Co-op program paves the way for opportunities

By Costa Maragos Posted: February 27, 2017 6:00 a.m.

Anmoal Romana, a graduate of Winston Knoll Collegiate in Regina, is an environmental systems engineering student in the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science.
Anmoal Romana, a graduate of Winston Knoll Collegiate in Regina, is an environmental systems engineering student in the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science. Photo by Rae Graham – U of R Photography.

Finding the road to success can be a challenge when considering life after graduation.

For Anmoal Romana, his job experience, attained through the U of R’s Co-op program could be his ticket to job opportunities.

Anmoal is an environmental systems engineering student in the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science and a graduate of Winston Knoll Collegiate in Regina. He worked at the Ministry of Highways as an engineering assistant. The Co-op program allows students to gain valuable work experience related to their studies.    

Anmoal what got you interested in taking part of the Co-op program?

“I was doing a summer work term and my boss recommended extending my term to gain work experience before graduation. I was told that the experience I gain now will be more beneficial for me in the long run."

Tell us more about your work experience at highways.
 
I was an engineering assistant. I was given opportunities to prove myself. As my supervisors became more confident of my abilities, I was given more responsibilities. Coincidentally, some of the staff got busy on long-term jobs which allowed me to get more exposure to new job duties.

What sort of job duties?

I was given the opportunity to work on special projects that allowed me to learn how to deal with contractors for example. I did some of the technicians work. I learned to do surveying and test soils at various job site.

What job sticks out in your mind?

I was in charge of a small project along highway one, a service road next to Belle Plaine.  We were there to replace some culverts which were causing drainage problems in the area. I worked with a crew of five people. We prepared the site and then installed pipes that improved drainage. It went really well.

What has this experience meant to you?

It allowed me to gain experience and make contacts at the Ministry of Highways which will make it easier later for me to find a job. It takes some of the stress off of ‘what am I going to do’ after I graduate. I now have a skill set that will give me the edge over others who have not done co-op work.

What skill sets have you acquired with this job experience?

One of the biggest ones is that you develop as a professional in the workplace. You learn how to interact with professional people in a professional environment, all day. Everybody there has the expectation of you to perform to a certain level. They trust you enough to be professional about matters and expect you to do your due diligence. And if you have questions you simply ask for help. There was always somebody around to help me.

Beyond that, you learn things sometimes not easily learned while in school. Like the importance of simple things, for example to know how to properly write an email and respond to emails in a professional manner.  Many things like that you have to consider in the workplace and this co-op placement has helped me with that.

What else?

I learned how to deal with the public. When on job sites, I was required to speak with landowners and discuss and solve any issues that might arise. Another great part of my job is that it took me out of the city and into some beautiful and scenic areas of our province. From Cypress Hills to Estevan and elsewhere, I saw a big part of Saskatchewan. I was amazed at the wonderful scenery and the wildlife we would run into; bears, deer and coyotes. It’s not just flatlands in Saskatchewan.

What advice do you have for students considering applying for a job placement through the co-op?

Gaining experience before I graduated wasn’t something I thought I needed before. After doing this and being in the field I would recommend everyone gain some sort of job experience, even if it means delaying your graduation. You will appreciate it once you are done. It gives you an idea of what you want to do or not want to do.

How did this co-op experience affect you as a student?

My parents have told me that it changed my attitude on how I focus on my education. It doesn’t mean your grades will increase significantly, but you can now relate your studies to real life events in the workplace. I learned things in the field that made it easier for me to understand terms used by my professors in class. I’ve learned the importance of managing my time and managing other peoples’ time.

Anmoal Romana is now in his third year of environmental systems engineering.

We have staff on campus who can help you with your co-op job placement. For more information please visit here. 

The Co-operative education program is located at the Riddell Centre – Room 163.