A Co-op Term Not Quite By-The-Numbers

My name is Melissa Monaghan. I grew up in Vancouver, BC, but I am originally from Regina, Saskatchewan. I am an accounting student in the middle of an eight-month term in the BC Region. This January, I will started my fourth and final year at UBC’s Sauder School of Business. I chose to do my work term in construction because of the style of project accounting used in the industry; however, I chose to do it at PCL because of the dynamic company culture and their continued commitment to professional development.



When I started in the BC Region’s accounting department in May, I had the intention of staying on for four months. However, after only a few weeks, I realized four months was not going to be enough and wanted to extend my work term for two main reasons:

     ​1.  The People

The Human Resources and Professional Development team at PCL are clearly very good at what they do because every single person I have worked with has been incredible. My department makes me look forward to coming to work every single day, and not just for the seemingly never-ending supply of donuts. I was welcomed into the team on my very first day and was even invited to the department’s lunchtime workouts (I assume that these were started to counteract the effect of the donuts).  By attending district events throughout the summer like rock climbing, the golf tournament, co-op hikes, and the Summer Social, I have met countless people that help make PCL great.

    2.   Additional Challenges

There is one clear moment that stands out for me as the turning point in my decision to extend my co-op term. I had a midterm discussion with the district’s accounting manager and my onboarding trainer about how I felt I needed additional challenges in my role to further develop my technical skills. Within the week I had been given the opportunity to run four additional weekly reports and work on the district’s GST and PST reconciliation, as well as to play a role in the district’s year-end reporting. Additionally, I was entrusted with the project accounting for two renovations. These opportunities, along with many others, are at the core of why I extended my co-op term. This experience showed me PCL’s commitment to professional development and their willingness to work with each employee to adjust their duties to fit their development needs.

My advice to all students is to

  • Get involved! Go to events and meet as many people as you can because it will end up being one of the best parts of your co-op experience.
  • ​Ask questions. Don’t just memorize the process; take time to understand the process and WHY it’s there.
  • Stay hungry in your role. Co-ops terms are short, and you only get as much as you put in. Don’t be afraid to ask for more and often you’ll find the level of difficulty and quality of work increases as your experience does.

Melissa Monaghan
Accounting Student
BC Region



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