Hiring Co-op Students – Why It’s Good for Business

It’s a formula that’s known to work: employers looking for short-term support find success by hiring students through BC’s co-operative education program, and both parties reap the benefits. Learn more about hiring co-op students and what you can gain from the program:

What Is Co-operative Education?

Co-operative education, or co-op, is an innovative learning strategy where students alternate study terms with work experience in their field of interest.

Co-op is based on a shared relationship between a university, student, and employer. Students gain invaluable hands-on experience, build their network, develop practical skills, and more. And you, the employer, benefit from their energy, fresh ideas, and hard work.

How Can Co-op Help You?

Co-op provides a flexible and cost-effective way to hire new employees. It allows you to gain short-term help on specific projects and effectively conduct a four to eight-month trial run with a potential job candidate.

Benefits include:

  • Flexibility – Students can help you initiate new projects, complete existing projects, or provide relief during peak periods.
  • Higher retention – Many employers hire former co-op students in full-time positions. This translates to lower recruitment and training costs, as well as higher employee retention.
  • Energy and ideas – Co-op provides you with a year-round supply of enthusiastic student employees who are excited to bring new ideas to your workplace.
  • Community relations – Co-op employers are encouraged to exchange ideas and innovate.

What’s Your Role As the Employer?

As the employer, you’ll develop work term goals with your co-op student, help them achieve those goals, and evaluate their progress in the middle and end of their work term. Co-op coordinators help you support the student and ensure the experience is rewarding for everyone involved.

Co-op students are required to write a work term report for each term, which is reviewed by a co-op coordinator or faculty member from their school. If the report contains confidential information, the employer will often mark the report or another accommodation will be made.

When Are Co-op Students Available?

Co-op students are available year-round. Work terms generally begin in January, May, and September, but job descriptions are accepted at any time. Co-op work terms are typically four to eight months long, as students sometimes work for an employer for more than one term consecutively.

How Much Does Co-op Cost?

As the co-op employer, you may set a salary based on the student’s skills, year of study, your resources, or industry standards. You can discuss salary options further with a co-op coordinator.

There’s no doubt that becoming a co-op employer is a win-win: you nurture students’ education and welcome those who will excel in your workplace.

Small Business BC is Here to Help

SBBC is a non-profit resource centre for BC-based small businesses. Whatever your idea of success is, we’re here to provide holistic support and resources at every step of the journey. Check out our range of business webinars, on-demand E-Learning Education, our Talk to an Expert Advisories, or browse our business articles.