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Jumpstarting your Career with the Government of Canada

Written by: Emily Thompson, Samantha Lancione, and Baies Haqani

So you’re interested in working for the federal government, but aren’t sure where to start? Let us break down some of the most common government employment contracts and provide you with the information to jump start your career in the public service. In this first of our series on employment, we take a brief look at employment for students through the Federal Student Work Experience Program.


What is it?

The Federal Student Work Experience Program (FSWEP) is a continuous recruitment program that provides full-time students with the opportunity to work full- or part-time within the public service throughout their studies.

Why apply?

Besides the fact that the compensation is very competitive, there are future benefits to getting an FSWEP position. Former FSWEP students can very easily be bridged into a term or permanent position within the government, in any department—not just the one where they did their placement! As well, if an FSWEP student completes six continual months of service, they can apply for excellent health and dental benefits and contribute to their public service pension.

Eligibility criteria:

  • Full-time high school, CEGEP, college or university student

  • Returning to full-time studies in the next academic year

  • Students in their last year of study are eligible to participate in FSWEP up until graduation

  • Meet the minimum age requirement in the province/territory of work

Note that preference is given to Canadian citizens who meet the job requirements.

How to apply?

Applying to the FSWEP inventory is a simple process that requires information about your past employment, education, desired location of employment, language, and skills. Begin by creating a Government of Canada Jobs (GC Jobs) account here. Once you’ve created and logged in to your account, click on apply now on the main FSWEP page here.

I’ve applied, what next?

Sit back, relax, and wait! Once you’ve applied to the continuous student recruitment inventory, your résumé is entered into the student inventory, where it gets sorted into relevant fields and positions based on your education, experience, and desired employment. As positions become available, the system will attempt to match your profile to the requirements of available positions. When a match occurs, your résumé is forwarded to the hiring manager for review. Note that whenever your résumé is sent on to a hiring manager, you’ll receive an e-mail alert updating you as to the status of your application. The hiring manager can then invite you for an interview or testing as required. If you’re a successful candidate, you’ll be required to complete a security screening and any other necessary paperwork. Once everything has been approved, you’ll receive your letter of offer detailing your employment contract, including start and end dates, and your level of compensation!

Speaking about compensation…

Students’ rates of pay are determined based on the student’s level of education, work experience, and previous experience in the public service. The most up-to-date rates of pay can be found here.

I’ve completed my first work term, now what?

First off, congratulations! Are you still a student? If so, you can continue working under FSWEP contracts up until graduation. If you enjoyed your work term and would like to continue with the same group, check in with your supervisor to see if they are looking to extend your contract into the next term. Wasn’t for you? Not to worry; your profile and résumé remain active in the FSWEP system. Just remember to update your résumé to include your new experience! You may also be interested in checking out the Research Affiliate Program – keep an eye out for our next blog entry, which takes a look at this research-based program for students.

No longer a student? We’ve got you covered! 

Stay tuned for when we discuss bridging and full-time employment within the federal public service. Until then, best of luck with your applications!


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