Nowadays university students can put down the books and gain experience in the career field of their choice. By enrolling in a co-operative education (co-op) program, students can learn firsthand about an industry related to their field of study while gaining course credit and earning an hourly wage.
Sayeeda Akhunjee is a third-year mechanical engineering student at the University of Windsor, who has been a quality control co-op at the Windsor Assembly Plant for the past three months. Her interest in the co-op placement at FCA Canada sparked after attending automotive-related engineering courses.
“I wanted to work with cars firsthand after learning about them and how their engines function at school,” Akhunjee explained.
As a quality control co-op, Akhunjee’s responsibilities include accessing VIN (Vehicled Idenification Number) scribed minivans that are sent to China. She also performs data analysis and stratification for assembly operations. This process includes finding out where there are problems and inspecting the assembly line to figure out solutions. Once solved, continuous follow ups are conducted to ensure prior issues do not emerge again, as well as making sure that the new solution is cost-efficient.
Aside from witnessing the pilot launch of the next-generation minivan, Akhunjee says the most rewarding part of her placement was working with such a welcoming company.
“I wasn’t looked at as a co-op (student). Everyone has welcomed me as part of their team, working equally side-by-side with each other,” Akhunjee said. “This working dynamic has encouraged me to pitch in and get more involved in different team projects.”
Akhunjee also emphasized that her experience at FCA Canada has enhanced her knowledge within the engineering field. At FCA Canada, the co-op program provides students opportunities to use theoretical material taught in classrooms and practice those skills in a real work environment.
“School offers a book perspective of everything; you don’t actually get to see things first hand, or solve problems in the real world. Here at FCA Canada I am able to solve real work related problems with a team, and talk to operators, engineers and employees on the line to find a solution and check on the progress of it,” Akhunjee said.
“I’ve really enjoyed my time being a co-op for FCA Canada and I hope to return for another co-op placement in the future.”