Thinking about a career in construction? Why now is a great time to study

Male construction student hero shot on site.

If you’re interested in a career in the construction industry but aren’t sure what specific path you’d like to take, the Construction Engineering Technology program provides a strong foundation as well as opportunities to explore a wide range of options and interests ranging from site supervising to building science to sustainability. 

“You have the opportunity to make this program what you want it to be," says JD Oxford, Manager of the Industry Liaison Office at the Centre for Construction and Engineering Technologies. “The Construction Engineering Technology program really sets you up nicely and gives you a tremendous foundation to pursue anything in the construction sector that interests you.” 

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While builders have had to adjust and adapt due to the COVID-19 pandemic there’s continued demand for skilled professionals with knowledge of the latest technologies and practices. It's a great time to train for a career in this field and there is still time to apply for the 2020 fall and 2021 winter semesters. The 2020 fall term will be delivered online due to COVID-19 and Oxford says that shouldn’t deter potential students from applying. 

“It’s a foundational program and that’s why the first year of the program being remote can work in your favour— it gives students a lot of time to take care of the theoretical pieces so they can then really apply them as they move into the second and third years,” he says. 

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COVID-19 updates for applicants

STUDENTS AND GRADS READY FOR THE WORKFORCE

Because of the research work and industry partnerships the Centre for Construction and Engineering Technologies (CCET) is involved in, students are exposed to opportunities in building science and technology, sustainability, and innovation, including modular construction and 3D printed structures.  

“The beauty of this program is that while the students are learning foundational information, there is so much encouragement and space for them to be creative, be innovative and think outside the box,” says CCET Industry and Events Officer Michelle Hahn. “That’s why employers are so attracted to our graduates who can fulfill estimating, site supervision and project management positions, but our grads are also flexible and adaptive to any situation, like what we’re facing right now with the pandemic.” 

Jose Melo starts his third year of the Construction Engineering Technology program in September 2020. This summer he’s interning as an estimator at construction company Pomerleau. 

“It has been an amazing experience,” Melo says. “I am learning many knew things of the operations and pre-construction phase.” 

“This program has given me the essential skills for this field such as blueprint reading, understanding the scope of work, and the construction methodology of ICI (industrial, commercial and institutional) and residential construction. What you get out of the program is solely on the effort that you put into it and my efforts have allowed me to smoothly transition into the workforce.” 

GETTING HANDS-ON LEARNING IN THE TIME OF PHYSICAL DISTANCING

Construction Engineering Technology students participate in work-integrated learning opportunities in their second year—this is when they complete field placements and gain hands-on experience. While there are changes due to COVID-19, Oxford says students will still have plenty of opportunities to complete their 100 hours of work and connect with industry professionals. These opportunities could include part-time work or participating in seminars and professional events. 

“The construction sector has been booming for some time so there is a lot going on even if you’re not on a site or working on a project,” Oxford says. “There’s a lot to take in and engage with, so students have the opportunity to get involved with these organizations and bodies and fulfill their hours that way.” 

George Brown students also participate in, and win (!) construction bidding competitions. This summer a team of George Brown students won the U.K.-based Chartered Institute of Building’s annual Global Student Challenge. 

“This program offers something for everyone,” Oxford says, “no matter what you’re interested in building.”