What is Co-op?
Co-op is a partnership between employers, students, and post-secondary learning institutions. Co-op provides a work-based learning experience to students. This work experience will further develop employability competencies and integrates the practices and skills gained during classroom studies. Furthermore, co-op connects the student with industry practitioners and establishes the foundations of the student’s employment skills. A co-op work term is an employer paid progressive work opportunity of 16 weeks/500 hours. The Co-op experience is monitored by the College, supervised, and evaluated by the employer.
Co-op education alternates full-time study terms with full time work terms throughout the academic program. Traditionally, co-op work terms run May through August each year (with some program exceptions).
You can help the Co-op and Employment Services Coordinator learn more about what type of work placement you might be interested in by completing the Co-op Option Student Request Application prior to the info session!
Programs with the Co-op Option:
- Adventure Tourism Business Operations Diploma
- Associate of Science Associate Degree
- Associate of Science – Environmental Science Associate Degree
- Associate of Arts Associate Degree
- Accounting Diploma
- Bachelor of Business Administration Degree
- Biology and Medicine Pre-Major Associate Degree
- Criminal and Social Justice Diploma
- Economics Pre-Major Associate Degree
- Financial Services Diploma
- General Management Diploma
- Kinesiology Diploma
- Marketing Diploma
- Recreation Management Diploma
- Social Work Pre-Major Associate Degree
- Tourism Management Diploma
Note: Our Hospitality Management program has a co-op component included in the program structure, therefore it is not included in the list above.
Benefits to Employers
- Access to highly motivated and capable students from many disciplines to perform specific tasks/projects.
- Co-op students could potentially be future employees.
- Reduced recruitment and hiring costs. Wage subsidies may be available to cover a portion of the employee’s wage and/or training costs: Where to get funding | ACE-WIL | Association for Co-operative Education and Work-Integrated Learning BC/Yukon (acewilbc.ca)
- Receive support from the COTR Co-op and Employment Services Office during the hiring process.
- Employers can select from a group of students who already have met the academic requirements.
- Employers can meet short-term needs.
- Permanent employees at the hiring organization may have the opportunity for gaining co-op student supervision skills, mentoring a co-op student.
- Co-op students bring enthusiasm and a host of new ideas and approaches which can have a positive effect in the workplace.
- Employer’s feedback influences the educational process, their suggestions help to improve the pre-employment training received by students.
- Ongoing support/consultation from College Faculty Placement Supervisor.
- Co-op work experiences must focus on learning, be meaningful and show continued career progression.
- The co-op student is legally treated like any other seasonal, temporary, or paid employee under the Canadian Employment Standards Act.
- Employers must provide a safe workplace for the co-op student.
- The co-op student should follow the expected guidelines as indicated in an employee guide and training.
- Employers need to provide orientation (including safety and equipment orientation) during the start of the co-op work term.
- Employers must assign a supervisor to mentor and provide support to the co-op student, including formal evaluations and feedback.
- Employers are expected to assist the co-op student to achieve their individual co-op learning goals and objectives.
- Employers must cooperate with the institution during the co-op work term, including being available for site visits and regular communication.
- Employers are expected to participate in scheduled evaluations of the co-op student. A structured evaluation report format document will be provided.
- The employer shall be responsible for maintaining comprehensive general liability insurance with respect to the liability of the company and of the student worker under the co-op work experience.
Co-op Education Employer Handbook
Download a pdf version of the Co-op Education Employer Handbook
Benefits for Students
- Enhances a well-rounded education
- Gains relevant employment skills & realistic expectations of the work force
- Broadens understanding of career options
- Increases maturity and self-esteem
- Provides documented practical experience
- Increases job search skills & networking opportunities
- Provides financial remuneration to help with educational costs
A co-op student must take ownership of their own learning during Co-op term. Co-op is an opportunity to grow and learn from industry professionals.
- Completes a pre-employment training program (COOP 100) (receive 1 credit)
- Secures co-op employment opportunity (with support of Co-op & Employment Services Office)
- Registers and pays tuition for (COOP 150 – Co-op Work Term)
- Completes 500 paid employment hours
- Complies to all the conditions and rules that apply to employees in the organization
- Exercises ethical workplace conduct
- Sets goals for learning
- Works on enhancing their academic, professional, and personal skills
- Maintains employer confidentiality
- Accepts feedback, suggestions for improvement in a positive manner
- Participates in work-site visits
- Works in a professional manner
- Advises employer and their coordinator of any concerns or problems with their work assignment or environment as soon as an issue arises
- Keeps in contact with their Co-op and Employment Services Office
Co-op Education Student Handbook
Download a pdf version of the Co-op Education Student Handbook
How the Co-op and Employment Services Office can assist you
The Co-op and Employment Services Office is the link between the employer and student. The Co-op and Employment Services Office:
- Develops a working relationship between the employer, student, and institution.
- Prepares students and employers for the co-op work term.
- Provides guidance to employers and students throughout the hiring process.
- Monitors student placements to ensure all parties’ needs are being met.
- Works with the employer and student to resolve any challenges should they arise.
- Treats students and employers equitably through the placement process.
How can I become a Co-op Option Student?
- You must be a domestic student in good academic standing (Due to Visa restrictions, co-op is not currently open to international students unless co-op is built in to the structure of the program.
- You must have completed or be completing 24 credits/year-1 of a two-year diploma, or four-year degree program by end of the winter semester enrolled in one of the 14 co-op option approved programs.
- You must successfully complete the COOP 100 Preparatory course prior to securing a co-op work term position.
- You must be available May through August for the Co-op Work Term (COOP 150)
- Meet the above requirements
- Complete the online Co-op Option Student Request Form
Once your Co-op Option Student Request Form has been received, you will receive an email from the Co-op and Employment Services Office confirming your eligibility along with an Admission Form to take to Registration to register for COOP 100. Your email will include additional information.
COOP-100 – Workplace Readiness for Co-op ExperienceThis course prepares students for co-op employment success. Workshop and classroom activities will develop employability skills and job search skills while also preparing the student for contemporary workplace expectations of professionalism and conflict resolution. Students will also be introduced to the reporting requirements of the co-op experience in preparation for a work semester.
- Minimum Credits: 1
- Length: 20 hours
- Prerequisites: 24 program credits completed or in progress.
- Delivery Method: ? Blended, On-campus
- Cost: $119.38
- Course Outline
COOP-150 – Industry Work (Co-op Work Experience)
The Co-op work placement provides a work-based learning experience and opportunity to students. This work placement will further develop employability competencies and enforce the practices and skills gained during classroom studies. Furthermore, this course connects the student with industry practitioners, building employment networks and establishing the foundations of the student’s employment history. An effective workplace environment supports students in developing skills which are essential to their future success.
- Minimum Credits: 3
- Length: 500 hours
- Prerequisites: Students must have completed COOP-100.
- Delivery Method: ? Off-site
- Cost: $358.14
- Course Outline
Note: These courses do not replace any other program requirements.
How can I hire a co-op student?
You have two options:
Student seeks you out
Connect with Co-op & Employment Services at College of the Rockies to discuss next steps. These generally include:
- Student – Seeking out co-op employment opportunity
- Employer/student determines if opportunity exists
- Employer – interviews the student to ensure they are a good fit
- Employer –offers a co-op Employment opportunity and student accepts the position. A copy of offer must be sent to Co-op and Employment Services Office to ensure the position meets the needs of a Co-op placement.
- Employer, Co-op Faculty Supervisor, and student connect to complete pre-employment package and to discuss co-op evaluation, and site visit activities.
Co-op Employer Info Request Form
Employer searches for a co-op student
Connect with Co-op & Employment Services Office at College of the Rockies to discuss next steps. These generally include:
- Employer works with the College to create a Co-op Placement Posting
- Employer posts position on online Co-op Board
- Students apply for co-op opportunity
- Employer – interviews the student to ensure they are a good fit
- Employer – offers a co-op Employment opportunity and the student accepts position. A copy of the offer must be sent to Co-op and Employment Services Office to review to ensure the position meets the needs of a co-op placement.
- Employer, Co-op Faculty Placement Supervisor, and student connect to complete pre-employment package, and to discuss co-op evaluations, and site visit activities.
- Student completes co-op work term with the support of College Faculty Co-op supervisor and Employer Supervisor.