Article

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

It’s a formula that works: employers looking for innovative short-term support find success by hiring students through BC co-operative education programs—and both parties reap the benefits.

What is Co-operative Education?

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

Co-op is based on a shared relationship between a university, student and employer. Co-op students gain valuable hands-on experience in their field while you, the employer, benefit from students’ 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 offers you an opportunity to gain short-term help on specific projects and effectively conduct a four-month interview 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 and innovate new ideas

What’s the Role of the Employer?

As an employer, you will develop work term goals with the student, help him or her to achieve learning objectives and evaluate the student’s progress at the middle and end of the work term. Our co-op coordinators will help you support the student and make sure the opportunity is rewarding for everyone involved.

Co-op students are required to write a work term report for each work term, which is marked by the co-op coordinator or a faculty member. If the report contains confidential information, the employer will often mark the report.

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 any time. Co-op work terms are typically four months long, but students sometimes work for one employer for more than one work term.

Co-op Costs

As a co-op employer, you set a salary based on student skills, employer resources and industry standards. Standard salaries may vary depending on the student’s skill level and year of study. You can discuss salary options with a co-op coordinator.

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

Learn More

Want to know more? Take advantage of Small Business BC’s wide selection of seminars for entrepreneurs and small to medium-sized business owners. Space is limited, so don’t miss your chance to register today.

Plus, don’t forget that you can meet one-on-one with an expert to get specific information that applies to your business by booking an appointment with Small Business BC’s Ask an HR Professional service now.