Sept. 26, 2018

Record year for engineering internship program

Work experience possibilities for Schulich students hits all-time high
Kristofer Chiu Kristofer Chiu

Industry demand for skilled engineering interns has resulted in a record-setting year for Schulich students seeking hands-on experience in their chosen fields.

Jenny Cruickshank, associate director of Student Services at Schulich School of Engineering, says the number of undergraduate students currently working for companies connected to their programs has surpassed previous years, pointing to a major upswing in desire for top engineering talent, and the number of intern positions waiting to be filled has set an all-time record.

“The Engineering Career Centre (ECC) team is celebrating the enormous success of our engineering students,” says Cruickshank.

“The highest number ever of interns placed in the program reflects their excellence and career-ready approach to gaining work experience, while studying.”

Industry seeking skilled student help in record numbers

As of Sept. 20, a total of 487 Schulich students were in active internship positions across Canada and the world, a 69-student increase over 2017, and a major jump from the 363 engineering students placed in 2016.

Even more impressive, the number of postings seeking skilled engineering interns has hit an all-time record in 2018, with 1,945 internship opportunities posted, versus 1,397 in 2017.

That’s a 39 per cent increase in available jobs for Schulich internship students, a number that Cruickshank credits to the faculty’s focus on making the program work for students and employers alike.

“Internship is an academic program that we believe sets our students apart, through the flexible nature of the program for both employer partners and students,” she explains. “ECC has focused on ensuring students are supported throughout the process of their application, interview, negotiations and while working on internship,  and we’re very proud to be a part of their first engineering career experience.”

Student praises chance to get hands-on experience

You don’t have to tell third-year software engineering student Bailey Duncan about the value of internships.

From knowing very little about software to mentoring high school students through Google Ignite, Duncan has seen his understanding and appreciation of digital engineering soar, leading to a recent project funded by the Schulich Dean’s Office, where he helped develop term projects for programming and software engineering courses.

And now, armed with knowledge and potential, he’s working for IBM Canada in Markham, Ont., an experience he praises for giving him real work experience and insight into his future career.

“An internship so worthwhile — you learn about dealing with people from multiple departments, and you get to really focus on one task, going deep to specialize in an area,” explains Duncan, who is a member of the IBM SWAT Advanced Education team, a system of engagement for academic collaboration with IBM.

“The whole experience prepares you for the world after university, and gives you an idea of what it takes to really succeed after graduation.”

Helping students through courses and industry exposure

And giving students that foundation of skill and work experience is the goal, says Dr. Mohammad Moshirpour, PhD, an instructor in electrical and computer engineering at Schulich. “We strive to prepare our software engineering students for the real world by practical course projects as well as exposure to the industry.”