Making the most of internships

Chris Beaver is the Applied Researcher at Sheridan College and one of the primary organizers of the school’s energy auditing program, part of Sheridan’s Centre for Advanced Manufacturing and Design Technologies.

Beaver has overseen more 100 student research associates. He shared his top tips for making the most out of experiential learning opportunities and using them to get a job with

  1. Figure out how much you want to be involved
    In the energy auditing program, Sheridan students can participate as part of a capstone project totaling 90 days, an eight-month co-op program, as a post-graduate student or as an extra-curricular activity.In any case, Beaver said Sheridan students benefit by getting real-world experience and using their problem-solving abilities.
  2. Be prepared to work hard
    Beaver said some audits and assessments started as early as 6 a.m. to accommodate a company’s wishes and avoid regular staff. This meant students had to wake up or take the bus around 4 a.m. in order to get to the site on time.In another case, a team of 12 student research associates assessed and audited 16,000 light fixtures at a car assembly plant. Despite each fixture containing up to eight light tubes or bulbs, they were able to complete the project in less than a week.
  3. Be specific about what you did
    Beaver said he would encourage students to state specific numbers about their experience in resumes and with potential employers, such as doing an assessment that helped reduce a company’s energy usage by 25 per cent.
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