Hard work is paying off for Carleton’s Co-op students – in greater numbers too. Carleton University’s Co-operative Education (Co-op) program has collected its fall 2016 employment information and the number of co-op positions secured by Carleton students has increased 12 per cent when compared to this time last year.
While this number may change as more positions are reported, it follows a trend set by a successful summer for Carleton co-op students that also saw a year-over-year increase in positions.
Though individual academic programs experience varying degrees of student uptake in co-op options, overall enrolment in the program has also increased.
Julie Bebbington, manager of the Co-operative Education Program, notes that the advantages of the program continue to attract students.
“Students are focused on building work experience in their field while they are still in school and this program is a great way for them to lay the foundation for their future careers,” she said. “As well, tuition is expensive. Participating in the co-op program can help students pay for their schooling while testing out if this area of study is right for them.”
She notes that while students are participating in the competitive program in greater numbers, there are also more jobs being posted and secured by Carleton. Bebbington credits this development as the result –in part – of a redesign of the Co-operative Education office.
“A couple of years ago we reorganized the co-op program. Now our office is organized into two groups – one that focuses on advising and coaching students, and the other is focused on developing relationships with employers and makes the case for them to post their co-op positions with Carleton,” she said. “As a result, the program is getting better and better.”
Qualifying for the program is competitive. For undergraduates, students must meet a program-specific minimum cumulative grade point average, complete an introductory co-op course and be enrolled as a full-time student. While the co-op program coaches students on resumé writing and the job search, ultimately the onus for securing a job falls to the individual.
By using the online job-posting portal, students are able to select and apply to a host of opportunities for their work term. After the selection and interview process, offers of employment are viable for 48 hours while students decide whether to accept.
While the program is rigorous, the result is that participants tend to attract more potential employers.
“Our strong students are great ambassadors for the program and encourage employers to take on more co-op students,” said Bebbington.
As the popularity of work-integrated learning increases, more areas of study are adding co-op as an option. While the notion of a work term is well-established in the business and engineering fields, programs with recently added co-ops include the BA in psychology and the BSc (Honours) in physical geography and geomatics, among others.