My internship was in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada and I worked with the Modular construction team at the University of Alberta. The project I was working on was to help design a new wood frame prototype machine to be used for offsite construction. My contribution was mostly based around using an engineering program called ‘SolidWorks’ to develop parts of the machine that had not been designed. Furthermore, I also assisted practically in the lab to rebuild the original version of the machine. Learning how to use the SolidWorks program was a big accomplishment for me professionally as well as learning how to prepare for weekly meetings and interacting with fellow engineers. Following a routine and protocols for daily work was also something I will carry with me personally for my future career.
I learned more about the culture of Canadians, whether that be terminology that differs from the UK or just how they tend to complete their work and how their thought process differs from how I have been taught at university.
I was able to take a trip to the ski resort of Banff which gave me a view of the Rockies mountain range which was spectacular. Additionally, exploring Edmonton as a city and viewing the various landmarks was an insightful new experience.
I think in a professional sense, I have matured and have become more efficient in how I work to complete engineering tasks. Additionally, I have improved my communication and presenting skills when working with colleagues. Although the internship was slightly different from my current degree, I was able to implement several techniques I have learned from University and these became more useful as time went on to adapt to problems that arose. Utilising what you know is an important skill as it can also help your colleagues to think of how to approach a problem from a different perspective.
During my internshp I met very experienced engineers, I have observed how they complete their work and they have given me great advice. There are methods of how I worked before my internship which can now be much more efficient thanks to the support and techniques they have offered me.
Becoming part of an enormous network spread out across several fields and different parts of Scotland and indeed the globe is a unique opportunity, it gives you the chance to apply for internships that you would not be able to apply to otherwise and teaches you to be meticulous in the way you work and prepare.
The Saltire Programme is likely the most rewarding process I have ever been a part of. The application process teaches you a lot about yourself and getting through to a final internship and meeting other ambitious students is a great feeling. The support they give you to succeed in your internship is second to none in my opinion.
The internship opportunity has given me the first chance of working in a professional engineering team environment. Additionally, working abroad was an extra challenge and adjusting to Canada was a great learning experience for me. When you add these opportunities together it gives you a satisfying feeling knowing you have worked to the best of your ability to succeed whilst you are on your internship.
If not for my Saltire internship it would be impossible to recreate the sort of experience I had in Canada and the support I received to work in a skilled team for 10 weeks throughout the summer.