What is Co-op Education?
Co-operative education or Co-op is a program that gives students the opportunity to gain work-related experience by working while studying as part of their curriculum.
As the name suggests, Co-op programs are cooperation initiatives between higher education entities and major organizations and industry leaders in different fields that will give students academic work-related experience that will help them transition in to the workforce after they graduate.
Students enrolled in a co-op program will study full time for one semester and work full time the second semester in their field of study at least once. The program might extend for a whole year.
The time spent working for a co-op program provider will be counted towards the student’s credits.
Benefits of Co-op Education
There are great benefits from Co-op programs and I highly recommend students apply for it if their program of choice offers it.
One great benefit is that students will apply their earned knowledge at the university or college to real life work. This will strengthen their understanding of the subject they are studying and will enhance their skills in many aspects. This is also considered a work experience which you can add to your resume.
By joining a co-op program, you will have an excellent opportunity to show your employer your potential and what you are capable of doing. If you manage to prove yourself to be invaluable to the employer, then you might stand a chance of getting yourself hired after you graduate. It’s a remarkable opportunity that you should not miss.
For international students, the benefit here is that they will gain international work experience that will be beneficial to them when they return home and look for a job. They can sure add this to their resume which will boost their chances of getting a job.
Students will also benefit by gaining great contacts from their work experience that might be beneficial to them in the future. Co-op programs are an extraordinary opportunity to build a network of contacts that you might need to turn to when you look for a job.
One great benefit is that students can make some income that will help them pay next semester’s tuition or part of it. Co-op programs are paid programs as students work full-time. Even if the pay is lesser than the actual employee, you will still have some financial benefits here.
Check out more benefits of co-operative education for students, employers, and institutions as listed by the Co-operative Education and Work-Integrated Learning Canada
Are you eligible for a Co-op in Canada?
Here is all the details you need to determine your eligibility for a co-op in Canada as per Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC), now called Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC):
Courses offering co-op education
Courses offering co-op education differ from one university to another and one college to another. You need to contact the university or college to see if your program of interest offers co-op programs and how to apply for it.
With tough job markets worldwide and increasing competition, it is highly recommended you apply for co-op programs while in college/university. This will be of great benefit when searching for a job after graduation.
Work experience is now a requirement and in high demand, unlike before when employers wouldn’t mind offering the hired fresh graduate training and development for few months before they can actually perform their duties and are held accountable for their jobs.
If you are a student, speak to your advisor and take advantage now.
If you have any feedback or comment, I’d love to hear from you.