First work term student excels in person in Winter 2021

Wednesday, August 11, 2021
 Vanessa Vanpopic on her work term at Toyota meeting with two of her colleagues

By: Namish Modi

Vanessa Vanpopic, a second-year Arts and Business student (Sociology) worked in-person for her first work term at Toyota Motor Manufacturing Company (TMMC) from January to April 2021.

Vanpopic says very strong public health safety protocols were developed and implemented in response to the pandemic, making her experience as an analyst in policy development and performance management a fantastic one.

Vanessa Vanpopic wearing a mask sitting at her desk at Toyota“When I come to work, I feel safe,” says Vanpopic, during her last week at TMMC in April.

As part of the term, Vanpopic worked on several projects which helped improve human resource processes. This included cost improvements for mailing processes and creating learning resources. Since her work term was mostly in person, it allowed her to tour the manufacturing shop
and process hard copy paperwork, which wouldn't be possible in a remote environment.

These learning resources help employees navigate remote work tools such as Teams.

According to Adam Pearson (BSc ’07), assistant manager of HR at TMMC, Vanpopic’s projects are
important as they help build trust internally. Vanpopic also presented some of her work to the entire department, which she describes as a challenging but fulfilling assignment.

Vanpopic says the work term allowed her to problem-solve more effectively as well as incorporate feedback into her work.

“I never felt like I was just an intern during my co-op term. I learned that, if you have an idea, a suggestion or some sort of feedback, express that opinion, because your opinion is unique, and your perspective is valuable.”

- Vanessa Vanpopic, Arts and Business co-op student

Perseverance is an additional skill the organization is looking for, according to Pearson.

“We do go through a lot of review cycles with our projects,” Pearson adds. “Somebody coming in knowing that it’s going to take a while to get to the end result, but willing to put in the work; they’ll always be successful.”

Pearson says he tries to help students determine what their work term will look like and allows them to express what they’d like to learn, and how they would like to develop.