If Reba Mitchell gets her way, she’ll be working for Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) before too long.
“I want to work at CBSA because I’ve always loved airports, seeing people come from all around the world and the diversity and opportunities for everyone,” says Mitchell. “I was never really fully set on being a police officer and this job just stands out to me.”
The 27-year-old is a graduate of two Durham College (DC) programs – Advanced Law and Police Foundations.
Prior to enrolling at DC, Mitchell didn’t know what career path she wanted.
She went to Denis O’Connor Catholic High School in Ajax, Ont.
After being in a sea cadet program during her later years of high school, she made a decision.
“I liked being in uniform,” says Mitchell. “In high school I wore a uniform, in cadets I wore a uniform and I’m a security supervisor now, so I wear a uniform now.”
Mitchell currently works for Paladin security after getting hired in 2016.
Her journey started when she decided to apply to DC’s police foundations program, starting in September, 2013.
Mitchell says her teachers were very helpful.
“It showed a lot of different opportunities especially if you didn’t just want policing,” says Mitchell. “There’s law enforcement paths you can choose like corrections, working in jails and stuff.”
For the field placement portion of the program, there were many different options to choose from, says Mitchell.
“Some people did bylaw, some people did alcohol and gaming commission,” says Mitchell. “I did Porter Airlines and also did a group home.”
Immediately after graduating from police foundations in 2015, she enrolled in advanced law.
She says the program revealed the potential danger in some of these enforcement-related jobs.
She is currently in the application process for the CBSA.
“It is supposed to be like a year to a year-and-a-half,” says Mitchell, “but because of COVID I’ve been in the process for three years, so it’s been very, very long.”
The best part about her current job is the people she gets to meet on a daily basis such as nursing staff at the hospital, Mitchell says.
“I worked in the Scarborough hospitals,” says Mitchell. “I was working as a security guard for my first two-and-a-half years at the Scarborough General and Birchmount campus.”
Students interested in working for the CBSA should be building up their portfolio right now, Mitchell says.
“The portfolio when I was in college was the number one thing,” says Mitchell. “Showing your volunteer work, your certifications and everything like that.”
Mitchell says getting involved in the community and getting to know your teachers is important as well.
“Don’t give up, it’s going to get stressful, there’s always hard times,” says Mitchell, “but you can get through it.”