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What is the Co-operative Education Program?

Co-op image - shoes
Co-op is a learning strategy that lets students alternate terms in class with terms in paid positions related to their field of study. As UVic faculty and staff, you play a front-line role in the success of the UVic Co-op Program.

Co-op is truly a collaborative effort—UVic’s faculty, staff, co-op coordinators and employers all contribute to students’ intellectual, professional and personal development.

How does co-op benefit you?

  • As a faculty member: Find out how to use co-op in the classroom and help your students put their academic knowledge into practice.
  • As an employer: Hire a co-op student and benefit from new ideas and skills, increased productivity in the workplace and a deeper engagement with the university. You’ll receive professional co-op support every step of the way
  • As a UVic community member: Encourage your students to take part in co-op. They’ll graduate with relevant work experience, a great résumé, professional skills, contacts in their field, some extra cash and a career plan to navigate life after graduation

Let’s see some numbers

  • One in four UVic students takes part in the Co-op Program each year.
  • Co-op graduates are more likely to earn a higher salary than grads who didn’t take part in co-op.
  • In 2008/09, the average undergraduate co-op salary was $2,703/month; the average graduate co-op salary was more than $3,425/month.

Why hire a co-op student?

Cost-effective recruitment

Each work term gives you a four-month interview. Many employers hire former co-op students, which means lower recruitment and training costs and higher employee retention.

Flexibility

You'll have access to a year-round supply of enthusiastic, motivated student employees available for work terms beginning in January, May, and September. Co-op students let you undertake projects not funded in your base budget and serve as highly skilled relief workers during peak periods.

Access to resources

Co-op students are available from a wide range of academic disciplines. These students bring fresh ideas, new academic knowledge, and up-to-the-minute skills to your workplace.

Professional support

Every UVic co-op student has been through a screening and workplace preparation process. By hiring a UVic co-op student, you're also hiring a personalized, highly professional support system and a co-op coordinator who's there to help you with every stage of the process.

Community relationships

When you become a co-op employer, you forge a deeper partnership with UVic education. The work experience you’re providing helps equip co-op students with a passion for their community and a desire to contribute to the local economy.

How to hire a co-op student

  1. Submit your job description to our online co-op job board, or contact your Co-op and Career program if you’d like us to help you write it.
  2. Review the cover letters and résumés of student applicants and choose the most suitable candidates to interview. We’ll set up an interview schedule that works for you. You can interview students at your office, on campus, on the phone or through Skype.
  3. Tell us who you’d like to hire. We’ll contact the student and let you know if they accept the job offer. We’ll then ask you to send the student a letter to formalize the details.
Hire an international co-op student

Want to benefit from a global perspective, a diversified workplace or fluency in other languages? We host international students from all over the world. Hire an international co-op student through the UVic Co-op Program.

How much will co-op cost me?

Co-op and Career’s recruitment services are completely free. As a co-op employer, you’ll set your student employee’s salary based on the student’s skills, your organization’s resources and industry standards. For current salary ranges, just ask your co-op coordinator.

Under the terms of a collective agreement or the Employment Standards Act, you’ll also provide benefits: four per cent vacation pay or time off in lieu during the student's work term. For more information, check out British Columbia's Employment Standards Act.

Funding opportunities

We offer several funding programs to help co-op employers. Employer options are listed below. For student funding opportunities, visit our co-op funding page.

1) Service Learning Internship Program

If you work for a local community-based organization that collaborates with UVic on joint research projects and you want to hire a co-op student, you might qualify for the Service Learning Internship Program (SLIP). SLIP funding helps employers hire co-op students to do work that provides an excellent learning opportunity for the student and supports the local community.

The details

SLIP grants provide financial assistance to employers who are unable to offer competitive salaries. As an employer, you’ll normally receive a SLIP grant for no more than one co-op work term. SLIP will not cover the full cost of hiring a student—you’ll need to provide a minimum of 25 per cent of these costs. The maximum funding subsidy allowed is $1,750 per month.

The grant amount will be determined in consultation with your co-op coordinator. You are encouraged to pay the maximum salary that you can afford, and you’re responsible for providing four per cent vacation pay or time off in lieu.

Eligibility

To be eligible for SLIP funding, your organization must:

  • be part of a not-for profit organization, based on Vancouver Island or the Gulf Islands, that is working collaboratively with UVic
  • hold registered charity status
  • submit a letter of support and guarantee of mentoring from a UVic research faculty member who is working collaboratively with the organization (this faculty member will normally act as the student's mentor and meet with the student on a regular basis to review their progress)
How to apply
  • download an application form or pick one up at a Co-op and Career office
  • submit a letter from the participating faculty member that outlines the benefits of the project(s) to the university, the student and the community

Once you’ve completed and signed the form (as the employer) and it’s been signed by the co-op coordinator and the faculty member, you’ll submit your application to the executive director of the Co-operative Education Program. If the SLIP grant is approved, the UVic accounting office will mail the grant cheque to you. Normally, this will happen during the third week of each month for the duration of the work term. If employment is for less than a full month during any month of the work term, the cheque amount will be pro-rated.

When to apply
  • November 1 for January placement
  • March 1 for May placement
  • July 1 for September placement
2) ACCELERATE BC program

Interested in pursuing a joint research project with UVic? Through ACCELERATE BC, you can hire a graduate co-op student to spend half of a four-month work term researching a topic of interest to the student, their faculty supervisor and your company.

The details

ACCELERATE BC and you, the employer, will both contribute $7,500 for a four-month work term. The student will spend half the work term at your workplace and the other half at UVic, where they’ll work on research under the guidance of the faculty supervisor.

ACCELERATE BC is a chance to expand your company’s research and development, foster a deeper relationship with UVic and help out future collaborative projects. To learn more about ACCELERATE and its eligibility conditions, contact your co-op program or visit the ACCELERATE site.

3) Small Business Internship Program

This is an external program that is not run by UVic Co-op and Career. Small and medium businesses can apply for funding to help pay up to 75% of students' wages. For details, visit www.communityfutures.ca/sbip.

4) Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions (PICS) funding

The Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions (PICS) may provide funding to provincial ministry employers who wish to hire co-op students to work on projects that meet PICS main objectives. These objectives include low-carbon emissions research and research related to sustainable communities. For details, visit the PICS website or contact your co-op program office.

Publications

Want to keep the information on this site at hand, or show it to your students? With these guides, you can take everything to go.

Frequently asked questions

  1. Are government subsidies available?

    The following federal, provincial and private organizations provide subsidies to co-op employers:
  2. Who pays for housing and relocation?

    Students normally cover their travel and accommodation costs, but some employers make their postings more competitive by offering incentives or subsidies.
  3. When are 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.
  4. What kind of students are available?

    Many different types of students, including undergraduate and graduate students from every faculty on campus, participate in the UVic Co-op Program. Our students are skilled in diverse areas. If you're not sure which co-op program best meets your needs, call 250-721-7628 for direction.
  5. Are students screened before they join co-op?

    Most co-op programs require students to maintain a B+ average to participate in co-op. Before their first work term, students must also take part in preparation courses that cover employability skills, workplace culture and career management.
  6. Can I hire UVic Co-op students if I'm not located in British Columbia?

    Certainly! UVic Co-op students love to travel. We encourage our students to embark on work terms with employers across Canada and around the world.
  7. Can I contact students directly?

    No. Because UVic Co-op is part of the university's education program, we manage the entire process leading up to the acceptance of a job offer. All communication must go through our co-op office until the placement is confirmed.
  8. What about confidentiality?

    It’s a good idea to discuss any confidentiality issues with your co-op coordinator before you make a job offer. We require student employees to follow your organization's confidentiality policies and to recognize that the information they work with, including the results of any research they undertake, is the property of the employer.
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