By Angela Espinoza, News Editor
“Did you know” informs Douglas students about college services. If you’re part of a campus organization for students and want to raise awareness, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Cooperative Education, or co-op, is a service offered by Douglas College that gives students the opportunity to receive training in a career area of their choice.
Co-op provides students with the experience of “working in the field” while simultaneously working on their courses.
Prior to getting involved with a co-op opportunity, placement officer Lianne Johnston said, “All students need to do is attend an info session, usually the first or second week of each semester.”
Info sessions give students an idea of what their respective opportunity might entail, such as the type of work involved and those they’ll be working with.
“[There’s] quite a variety,” said Johnston of the options available. “Working with the BC Liquor Distribution Branch in an IT role or … an accounting student could work for an insurance underwriter. A BPEC (Bachelor of Physical Education and Coaching) student could work with the Whitecaps, or a business management student could work for a global car rental firm. Science students could work with Parks Canada, assisting with invasive plant species, or a marketing student could assist a wholesaler supplying wellness products.”
Johnston added that each opportunity and its respective associated program have their own set list of requirements. In addition, students must have “completed 18 program-related credits,” and be registered in nine credits upon application, along with at least a 2.33 grade-point average.
It’s important to remember that even after graduation or completion of a program, co-op opportunities are still available to students.
“A misconception for students is [that] co-op placements cannot happen in their final semester or after they graduate,” said Johnston. “Co-operative Education is designed for students to participate in a full-time, paid position between study semesters.”
Johnston encourages students to apply for co-op, and to take part in the info sessions as they occur.
“The opportunities I assist students to work in, while they are completing their programs, are transformational,” said Johnston. When students stop by my office to share their work experience, I notice a big difference with their personality. There is an air of confidence that did not exist before and faculty members often tell me the student is much more engaged in the classroom. Students remark they now have a better idea of what type of job or profession they want to move into once they graduate.”
Students can currently sign up for info sessions for the Fall 2015 semester on the cooperative education area of the Douglas College website.