Steeled for Success: Co-op Experience Provides Career Direction
July 19, 2010
The harsh industrial surroundings of a steel mill is a work environment
few university graduates plan for as a career. Yet, through a close working
relationship between the McMaster-Mohawk
Bachelor of Technology program (BTech) and steel producer ArcelorMittal Dofasco, students like Stephen
Melnyk are experiencing the workplace firsthand.
Stephen, who is completing his final year in BTech’s process
automation stream, has had two co-op placements with ArcelorMittal Dofasco
during the four-year program, and has since decided he would like to
pursue a career with the corporation.
"Having the opportunity with these co-ops I feel that when I am
finished with school I am wholly ready to move into the workplace," says
Stephen. "They also have helped me decide where I want to go with
my career path."
With the heavy choice of where he wants to be after school is out of
the way, Stephen is now able to concentrate on where this career choice
may take him.
"I am hoping to continue working at Dofasco," confirms Stephen. "With
that workplace, coupled with the broad range of skills I received during
my time in the program, there will be a lot of opportunities to move
up and around within the company."
The program has also played a huge part in getting Stephen to the point
where he is today.
"The amount of training necessary when starting at Dofasco was
minimal, since I was able to adapt the skills I learned through the
course," says Stephen. "The constructs I worked with at my
co-op placement were easy enough to grasp that within a week I was off
and running with them."
ArcelorMittal Dofasco has had a close relationship with the process
automation program since its inception. Professor Ishwar Singh,
associate director of four-year BTech Programs has stated how great
it is to have the corporation's support.
"ArcelorMittal Dofasco has been a great supporter of the BTech
program," says Singh. "They have been providing co-op jobs
and supporting one of their employees to serve on the BTech advisory
committee as well as providing financial support when the program was
Knowledge of BTech’s process automation program reached
Stephen via word of mouth.
"I was told about this course by a friend," recalls Stephen. "At
that time I didn't know what field to get into, I knew I wanted to get
into engineering but was looking to cover a broader range of skill sets
and this program was exactly that."
At first hesitant and overwhelmed by the scope of process automation,
he has grown to be completely grateful for the program and the opportunities
it has opened up to him.
"When we started out there was such a wide range of topics and
skills we were learning, from electronics to chemical engineering,” remembers
Stephen. “It was hard to see them coming together at the
beginning but, of course, everything was related and came together.
Because of that aspect, I can now look at any part of a system and know
what to do whereas other people are a lot more specialized."
In addition to process automation, the four-year BTech program, which
is geared to students graduating from high school, offers streams in
Automotive and Vehicle Technology and Biotechnology. A degree-completion
program is also offered to working technologists and internationally
trained professionals looking for a university degree.