the end. We strongly encourage you to select a date for which you will be available for part time work or your application will be screened out of our job searches which have a part time component to them.
22. Click on “Résumé”.
23. Copy your résumé and paste it into the box provided. (Don’t worry too much about the formatting; the content is what we need to see.)
24. Click on “Save”.
25. Click on “Work Location”.
26. Select “Manitoba” and click on “Continue”.
27. Select the areas of work in Manitoba that you’d be interested in. Riding Mountain National Park is listed as such
28. Click on “Save and Continue”.
29. Click on “Back”. This will bring you back to your My Jobs file.
30. Click on “Education”.
31. Select your highest level of education, whether you’ve completed it or not. (Ex. If you are currently finishing your first year of university, click on “University”.)
32. Click on “Add”.
33. Fill in the information requested. Under “Academic Level”, select “University Credits” if you are in university but do not yet have a degree.
34. At the bottom of the page, click on “Continue”.
35. Select your Specialization Groups and click on “Continue”.
36. You are now on a long page of specialisations. Don’t be intimidated! Just pick (at most) four specializations that match your strengths. If you pick more than four, the system will ask you to get rid of some until you have only four. Please note that we do not screen by Specialization when selecting candidates.
37. Click on “Save”.
38. Click on “Back”. This will bring you back to your My Jobs file.
39. Click on “Languages”.
40. Fill in the requested information about your language proficiency. Click on “Save”.
41. Your file is now complete! IF YOU CHOOSE, you can complete the final three sections, “Employment Equity”, “Skills” and “Departmental Programs”.
42. If you do not want to complete these extra sections (or, after you are done with them), click on “Submit Application”. This is very important! Nobody will ever see your application unless you click on “Submit Application”!
43. Click on “I Agree”.
44. Click on “Continue”.
45. YOU’RE FINISHED! If you would like to review your file, you can click on “View”.
46. You can always access your file and make changes by using your username and password, selected at the beginning of the process.


  1. That seems like a nightmare. My dad emailed me a news release about the STEP program that encouraged students to apply, but my experience applying for the STEP program has been confusing, to say the least. If the government wanted students to apply for jobs, they'd make the form easier, and allow students to select specific job openings they were interested in having their applications forwarded to, instead of waiting for the government computers to match them up with a job.

    I worked a Green Team job four summers ago that I ended up loving, but my phone call for an interview came out of the blue, and a friend of mine didn't receive her call for a "summer" job until mid-July.

  2. I applied for the STEP program in January and got a call in June regarding a summer job. I had to ask the lady "sorry, what's this for again?" because I had forgotten I registered in STEP! Yeesh!