EMPOWERING ENGINEERS IN THE MAKING. Xavier Ateneo's College of Engineering holds a "hard-hatting ceremony" at the Church of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary for its students who will go through their apprenticeship program. 

Article by Ian Louie Luyao (Chemical Engineering student) and Dean Dr Hercules R Cascon 
Pictures by Terence Maceren

The College of Engineering administration of Xavier University - Ateneo de Cagayan recently initiated the Engineering Apprenticeship Ceremony for its students at the Church of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Fondly called the “hard-hatting ceremony,” the event was meant to celebrate a milestone in the students’ lives as they begin the various apprenticeship programs mandated by their curriculum.

The parents of the qualified students were invited to walk with their children as they entered the church. They also participated in the celebratory mass as well as installed the hard hats on their son or daughter during the solemn and meaningful ceremony. 

The Engineering Apprenticeship Ceremony is all about honoring and celebrating engineering students’ hard work and dedication in their academic journey to become engineers.

More importantly, it marks a significant milestone wherein after finishing the required courses up to the 3rd- or 4th-year level of their chosen undergraduate engineering program, students are deemed ready to gain hands-on experience in the actual engineering practice through apprenticeship (on-the-job training, industry immersion, or internship) exposure in real workplace settings. 

The decision to formalize what was previously a direct school-to-apprenticeship program was a move to put a premium on the success of the student, the parents, and the administration in the education of the students, and to emphasize the active role the students have in their apprenticeship. 

This annual apprenticeship program sends students to engineering plants and companies all over the country and they may even choose to intern abroad. 

The majority of these students will be spending 300 hours in their respective plants or companies, being exposed to practical engineering situations where they can unify their technical and theoretical knowledge with hands-on experience.

Engineering students will all go through the practice in their fourth year, except for Chemical Engineering students who will begin their apprenticeship a year earlier.

The ceremony is scheduled to be continued in the coming years as the next batch of students starts their apprenticeship and as they come much closer to becoming engineers.∎

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READY FOR APPRENTICESHIP. Xavier Ateneo blesses the engineering students of Xavier Ateneo who are about to start their apprenticeship program in various plants and companies in the country and abroad. 


At the center of the apprenticeship ceremony are the following symbolisms: the hard hat, the celebration of the Holy Mass, and the imposition of hard hats on the apprentices by their parents or guardians. 

For apprentices working in the field, industrial plant, and similar locations, there is no accessory more essential and ever-present than the hard hat – making it appropriate to be adopted as the official symbol for the apprenticeship ceremony. The safety of the interns or apprentices during fieldwork exposure is of paramount importance and the hard hat is a simple instrument that helps protect one from bodily harm.

Aside from protecting the head, a hard hat provides workers with a distinctive profile, readily identifiable even in peripheral vision, for safety around equipment, or traffic. Hard hat colors can signify different roles on fieldwork sites, but the most common color scheme is white for managers, engineers, architects, foremen, or supervisors. The white color is most suitable for our apprentices as they are trained to become engineers, supervisors, or managers in the near future. 

As a brief history, the wearing of hard hat begun during the early years of the shipbuilding industry, possibly long before the start of the Christian era. Dock workers, in attempt to protect their heads from the constant danger of being hit by falling debris, covered their hats with tar and set them in the sun to cure and harden. By early 1900s, hard hats had become a common tool for industrial safety and today have become a mandatory component for safety apparel among engineers and technical personnel.

We celebrate this joyous occasion with a Holy Mass as a worshipful thanksgiving for the success of our students for making this far in their academic journey.

We also honor the steadfast support and guidance extended to them by their parents, faculty, and staff. During the Holy Mass, the hard hats are blessed and a special prayer for the apprentices is recited in keeping with the Jesuit tradition of putting God at the center of our noble mission of forming students to become “engineers for others” who are rooted in the Catholic faith and service.

Finally, we reserve the honor of hard hat imposition to our parents or guardians as a symbol of our respect and appreciation for their constant love, support, and guidance they provide to their sons and daughters. We also appreciate their generosity and trust in giving the Xavier Ateneo community an important role in the formation and education of their children.∎

ENGINEERING LOVE AND FAMILY. Xavier Ateneo  College of Engineering administration, led by dean Dr Hercules Cascon (second from the right), and some engineering students strike a wacky pose after the apprenticeship ceremony.