Since the program’s beginnings in 2013, Challenge has changed the lives of dozens of young and eager graduates, taking them from the basics to fully-formed young professionals. With the deadline for program applications coming up on May 30th and this year’s program coming to an end, we thought we would reflect a bit on what the Challenge Program is all about.
So, what is Challenge?
More than anything, the Challenge Program is an opportunity, to gain experience in an international infrastructure company, to grow confidence, and to network and meet other recent graduates with similar interests and aspirations.
The requirements are simple—you must be a recent graduate and driven to improve your skill sets in whatever area might interest you. You should be proactive, flexible, and able to multitask. You should have strong interpersonal communications skills and possess high problem-solving abilities, be interested in innovative processes and going beyond the status quo, eager to learn and grow your capabilities, willing to travel or live abroad, as well as, be fluent in the primary language of the office you are applying for. You should also be a recent graduate of Business Administration, Law, Engineering, Economics, Human resources, Data Science, Mathematics, Communication, Data Statistics or something similar. Positions are available in the United States, Spain, Portugal and Canada, so hopefully you are close by. If you can meet all of those requirements, the benefits are enormous and come right off the bat. As Miguel Serrano puts it:
Since the first day of the internship I have been exposed to big infrastructure projects in an international environment
Of course, these are just the things that we value, and we think you would appreciate about the program. Luckily, we have been able to personally ask this past year’s participants what they have felt about the program, what they most valued, and how they feel they have grown.
Without a doubt, a highlight for all of the participants was to chance in interact with Cintra employees and other Challenge participants. It seems to be the consensus that the SUMMA week at Headquarter in Madrid made the experience extra-special for the participants. With interns coming from all parts of the world, there is an emphasis of the international quality of the experience, not to mention the opportunity for the interns from the United States, Portugal, and Spain to visit Cintra’s global headquarters and Corporate University, SUMMA, in Madrid.
Let’s hear from what Ibai Txasko had to say about the experience.
…all the interns had the opportunity to get to know each other and to learn what tasks are handled in each department. I think it has been one of the most helpful experiences during my time as an intern, as we learnt many things from Cintra’s workers and saw the differences between each department. I also had the opportunity to meet all interns from the program, which was an amazing team building experience.
So, now we know SUMMA week is even more than getter to know the other interns; they also got the chance to look further into the different departments, see what each of them did, and gain a better understanding of the full picture. Ran Jan also confessed that he had a blast at SUMMA week:
I really enjoyed the SUMMA week. We had team building events that help us to get to know each other better, communication classes which helped us to work efficiently while working in the future, presentations that helped me to understand the whole Ferrovial group and Cintra, and finally an office tour with our interns presenting our work from the last six months, which gave me the chance to understand the work being done in different departments and team in a fascinating way.
Not your average coffee-fetching internship
Another defining aspect of this program is the seriousness with which is it treated. It should be restated how, in the Challenge program, the interns learn from hands-on experiences, not like a lot of old-fashioned internship where internship would carry out simple chores around the office without actually learning anything useful. In the Challenge Program, the interns are preparing for the real world; that means carrying out the tasks and day-to-day activities that are normally expected of an employee at Ferrovial.
As expected, independence is a separating factor in any learning experience. You can only learn with assistance up to a certain stage, but at point you have to try out everything you’ve learnt and apply it to real situations.
I have worked autonomously in order to solve complex projects, and the conclusions I have drawn have been treated seriously, and so I have felt that my work was valued.
Pedro Deus also gave us his account of his diverse experience in the HR department:
I am involved in almost every HR process: Recruitment and Selection, Training, Human Resources Management, Internal Communication, and Corporate Social Responsibility. Cintra offers challenging and interesting projects, an international and good working environment, as well as personal and professional development.
He believes it all translated to the next central theme of the Challenge Program, being the sense of unity and cooperation that is to be understood and respected in a corporate environment such as that of Cintra’s. Ran Jan felt the same about the importance of unity and the interconnectivity of Cintra, saying:
For Cintra, designing, building, finance, operations, and maintenance, every part is tightly connected to each other, and understanding the big picture helped me to understand the purpose of each task I was assigned and to know I am contributing.
In the end, it is all about people
Sure, everything the interns learn as participants in the Challenge Program has real, practical applications. They travel, they experiment, and they get involved in wide array of projects and activities, but perhaps the most important lesson learned is how to work together and interact with people. João Santos sums up the experience quite nicely:
I had the opportunity to work in high level projects, to work with international teams and to really learn a lot! But on top of all that, I had the opportunity to meet and work with truly outstanding people!
And it really is all those things and more. So, if you like what you heard and are eager to learn, why not apply? There is a whole world of possibilities awaiting you.