According to the York Region District School Board, “Co-op is educational programming that integrates classroom theory with practical experience in the workplace. Programming is based on a partnership between the school and a business or community organization.” Co-op provides students with an opportunity to develop knowledge, skills and attitudes through hands-on experience, and to more closely explore a career in order to make informed educational and career decisions. Their time at a placement helps students strengthen employability skills, gain valuable work experience and develop networking connections, as well as increasing their chances of admission into post-secondary institutions.
From a student’s perspective, co-op is a chance to personalize your learning experience, furthering your intelligence advantage in a certain field. Being physically put into the job area of your choice for five months learning the ins and outs of the business allows students to get to know themselves and whether or not their dream career is right for them. Personally I am so glad this option is available because it is a shortcut through spending thousands of dollars on universities and post-secondary programs in order to pursue a career you have never spent a day working in.
In my opinion, I wish more high school students took advantage of the incredible opportunity at hand, preparing themselves for their future within a safe, constructive environment. Through the school and a community business, students are pushed for the best working with encouraging, influential mentor figures where it is safe to make mistakes and learn from them without the pressure that comes with a legitimate paying job. Within the co-operative education program students expand their knowledge, skills, and confidence while broadening opportunities for their future endeavours.
– Kayla McLaughlin
CO-OPERATIVE EDUCATION AT A GLANCE
WHAT IS IT?
A program that allows students to apply two co-op credits towards their compulsory high school graduation requirements, with no limit on earning optional co-op credits.
WHO IS IT FOR?
Students who are heading for university, college, apprenticeship or the workplace.
HOW DOES IT HELP?
Students have the opportunity to:
Experience hands-on learning
“Test-drive” career options
See the relevance of their classroom learning
Develop the essential skills and habits required in the workplace
Gain valuable work experience to help build a resumé for postsecondary programs and future employment
Government of Ontario Fact Sheet on Co-operative Education