Throughout the year, post-secondary students from across the country gain valuable work experience through co-op and internship positions or summer jobs at Suncor Energy, Canada’s largest energy company. Headquartered in Calgary, Suncor is an international energy company with locations across Canada and all over the world.
Work terms of four, eight, 12 or 16 months build on classroom studies and create opportunities for personal and professional growth and development.
“You can try as many different things as you want and learn from decades of experience within the company. The opportunities for growth and development are vast.” —Roshan Philip, Reservoir Engineering Intern, Suncor Energy
Many of their students also go on to complete additional work terms with the company or become permanent employees at Suncor after they graduate.
One of those students is third-year University of Calgary Engineering student Roshan Philip.
Getting the internship at Suncor Energy
He first heard about an eight-month Production Engineering internship at Suncor from the Career Service Centre on his campus and applied on Suncor’s website.
“I was called into the Suncor Energy Centre downtown for the interview and an engineer interviewed me,” he says. “They asked behavioural-based questions and I answered them using the different experiences I’ve had in the workplace and university.”
Roshan had previous work experience as a summer student at another energy company and held leadership roles at the University of Calgary’s Petroleum & Energy Society, and he says it’s the latter that really helped him stand out among the other applicants: “I feel that extracurricular involvement and academic success are the two most important factors for a successful application.”
Suncor offered him the internship as well as a scholarship, and he accepted. “I was offered a good position where I could learn a lot,” he says. “Suncor is also Canada’a largest oil and gas company and the oil sands industry pioneer, so I felt that would provide me with many opportunities for learning and growth.”
On the job as a Suncor intern
Roshan began the internship in May 2011, and then moved into his current position – Reservoir Engineering Intern – in January.
He’s been working at Suncor’s Firebag in-situ operation – named after the traditional bags Aboriginal peoples once used to carry fire-starting flints – about 115 km northeast of Fort McMurray, Alberta, where the company uses steam-assisted gravity drainage (also known as SAGD) to recover large oil reserves that can’t be reached economically by traditional mining methods.
SAGD technology uses underground wells to inject steam into the oil sands deposits and collect the bitumen released by the heat.
“A typical day involves day-to-day tasks such as monitoring wells, trouble shooting, assessing work-overs, and looking for opportunities for improvement in the business as well as working on long-term projects,” he says, adding that he’s currently working on two of those long-term projects.
So far, he says, the training and learning opportunities at Suncor have been amazing, both formally through a number of courses and informally through knowledge-sharing with co-workers.
“You can try as many different things as you want and learn from decades of experience within the company. The opportunities for growth and development are vast.”