Vijaya Pandiyarajan with his poster presentationVijaya Pandiyarajan worked with Schukra, supplier of lumbar support systems for the 2017 Lincoln Continental.

Placements provide practical and professional skills for engineering students

Serving co-op work terms in industrial settings is very beneficial to students in the Master of Engineering program, says Andrzej Sobiesiak: “I just wish more of them could get this experience.”

Head of the Department of Mechanical, Automotive and Materials Engineering, he was one of a number of faculty members judging posters students created to describe placements they completed last semester. The posters were arrayed through the lobby of the Centre for Engineering Innovation on Wednesday.

“The more you talk to the students, the more you find out about what they have learned,” Dr. Sobiesiak says. “Usually they have done very good work.”

Vijaya Pandiyarajan worked for Schukra, a supplier of seating systems for the automotive industry. While he made several concrete contributions to the company’s operations, including helping redesign assembly processes to save the plant 550 square feet of floor space, he says the most important thing he gained is knowledge of Canadian indutry.

“The co-op program has given me practical experience working for a company here,” says Pandiyarajan.

It’s a sentiment echoed by his classmate Libo Xiao. She worked for plastics supplier A.P. Plasman and says the workplace culture is very different from those she knew in her native China. She especially enjoyed a holiday event that invited staff to wear ugly Christmas sweaters.

“It was really fun,” she says. “In China, work is just work.”