What’s being on co-op like? Mohamed’s story

NAME: Mohamed Elwan

PROGRAM: Mechanical Technician – Precision Skills (second year)

RECENT CO-OP: Machinist Co-op Student, MacLean Engineering & Marketing, January to April, 2019

Tell us about yourself.

I’m from Egypt. Before I came to Canada, I was looking for a mechanical technician program with co-op. I have a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering and I have master’s in business administration.

Why this program?

I am doing this program right now to enhance my practical skills, then I plan to work about three to five years in this field to gain more experience in the Canadian market before I start my own business in the injection molding sector.

Mohamed Elwan, standing in the Georgian CNC shop
Mohamed, holding a metal part in the CNC shop at the Barrie Campus

Describe your most recent co-op term.

I was running different types of machines: mill CNC, manual mill and radial drill. Tasks included performing machine start up checks, setting up jobs, confirming correct set up and tooling, writing and highlighting confirmed dimensions on prints, completing jobs in a timely manner, placing orders on carts, noting any potential machining concerns in the CNC database, and cleaning up.

What did you love most about this co-op?

I loved the atmosphere of the work itself, and the variety of work orders and products that MacLean has. We had a different job every day, which helped us to gain more experience.

What did you find most challenging about this co-op?

The first two weeks were very tough and slow, because we had to observe the information before they allowed us to run the machines alone. Our shifts were 10 hours a day, so this was the most challenging.

How do you think co-op work terms will help you in your career? 

I think this co-op work term will be very beneficial to my career because it is an initiative in the Canadian market. I already started to benefit, as MacLean gave me a part-time job until I finish my studies. They plan to hire me full time after I finish school.

What advice do you have for students entering their first co-op?

they should listen, observe, ask if they have any questions, write down new information they gain, don’t be shy, try to apply what they learn, be proactive, and avoid repeat mistakes.

What would you tell a prospective student, contemplating a co-op program? 

The co-op semester is a very important semester because it will help you in the future of your career. Focus in this semester and do your best to get the respect from the employer and your supervisor to increase your probability to gain a job offer. Many students consider this semester a good source of money as it is paid work. It is good, but the most important part of this semester is the work experience, so my advice is to focus on it and to be proactive.

Mohamed Elwan standing in front of a piece of machinery at the Barrie CNC shop

Want to learn more about co-op?

You can learn more about co-op on our Co-Operative Education and Career Success page, or read about other students’ experiences on co-op, like:

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