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Lessons in leadership

“One of the most significant lessons I've learned is understanding the importance of mentors to your development, and how crucial it is to explore your weaknesses and actively work on them. It’s great to have leaders and mentors who are candid and honest enough to be willing to do that.”

When Shayan Ahmed first came across the opportunity to intern with Chandos Construction on the Advanced Nuclear Material Research Centre project in Chalk River, Ontario, he had never heard of the company. But the idea of not working on a typical construction project excited him! The fact that it involved high client expectations and safety requirements for a nuclear research centre piqued his interest. He saw it as great opportunity to learn new skills he couldn’t get elsewhere.

  • School: University of Ottawa

  • Program: Civil Engineering

  • Favourite Class: Theory of Structures Department of Internship: Financial Forecasting and Change Management

Shayan’s internship involved working in change management, making the case for additional funding, and doing financial forecasting to help ensure the project stays on budget. He also assisted with risk assessment and mitigation and worked with the site procurement manager on drafting tenders. His favourite part of the job was working in contract management and tenders as he’s just as passionate about law as he is about engineering.

While Shayan enjoyed previous co-ops, he says the opportunity with Chandos exceeded his expectations due to the company’s culture. He describes the culture as inclusive and welcoming, with a work environment that feels more like a family as opposed to a corporation. He’s built great friendships with team members, and a highlight of his internship was participating in a volleyball tournament alongside  other organizations one weekend in July.

The opportunity to lead meetings gave Shayan a strong understanding of the project manager role and what was required to succeed in it. During his time at Chandos, he also learned that construction is a marathon, not a sprint, and was able to adjust his working habits so that they would be sustainable over a multi-year project.

Shayan decided to accept an offer for full-time employment with Chandos for the opportunity to participate in the build of the research centre – only the second one in Canada. He also liked that he had an established mentorship program that gave him access to leaders, project managers, and project directors who would help him develop both professionally and personally.

Although the site Shayan is working at is remote, the people he’s met and developed relationships with more than make up for it. And as he says, it’s probably the only site in Canada that can provide you with this kind of unique construction learning experience.

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