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