From September to December each year, students travel from across Mexico to hit the books at the University of Calgary's Schulich School of Engineering.
The four-month academic program aspires to hone the technical skills of Mexico's next generation of engineers. Since 2015, the program has benefited the careers of 36 driven engineers, who now play an integral role in the many projects that TransCanada is developing across the country, attributing much of their success to the opportunities presented from their term spent in Calgary.
At the university, students focus on courses on pipeline maintenance and operations. Beyond that, students also visit field locations within the Calgary region to apply their newfound learnings in a real-life setting.
However, the program isn't all work! Each year, students can be immersed in Canadian culture and traditions as well. Since the semester falls during Canadian Thanksgiving, the students are hosted by a local family and partake in the holiday's traditions (brussel sprouts are optional, of course).
Those who have participated in the program say it has opened many doors for their careers and personal development.
Manuel Jardines works as a junior pipeline engineer for the South Texas - Tuxpan project. His role is to review technical engineering documents such as construction plans. He also supports field meetings and on-site inspections. Jardines said studying in Calgary allowed him to grow – both professionally and personally. He hopes to continue working in Mexico's energy industry.
"I hope to apply the knowledge I acquired by solving problems that exist in the energy sector and continue working on the new technologies and challenges that arise," said Jardines.
Laura Casavantes had the opportunity to meet Mexico's Secretary of Energy, Pedro Joaquín Coldwell, and become friends with people from different nationalities during her stay in Calgary.
"This experience opened for me a wider range of options, including international ones. I learned the importance of adaptation. The world does not adapt to us, it is we who must adapt to the situations." – Laura Casavantes
This kind of learning becomes vital in an industry where many factors, from climatic to financial, can have an influence on the successful completion of a project.
Hydraulics, geomantics and economy related to pipelines were some of the topics that Edgar Rascón learned at the University of Calgary.
Now he applies this knowledge as a Junior Quality Engineer at the Tuxpan Compression Station, where he verifies that the materials used meet the quality characteristics stipulated by TransCanada, tests equipment and assists in construction, mechanical and electrical inspections.
Studying abroad allowed him to see the potential he had to set high goals at a professional level. He wanted to apply for the scholarship to increase his competitiveness as a professional and develop skills for social welfare.
"I am going to help Mexico to be a better country, with Mexicans prepared with great abilities and skills to lead this nation," Rascón said.
The third cohort of TransCanada Mexico's Scholarship Program will begin on September 11, 2017 with 14 students from Hidalgo and Tamaulipas who will take a semester in Pipeline Engineering at the University of Calgary.
The objective of the program is to boost the country's energy sector through the development of Mexican talent. The fellowship program is co-financed by TransCanada and Mexican state governments from some of the states where our pipelines run.
"It is an investment not only in the country but in the future of TransCanada from an operating perspective, so it is a win-win," said Robert Jones, President of TransCanada Mexico, during a visit to the University of Calgary last year.
"We are hoping today that these Mexican students are going to be the mentors for more Mexican students...that they go back to Mexico and of course coach and hopefully educate more Mexicans in the towns and the communities that they live in."