Co-op students throughout British Columbia will benefit from $1.3 million in one-time funding to the 16 public post-secondary institutions offering co-op education programs, following the launch of Co-op Week celebrations.
“Co-op provides students with opportunities to apply their learning and acquire employment-ready skills in a related field,” said Advanced Education Minister Andrew Wilkinson. “Our government is working with public post-secondary institutions to connect students with employers so that they can get the experience that they need for in-demand careers.”
The funding provides $75,000 to each institution to support outreach to more employers and increase employer and student awareness of the benefits of co-op placements. An additional $100,000 will be provided to the Association for Co-operative Education BC/Yukon (ACE), which is a non-profit organization that works with public post-secondary institutions in B.C. that offer co-operative education programs.
“We are proud to work with students, employers and post-secondary institutions in B.C. to build a strong foundation of work experience,” said Claudia Sperling, president of ACE. “Co-op placements provide students with the valuable, hands-on learning that will benefit their chosen careers.”
Co-op education combines academic studies with paid work experience in career-related fields. Co-op students have opportunities to apply their learning, gain employment-related skills, and make connections with employers, better preparing them for entry into the workforce.
“After co-op education, I feel more confident as a professional,” said Maria Tepina, ACE Co-op Student of the Year for B.C. in 2015. “It is especially important for me as an international student because without Canadian work experience it is a big challenge to find a job and build a career.”
Employers benefit from the energy, fresh ideas, knowledge and skills of co-op students. Co-op also provides employers with the opportunity to assess new talent for future recruitment after graduation.
“Carmanah’s future strength will come from hiring the best and brightest and immersing them in our corporate culture as soon as possible in their careers,” said John Simmons, CEO of Carmanah Technologies Corp. “Co-op programs allow us to do just that. We preview great candidates during co-op work terms, which lead directly to superlative new post-graduation employees.”
Government support for co-operative education aligns with commitments in the BC Jobs Plan, #BCTech Strategy and B.C.’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint. Co-op programs are offered across many program areas, including programs leading to the range of occupations needed in the technology sector.
“Learning through experience and following your curiosity is what helps to shape a scientist,” said Ainsleigh Hill, physics and biochemistry student and one of the University of Victoria Co-op Students of the Year for 2015. “This, I believe, is the essence of co-op. Through co-op, I've been able to apply my interest in science to real-life problems.”
B.C. Co-op Week runs from March 14-18, 2016.
- Between now and 2024, British Columbia expects to have almost one million job openings.
- Approximately 42% of job openings will require college education or apprenticeship training.
- 36% will require university and/or significant work experience.
- 18% will require high school and/or occupation-specific training.
The Association for Co-operative Education BC/Yukon (ACE): http://www.co-op.bc.ca/
BC Jobs Plan: http://engage.gov.bc.ca/bcjobsplan/
#BCTech Strategy: https://bctechstrategy.gov.bc.ca/
B.C.‘s Skills for Jobs Blueprint: https://www.workbc.ca/Training-Education/B-C-s-Skills-for-Jobs-Blueprint/Learn-about-Blueprint.aspx
A backgrounder follows.