Terri-Jane Yuzda

Not Your Average Summer Job

The U of C Engineering Internship program is the largest co-op program in Canada. A no-quota policy, and a great relationship with employers and students alike make it possible.

Tucked away in its own little corner in the University of Calgary Engineering Complex, the Engineering Internship Office quietly goes about its business, helping over a 1,000 students each year gain great work experience in conjunction with their studies. Unassuming it may be, but this is not simply a glorified Hire-a-Student service.

“It’s not a job placement program, it’s the faculty’s effort to produce superior graduates with a link to their academic background”, explained Nima Dorjee, P.Eng., director of the Engineering Internship Program. “We don’t just try to place students in a job, but rather we develop diverse opportunities based on the learning needs of our students.”

You can’t argue with the success of the program. It is the largest internship program on campus, accounting for about 60 per cent of the University of Calgary’s total co-op and internships. The program will oversee 360 student internships this summer alone. This kind of volume has helped it become the largest internship program in Canada, as well.

Why is it so successful? For one, unlike many other schools, the U of C Engineering Internship Program does not have a quota. This allows as many students as are capable to be involved.

Mr. Dorjee fully endorses the no-quota policy. “Every student should have an opportunity for internship,” he says.

The program is a huge benefit to students, giving them practical work experience and allowing them to make money as well. Engineering interns are expected to make in the neighbourhood of $13 million this year, not pocket change by anybody’s standards.

Mr. Dorjee explains that engineering interns on average make $40,000 to $60,000 each during their 16 month internship.

However, as Jin Sook Kang, a current internship student, explains, the work itself is the real reward. “More than money, the experience comes first.”

Ms. Kang, a manufacturing engineering student, is spending this summer working in design engineering with Standens. Currently in the third of four work terms of her internship, Ms. Kang stresses the importance of her internship and having the opportunity to put her knowledge into practice before she graduates.

“I didn’t want to graduate without any work experience. The internship program is a good stepping stone. Companies know what to expect from the student and I knew what to expect from the company. The position had already been negotiated through the program so I had a pretty good idea of what to expect when I arrived here.”



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