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IGS Job Shadowing Initiative

On-the-job opportunities for young members could be made more widely available across chapters following a survey by IGS Brazil.

The IGS Young Members Committee is exploring ways to add value to membership for young people. A survey conducted by IGS Brazil has confirmed that opportunities to interact with our corporate members are among the top benefits valued by students.

Natalia Correia, General Secretary of IGS Brazil and member of IGS Brazil Young Members, explained: “During the organization of the ‘Technologies in Geosynthetics Award – Professor Benedito de Souza Bueno – 2019/2020’, we carried out a student survey asking what kind of prize they would like, for example, a tablet, a calculator, a book, or conference registration. The vast majority said they would most like an opportunity or experience in a company.”

Several companies sponsoring the Brazilian Association of Technical Nonwoven Industries (ABINT), which co-organized the contest with IGS Brazil, agreed to provide work experience for the first prize winners in each category. As the pandemic prevented in-person internships in early 2020, the prize was fulfilled virtually later in the year.

Ms Correia said: “It was configured as two-hour online meetings with representatives from each company, hosted by a member of the Geosynthetic Committee of ABINT. The students learned what the company sold or manufactured, gained insight into geosynthetic products and processes, and heard about the role of a civil engineer in the company.

“Additionally, there was a two-hour online meeting with ABINT directors called ‘ABINT Talk’ and another two-hour online meeting on ‘The Action Plan for ABINT Quality Program 2020/2022’ about trends in the geosynthetic sector in Brazil. Sponsors included Engepol, Maccaferri, Huesker, Fabril Scavone, Ober and Cipatex.

“This type of prize will certainly be among student awards for future competitions.”

One of the winners, Mayara Palacio, said: “I loved participating. The contact with professionals was very enriching and helped me learn more applications and uses of the materials. I really enjoyed participating.”

Another, Alice Helena Ribeiro Gonçalves, said: “The experience was very positive. The program, in this format, has a lot to add for the recently graduated professionals in the market.”

Preston Kendall, IGS Council Member, said: “Learning first hand and on-the-job is an invaluable way to develop understanding and skills, as well as make great contacts.

“IGS Brazil’s survey result is a powerful message of what young people want and we should take this lesson on board.  It is great to hear IGS Brazil is developing its program. Australasia is also taking the first steps to create one.

“Increasing opportunities for the next generation of engineers is vital and the committee looks forward to exploring how we can create more shadowing programs across chapters.”

For more about the IGS Young Members Committee, click here.