By Johanne Adam
The University’s CO-OP Program is rapidly gaining in popularity. Some 2,575 gained invaluable work experience through the program in 2015. That is a record number of student placements since the CO‑OP Program began 35 years ago.
This year, 456 organizations offered jobs to students enrolled in the program. Although most employers were from the public sector in the National Capital Region, a significant number of positions were filled in the para-public and private sectors, as well as in non-governmental organizations (NGOs) at the local, national and international levels. According to 2015 statistics, we achieved a placement rate of 94%, with 11% of work placements being outside of the national capital.
A good number of the positions were quite remarkable, as reported by Doug Spencer, a Political Science student who was hired as a media relations intern for the NHL’s Tampa Bay Lightning hockey team. In addition to spending a few winter months in sunny Florida, he had the opportunity to work with public figures like Don Cherry, Mike Emrick of NBC, and TSN sports announcers. “It was surreal; these are people I grew up watching and now I’m on the same playing field with them,” he said to the Gazette in June.
History/Geography student Rebecca Tranquilli-Doherty described her experience, saying “Dependability, responsibility and accountability are all character traits that I was able to develop at an exponential rate compared to my other classmates who did not take part in the CO-OP Program.”
Khadijah Amhad, a student in Biomedical Mechanical Engineering, was equally thrilled: “My first work term has been an excellent experience because not only did it give me the chance to work with professional engineers and machinists, it has also taught me an innumerable amount of things which cannot be taught in even the most advanced of classrooms.”
The reason the CO-OP Program has been a tremendous success is that there is a growing demand for education programs based on the work-integrated learning model. The same is true for volunteer programs and global and community engagement programs, because they allow students to get involved beyond the classroom while gaining experience.
“The challenge, however, lies in recruiting more employers to meet the demand,” says Gaby St-Pierre, Director of Co-operative Education Programs. “We also want to provide a high standard of service from start to finish to the students and employers involved.”
CO-OP Program and Career Development Centre amalgamate
The CO-OP Program and Career Development Centre (CDC) have joined forces. They now form one large team whose goal is to improve student services. Students now have access to a broad range of professional development services and resources in one place.
The CO-OP Program and CDC are jointly promoting job opportunities for students and new graduates. So keep on the lookout for the various activities, job fairs and workshops planned for this year. As always, the goal is to enhance the student experience!