Shuhui Dong moved to Sudbury, Ont., from China in 2006 and enrolled in the Mechanical Engineering Program with a co-op option at Laurentian University.
He noticed immediately that a certain mining company was very involved in the community, both on-campus and throughout Sudbury: Vale.
“I believe it is a good sign about the company that, if offered a position, many existing interns and co-op students would love to work for Vale well into the future.”
—Shuhui Dong, Mechanical Engineering Intern, Vale
“Vale supports not only many programs in the local schools, but also programs that benefit people’s lives in the Sudbury community,” he says.
When it came time to secure a work term toward the end of his program, he applied for a 16-month Mechanical Engineering Internship with Vale in Sudbury – and nothing else.
“Vale was the only company that I applied to,” Shuhui says. “I feel lucky and proud to be hired.”
The core of a rock-solid career
He’s been working in the maintenance department at Coleman Mine, Vale’s flagship nickel mine, since May 2012, and will wrap up his internship at the end of August after graduating from Laurentian in May.
Over the last year, he’s had the opportunity to contribute to huge projects going on at the mine and take part in at least eight different types of training, including mine site, body harness, underground Jeep and common core training, as well as obtaining his surface truck license.
“A great portion of my work has been completed directly for the mine’s Maintenance Manager,” he explains. “I was responsible for preparing a wide range of monthly reports and some one-time evaluation reports to support his decision making.”
Thanks to this experience, Shuhui is eager to continue working for Vale after his work term ends, if they’ll have him – a positive indicator for other students and recent graduates considering a career with Vale, he says. “I believe it is a good sign about the company that, if offered a position, many existing interns and co-op students would love to work for Vale well into the future.”
So, while he’s waiting to hear if he’ll be re-hired as a graduate, let’s learn more about Shuhui’s experience as intern:
Landing an engineering internship at Vale
Shuhui applied for the internship via Vale’s career website, www.valejobs.ca, and was asked to come in for a three-part interview process. It included an initial interview with the company’s recruitment and selection team, a behavioural interview and then an interview with the hiring manager, each of which took about 40 minutes.
“I was positive, polite and confident. I talked about my life in Canada and my future life plans with the interviewer,” he recalls. “Also, I talked about my experience and skills in detail but without exaggeration.”
He found one question in particular to be really challenging: the interviewers asked him if he had ever worked with someone who made him feel uncomfortable and, if so, how did he solve that problem?
“I used this example: my supervisor once handed me an unfinished drawing initially created by a careless guy in our office. I travelled with him every day and I knew the type of person he was,” Shuhui explains. “I knew he did not drop the ball on purpose, so I simply talked to him to get enough details and finish the print. My philosophy is to try to solve problems rather than create them.”
Sounds like a winning answer! No wonder he got the internship.
Endless possibilities for interns
At the start of his internship with Vale last May, Shuhui participated in a big orientation for all of the company’s interns and summer students. “As interns, we have quarterly meetings,” he says, adding that they are often able to visit different sites to optimize their work experience.
From there, Shuhui learned he would be working alongside a number of different people at the plant, including Superintendents, Planners, Applied Engineers, Asset Integrity Managers and, of course, the Maintenance Manager.
With these various colleagues, he attended meetings, planned projects, conducted procedure reviews to ensure they had safe and efficient work plans, and provided solutions to equipment issues.
Working at a mine turned out to be a bit different than he expected: “The safe and respectful working environment, advanced and modern mining methods, and the mine reliability surprised me because this was my first time working at a mine,” he admits.
His most memorable project? Working on the night shift crew of an equipment replacement mission, which took two crews three full days, working day and night, to complete. “The experience was unforgettable,” he says. “You really get the most out of your work term with Vale.”