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At Celestica, young employees have opportunities to gain exposure to different parts of the company and interact with senior leaders through its rotational programs.Supplied

It was a moment, says Indjot Sandhar, when he was “definitely nervous.” Just six months earlier, he had been hired at Celestica after graduating with a bachelor of commerce from McMaster University. Not long after, he was making a pitch of a project he was leading in front of the chief financial officer of this global tech giant.

Not to worry: it went so well, the company implemented the proposal and continues to save hundreds of person-hours every year as a result.

“That was a huge experience for me,” says Sandhar, who two years later is a senior analyst in corporate development and investor relations. “Coming in, I didn’t know I would have such a big impact. I’ve had visibility into some pretty important initiatives.”

In fact, says chief human resources officer Leila Wong, the whole company is set up to offer a wide range of experiences to young people. As the Toronto-based manufacturer of sophisticated electronic hardware – from high-end servers and switches to aviation, defence and electric vehicle components – it operates in some 16 countries. In Canada, roles can include areas such as engineering, supply chain management and corporate support, among many others.

“Through our global network, employees have endless opportunities to build their experience and grow their career at Celestica,” Wong says. “You’re collaborating with a lot of different diverse people from all over the world. That’s a really meaningful thing right now for young people.”

As if echoing Sandhar, she adds: “The input we receive from young people is they didn’t realize how much opportunity there really is and how extensive the company is. They join thinking it’s a couple of hundred people they’re going to be dealing with but it’s really 27,000 people worldwide.”

Sandhar joined Celestica as part of its highly competitive graduate development program in finance, doing two one-year rotations. It was in the first, in corporate financial planning and analysis, that he was asked to do a cost-benefit analysis on the process that provides senior management preliminary views on quarterly actuals. He found one of the three reviews could be eliminated, and after hearing him, the CFO agreed.

After a second rotation in internal audit, Sandhar was posted to his current, permanent role, where again, he says, he has significant responsibilities, including involvement in valuations of potential acquisitions. And he has a lot of exposure to the senior leadership team, he adds.

“That exposure is very important and it motivates me at the same time. It kind of puts me in a position where I want to be in their shoes one day.”

Wong says the company takes in about 100 interns annually at its three Greater Toronto locations, including some remotely across the country, for periods of anywhere from four to 18 months. There are rotational programs in several areas, including IT as well as finance.

Celestica looks for “technologically skilled people,” says Wong, no matter their role or experience. “There’s a wide range of different types of talent and experience levels we’re looking for. With the interns, they are learning new things at school, they’ve got ideas and they have really good, innovative thinking. We do like the mix of interns and experienced people.”

The company is highly collaborative across every level, she says. “We try to dispel the notion that we have hierarchies within the company, that there may be a person too senior to approach.”

Sandhar agrees. “I’ve found it to be really true that anyone’s office doors are open. Even with busy schedules, people will make time for you.”

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Advertising feature produced by Canada’s Top 100 Employers, a division of Mediacorp Canada Inc. The Globe and Mail’s editorial department was not involved.

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