A foot in the door before graduation
Co-ops provide students critical experience in their chosen industries
“Do you have any work experience?” is one of the first questions asked at a job interview. For more than 1,200 Seneca students, the answer is a guaranteed “Yes.”
Forty-three programs, across the College’s faculties include a one semester, full-time cooperative learning opportunity, or “co-op.” This approach incorporates a practical work placement into a student’s academic experience and help students understand the day-to-day of their chosen fields.
The growing number of Seneca co-op placements has made Susan Soikie, Manager, Co-Operative Education and Internships, more than busy. Since joining Seneca in December 2011, she’s become an expert in mapping career destinations for thousands of students and connecting them with the right employers. And with new degree programs in Business Management and International Business, the co-op portfolio is expected to grow by 40 per cent. Susan’s only going to get busier, but she doesn’t mind.
“A co-op placement is invaluable for students,” says Susan. “It gives them an advantage because they receive tangible work experience and networking opportunities.”
Seneca is known a leader in co-operative education. Historically co-op placements have been concentrated in technology-based programs. Now, all faculties are recognizing the value, and co-op experiences are available to students in all academic areas. For employers, providing co-ops is a win-win opportunity.
“Employers are almost always interested,” says Susan. “For them, it is a short-term hiring solution, and they meet innovative students, who can offer a fresh perspective on things happening in the industry.
Seneca actively supports students throughout the entire co-op placement process, treating it like a formal job search. Every student participates in a mock interview and has their resumes critiqued prior to meeting potential employers. Placements are posted, and students apply and are formally interviewed. By the time they begin their co-ops, they will have developed career-finding skills, which will benefit them for the rest of their working lives.
Seneca 2012 co-op student of the year Kijeong Kim was thrilled with the experience and networks he obtained during his co-op with Research in Motion.
“My experience gave me great insight into the Canadian job market and helped me develop many connections,” he says.
Hire a Co-op Student
Are you an alum looking to hire a co-op student? 416.491.5050 ext. 33063 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Co-op by the Numbers
1,200: Number of Seneca co-op students in 2011/12
1,300: Number of employers who have hired Seneca’s co-op students over the last three years
2: Number of annual awards given for outstanding co-op students and mentors. In 2011, 40 nominations were received in each category.
43 – Number of programs at Seneca that include co-ops
4 out of 5 – Number of new labour market entrants who come from college or university
$3,000 - Value of tax credit available for co-op employers (non governmental) per student for each work term
11 – Number of co-op coordinators at Seneca