Grad profile

Mandip Sondh

Mandip Sondh. Photo by Greg Ehlers.

A near-fatal accident inspired Mandip Sondh to pursue a career protecting others from harm. Photo by Greg Ehlers.

“When someone’s passionate about what they want to do, they’re going to do whatever it takes to get there.”

As a kid, like many of his friends, Mandip Sondh wanted to be a police officer when he grew up. Then, at age 12, years before he discovered the field of occupational health and safety, a near-fatal accident changed his life—and cemented his ambition to keep others safe and protected from harm.

Today, in his new role as health and safety officer at Seaspan in North Vancouver, Mandip keeps workers safe by mitigating on-the-job risks during construction of naval vessels. This includes conducting site audits to ensure employees are wearing proper safety equipment, and creating safety procedures around confined spaces and other potential hazards. In addition to feeling connected to his work, what Mandip loves most about his job is its diverse and changing nature:

“It’s such a dynamic field. That’s the fun part about it; I don’t know what to expect. It’s never the same day, and I’m learning so much. I feel very fortunate. After six months, I’m just as excited as the first day I started.”

Although relatively new to the industry, Mandip knew he had the passion and drive to forge ahead in his career. When a friend told him about the Occupational Health and Safety program at SFU, he was thrilled to find training that fit his educational needs as an entry-level professional. 

Mandip’s classmates ranged from fellow industry newcomers, to professionals with years of applied experience. He particularly enjoyed the varied group discussions, and connecting with others who share his passion for safety. One friend even helped him find his current role at Seaspan.

“I learned so much at SFU,” he recalls. “The teachers were great—helpful, knowledgeable and very passionate. I’m still using things I learned in the program, and I apply that to my work every day.”

Once he has gained more work experience, Mandip plans to pursue his CRSP certification and keep moving forward in his career.

“The program is a great way to get started if you’re just entering the field, but don’t stop there,” he advises prospective students. “Keep getting the training and applied experience, and keep educating yourself.”

For Mandip, and the safety profession in general, communication is key to connecting with people and being able to make an impact. Having developed his communication and leadership skills throughout the program, Mandip looks forward to the challenge of inspiring others to value the importance of safety.

“When someone’s passionate about what they want to do, they’re going to do whatever it takes to get there,” he says. “I want to see how far I can get, how many people I can influence, how much I can change the culture and safety climate.”

“When someone’s passionate about what they want to do, they’re going to do whatever it takes to get there.”

More about Mandip

Are you watching any fun shows right now?

I really love Brooklyn Nine-Nine!

What are you currently reading?

I’m reading a book about happiness. It’s very important that you define what happiness is to you. To me, happiness is when you forget about everything else. It’s not a material thing—it’s a metaphysical thing. When you define what happiness means to you, you’ll understand how to get there. If you don’t define it, you’ll just be running in circles.

Do you have any hidden talents or special interests?

I love playing all kinds of sports: basketball, soccer, baseball. I also enjoy writing.

Where is your favourite place that you’ve travelled to?

The farthest I’ve been is Calgary! But I’m going to Mexico soon, and hopefully India next year.