By: Krista Henry (she/her)

Tasked with working on the largest of the GO transit expansion projects, ONxpress Transportation Partners calls on co-op students to support all aspects of their operation.

Metrolinx and Infrastructure Ontario (IO) chose ONxpress Transportation Partners (ONxpress), which is comprised of leading Canadian and international companies, to enter the development phase of the on-corridor works project. The project is part of an expansion program to improve the GO train system in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton area (GTHA).

The project includes renovations, expansions and improvements to stations, bridges, tunnels and maintenance facilities.

“When it comes to expertise and knowledge, we have people from all different backgrounds coming together to make this transportation project a reality,” says Stefany Naranjo (she/her), talent acquisition coordinator. “We’re so happy to have brought on several students to help support all the different teams. It’s a great learning experience for them.”

Students are supporting various areas of engineering for the project, documentation for pre-construction, as well as human resources (HR), among others. According to Natali Falero (she/her), talent acquisition business partner, Waterloo co-op students are making a real impact on the organization.

Waterloo is one of the most respected universities in Canada that has one of, if not, the best engineering program. The quality of the students and the alumni we have working with us is amazing — whether they are here for a four-month or eight-month term. The managers enjoy working with them.

NATALI FALERO, talent acquisition business partner at ONxpress

 Mentoring next gen transit talent

ONxpress is proud of the valuable experience they provide to students. The organization’s career champions program offers tangible mentorship by pairing each student, as they are onboarded, with a career champion to work on their goals.

“We also provide workshops and training in areas such as how to build their network,” says Falero. “Our managers are very involved in this program. We do monthly check-ins through HR, informal coffee chats, and try to bring them to networking events.”

Stefany Naranjo

Stefany Naranjo
Talent acquisition co-ordinator at ONxpress

In Naranjo’s experience, students who work at ONxpress bring a great attitude and are open to learning. They find ways to connect with other co-op students and bring in new ideas.

Co-op students gather in what they call a “spill the tea” session to discuss their work and how their term is going.

“We encourage them to come up with new ideas,” says Naranjo. “’Spill the tea’ was an idea from a student last term that we’ve kept this year.

This semester we have students working on an upcoming expo and we’re looking forward to what they bring to the table.”

Comprised of a team from all over the world, ONxpress looks to find both Canadian and international co-op students each term. The organization believes that international experience and education only help to drive innovation.

Since hiring students, ONxpress has offered many students the opportunity to have a full-time role with the organization upon their graduation. They’ve hired former co-op students into human resources roles and a project coordinator role with the construction team.

We currently have a Waterloo co-op student that we’re hoping will come back for another term. Her manager is really impressed and wants her to return. She’s probably one of the students who will receive a full-time offer if she comes back. She really was an outstanding contributor to the team.

STEFANY NARANJO, talent acquisition co-ordinator at ONxpress

In the future, ONxpress hopes to recruit more students in areas such as project co-ordination, systems, design and construction as well as operations and maintenance.