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A future in construction

As a geological engineering student, Hanna Nigussie became interested in the construction industry as a result of her first co-op term. She enjoyed being able to see the results of her work taking shape in front of her eyes as a tangible product. So when she came across an ad for a project coordinator internship with Chandos in her university portal she jumped at it.

“Chandos provides a lot of opportunities for students to grow—and explore on their own as well. They allow me to ask questions and give me the chance to see what’s happening on other sites so I can learn more. They want what’s best for the co-op students; they really want you to grow and do better.”

Hanna was put on a project for the Canadian Mental Health Association, coordinating the construction of a mental health facility for youth in the Guelph region. Her job included conducting orientations for trades, reviewing shop drawings, ensuring sub trades were updated as required, and quality control.

Prior to her internship with Chandos, Hanna had never worked in an office environment and wasn’t sure what to expect. She wanted to learn more about the financial and management side of construction and wasn’t let down. Hanna found that Chandos’s project managers and supervisors were easy to talk to, welcomed questions, and shared all aspects of the project with her.

  • School:  University of Waterloo

  • Program: Geological Engineering

  • Favorite Class: Stratigraphy 

  • Future Career Goal: Risk and hazard assessment 

  • Department of Internship: Operation

Hanna’s biggest challenge was a lack of knowledge—a civil engineering student would have more background knowledge of the construction environment than someone studying geological engineering. She was able to overcome this by conducting her own research and asking plenty of questions. Hanna also made time to closely observe what was happening on site to gain an in-depth understanding of the construction process.

Communication is a key skill Hanna developed with Chandos. Through her job, she realized that communication is core to how construction projects function and she worked hard to ensure her communication skills helped the team succeed.

Hanna describes Chandos’s culture as open and equitable. She recalls a lunch with people at all levels of the company, including the director of the region, in which she felt perfectly comfortable with everyone and appreciated being able to talk freely and ask questions. She found the Chandos team very approachable and feels that they make it more about the team than she’s experienced in the past.

With two more years of school ahead of her, Hanna is already thinking about her future, and she’d like Chandos to be a part of it thanks to her experience as a co-op student.

Learn more about co-op positions at Chandos!

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