The Co-op Option enables students to receive degrees with enhanced levels of hands-on training.
Students taking a 3-year degree now have the opportunity to integrate their summer work into their studies. Those taking a 4-year degree have the opportunity to follow their first 3 years with an intensive 4th year focused primarily on experience-based learning.
Benefitting Both Students and Businesses
The Co-op Option has inter-related purposes for students and for the business community:
- To enrich and integrate the educational experience of students
- To increase the employability of students as they graduate
- To increase the value of the Business Administration program to the business community
Enrichment & Integration
Undergraduate business students often bring only a limited work experience into the classroom. Most have only worked in low-skill, entry-level positions. As a result, they may have difficulty imagining themselves in management and decision-making roles. The experience of entry-level management positions, with the decision-making requirements of those positions, will help students see how what they are learning in the school applies in the workplace.
Just as valuable will be the ability to bring real-world situations and experiences into classroom discussions, reading assessments, and case simulations.
The experience of working in new situations will also enable them to grow both personally and professionally. It will help them develop self-confidence and maturity in work settings. It will enable them to explore careers they are considering pursuing—both to learn where they might fit, and where they might not.
Co-operative work experience increases employability because it:
- Hones students’ work skills, focusing those skills on practical application.
- Enables students to credibly claim job experience when they apply for work as they graduate.
- Provides students with connections in the business community.
Most co-op programs find that a significant number of students are hired by their co-op placement.
Value to Business Community
Employers have difficulty finding skilled and motivated employees, especially when they are looking for potential managers and leaders. This program will put participating employers in direct contact with potential hires. The program will enable senior managers to act as mentors to potential new hires.
Some employers may also use advanced co-op students to work on projects which their staff may not have the time to pursue.
As well, because students graduating from this program will have practical experience, they will be able to more quickly provide value to their employer after they are hired.