Co-op | Research Assistant

Durrani on co-op in Alberta

by Hamid Durrani

In summer of 2018, I had the opportunity to work with the government of Alberta as a co-op student. I was a Research Assistant at the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade (EDT) in the Division of Economic Development (ED), at the Industry Development Branch (IDB). IDB focuses on the development and implementation arm of the Alberta government’s industrial growth strategies. It emphasizes on targeted investment attraction, and serves to facilitate industrial business development, diversification, productivity and innovation within the province. Over the course of the co-op placement, I was able to familiarize myself with the policies surrounding the above issues through various responsibilities assigned to me, such as writing briefing notes, providing analysis and research on policies, and organizing seminars.

One of the major assignments during my placement was to provide research, analysis and secretariat support on a $3.1 billion project in the Petrochemicals Diversification Program (PDP), Petrochemicals Feedstock Infrastructure Program (PFIP) and Partial Upgrading Program (PUP) designed to diversify Alberta’s petrochemical sectors. During this period, I played a crucial role in providing analytical and research support to the secretariat committee in assessing applications, and providing coherent recommendations on a potential course of action for the evaluation committee members. For this project I not only provided research and policy analysis during the proponents’ evaluation process, but also for the after-care plan where we focused on the Royalty announcements and future opportunities.

This co-op opportunity allowed me to polish on my current abilities and skills and challenged my abilities to learn new skills in communication, research, analysis, and excel. It also taught me how to contributed to an urgent and large-scale policy items such as $2.1 billion PDP and PFIP projects for government while providing carefully balanced and sound analysis and recommendations to ensure successful executions of policies. Furthermore, it also provided me an opportunity to ‘collide’ with colleagues from across the government of Alberta and work together on complex, larch-scale, and important policy items.

I believe this co-op added new experiences to my list of skills that will continue to aid me for my future career whether academic or professional. I owe this to the University of Waterloo for creating such an opportunity for its students.