Jonathan Charles

Jonathan Charles

"You get real world experience, learn engineering concepts not taught in school, and have a chance to see the business side of engineering."

Fourth-Year Structural Engineering | Concentric Associates International Inc.

What types of projects have you worked on during your placement?

Most of my projects involved concrete rehabilitation (ie. shearwalls and foundation repairs), roof replacements/inspections, surveying, and some steel design.

How did you find your placement?

My experience finding a placement was interesting because when I first started I was only looking for internship opportunities nearby in the city. Then as prospects didn't pan out, I expanded my acceptable location to anywhere in Canada. Engineering administrations sent an email from Concentric to everyone looking for an internship opportunity and I sent my resume back. Two weeks before school started back up again I was accepted at Concentric in their Ottawa Branch.   

Did Western Engineering’s Career Services’ office help you prepare for your placement?

Western Engineering Career Services office helped me prepare for my internship by giving me a list of what needed to be completed beforehand, helped with the contract and legal work, and kept me informed about critical dates and deliverables (ie. performance evaluation form deadlines, re-registering to return to school in the fall, etc). 

What are the benefits of participating in the placement?

The benefit of participating in this program is that you get real-world experience, learn engineering concepts that are not taught in school, and have a chance to see the business side of engineering as well as the theoretical. The year of work can also be used towards getting P.Eng licensed with the added bonus of having contacts and networks already established in the industry when you leave school.

What have you learned during the course of your placement?

The biggest thing I have learned at Concentric is how to apply the theoretical knowledge taught in university with real-world applications. It’s important to be punctual, organized and timely to ensure that your placement at work runs smoothly. I also learned that being observant and safe are two important characteristics in the Structural Engineering field.

Would you recommend a co-in/internship to other students?

I would definitely recommend a co-op/internship program for other students. I would even go as far to say that it should become a mandatory part of engineering, since it’s such a worthwhile experience and gives you a taste of what engineering will be like outside of university.