- Students will gain practical work experience and transferable, marketable skills while earning credits towards graduation.
- Students will generate a positive attitude for work and increase self-confidence.
- Students will establish appropriate career goals and ease the transition from secondary school to further education or work.
- Students will gain practical experience with technology and other workplace equipment.
- Students will develop appropriate interpersonal skills.
- Students will form a positive work ethic.
The Co-op Program is divided into 3 components:
- Work Placement
- In-class Integration
THE PRE-PLACEMENT COMPONENT
All Co-operative Education students participate in a pre-placement session of approximately 20 – 30 hours that emphasizes skills necessary to succeed in a competitive interview process and to begin a new job. The pre-placement component has students in the classroom each day for 2 full periods for approximately 3-4 weeks (depending on when the student finds a placement). Topics covered in pre-employment include:
- Expectations of Co-op
- Job Preparation
- Self-Assessment/Personality Dimensions
- Resume writing / Cover Letters / Application Forms
- The Job Interview
- Health and Safety
- Human Rights and Harassment
- Logs / Journal Writing
THE WORK PLACEMENT COMPONENT
It is the responsibility of the student to ensure that the total number of co-op hours (minimum of 180 hours) is attained and to complete the contract according to the date written on the work education agreement. Students usually spend half days (a.m. or p.m.) at the work placement for the semester. This scheduling is dependent on their in-school timetable. In most situations, the students will spend a minimum of 3 – 31/2 hours per day in their work placements. Each employer will receive a calendar outlining in-school days, school holidays and work schedule.
In order to provide the student and the employer with the best possible Co-op experience, a personalized learning plan will be developed by the teacher, the student, and the employer. The plan will outline the work skills, specific tasks, and responsibilities of the student while at the work placement. This plan will be begun by the third week of work placement.
The Co-op teacher will be responsible for monitoring the student at the work placement a minimum of 3 times per credit over the course of the placement. Employers will also complete an evaluation of the initial interview as well as performance appraisals over the work term. Students must complete time sheets and journals every week and return them to the Co-op teacher at the designated location by the designated time.
THE INTEGRATION COMPONENT:
While at their workplaces students will return to the classroom one-half day approximately every second week to participate in integration activities. The purpose of integration is to ensure the student is reflecting on a number of issues related to the co-op placement and the experience, and to provide the student with some on-going support and the ability to network and share their experiences with their peers. Topics will include:
- Teamwork and Communication
- Initiative and Positive Attitude
- Conflict Resolution
- Emotional Well- Being
- Effective goal Setting
- Self-Awareness and Self-Image/Esteem
- Successful job search strategies
- Co-op Promotional Poster
- Unions and Federations
- Employer Thank You Reception
In-school Related Responsibilities:
- Regular attendance every day during pre-placement session in September/February as well as integration sessions as scheduled in your outline from your teacher
- Submit weekly activity sheet and journals every Monday
- Submit employer evaluations on the specified dates
- Complete a Co-op Promotional Poster (scheduled once per semester)
Out-of-school Related Responsibilities:
Before students start their placements, they will sign a Work Education Agreement Form, which will outline their responsibilities. These include:
- Regular attendance and punctuality both in school and on-the-job
- Completing all required assignments both in school and on-the-job
- Abiding by the rules of the company where the student is placed as well as school rules and regulations
- Working the agreed-upon hours and dates as per Work Education Agreement Form
- Working in a courteous, honest and business-like manner
- Meeting employer expectations of dress and behaviour
- Adhering to company health and safety standards and regulations
- Notifying training supervisors and co-op teacher well before starting time if unable to report to work due to illness or injury
- Reporting any workplace accidents immediately to both the employer and the teacher
- Maintaining strict confidentiality regarding workplace matters
When employers agree to accept co-op students at the workplace, they accept several responsibilities. These include:
- Providing the student with the type of training outlined in the PPLP as determined by the teacher and the employer
- Providing a safe working environment and safety instruction
- Accepting the student as a regular trainee and providing a full orientation
- Keeping accurate, signed records of attendance, lates and days absent for evaluation purposes
- Completing a minimum of two student evaluations per term to be shared with the student and submitted by the student as required