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About us

Jennifer (public admin) worked for the BC Public Service.

Jennifer (public admin) worked for the BC Public Service.

Helping students and alumni excel

Our goal is to provide students and alumni with the tools to succeed after graduation. For many students, this means taking part in the co-operative education program or work experience program. For others, it means career development support

Our vision

UVic Co-op and Career develops graduates who achieve personal goals, excel in their chosen fields and contribute to community and society. We guide and support students as they develop competencies—knowledge, skills and attributes—that lead them to successful and rewarding careers.

About us

UVic is home to one of Canada’s largest co-operative education programs and the largest in western Canada. The program encompasses all UVic faculties, with more than 3,500 students per year participating in 13 co-op program areas from 47 academic departments and schools. Co-op exists for almost every program, except for those that already offer practica, internships or other work-integrated education. Co-op is mandatory for students in Business, Engineering, Health Information Science, Public Administration, Recreation and Health Education and Coaching Studies. In other areas, co-op is optional. Co-op is also available to graduate students who are pursuing master’s and doctoral degrees in most program areas.

Students complete more than 3,250 work terms each year with over 1,100 employers across Canada and around the world. Co-op plays a major role in the UVic experience—one in three eligible students takes part in the program. UVic is also the largest provider of graduate co-op (master’s and doctoral) in Canada—more than 300 UVic graduate students participate in co-op each year. One third of graduates find permanent full-time employment with their former work term employers. Co-op is a pillar of UVic’s academic strategy, and students have completed more than 65,000 work term placements since the program’s inception in 1976.

In Career Services, our team serves students and alumni through one-on-one meetings, online career programs, in-person workshops and a variety of events throughout the year. Our career educators hold over 3,400 meetings with students per year through drop-in hours and appointments, and over 6,500 students participate in our career events and other offerings. Our Co-op and Career portal hosts over 16,500 separate active users per year, including students, alumni, employers and community members.

Executive Director

Norah McRae, Executive Director

Norah McRaeDr. Norah McRae is the Executive Director of the Co-operative Education Program and Career Services at the University of Victoria, Canada. Her involvement in co-operative and work-integrated education spans more than twenty years, over which time she has led strategic program development and research on student engagement and intercultural competency development. Her doctoral research examined conditions that enabled transformative learning during work-integrated education and led to the development of a preliminary theoretical model for learning during work-integrated education.

Norah has been published in the International Handbook for Co-operative and Work-Integrated EducationCEIA Journal and The World is my Classroom: International Learning and Canadian Higher Education. She is a faculty member for the WACE Institute for Global and Experiential Education and the WACE Assessment Institute.

Associations

Co-op and Career is connected to many professional associations that promote co-operative education and career development at the post-secondary level.

CAFCE logoAll of UVic's co-op degree programs are accredited by the Canadian Association for Co-operative Education (CAFCE). CAFCE’s mission is to foster and advance post-secondary co-operative education in Canada.

We’re a member of the Canadian Association of Career Educators and Employers (CACEE). CACEE’s mission is to provide authoritative information, advice, professional development opportunities and other services to employers, career services professionals and students.

Many of our staff are active with the Association for Co-operative Education (BC and Yukon).

We’re a member of the World Association for Co-operative Education (WACE), an organization that strives to advance work-integrated learning through a global network.

We’re a member of the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), which connects more than 5,200 college career professionals and helps forecast trends in the job market.

History

History of UVic Co-op

History of UVic Co-op

In 1975, Dr. Howard Petch left the University of Waterloo to become UVic President and Vice-Chancellor. Dr. Petch brought with him an experimental new program that Waterloo had practiced since 1957: co-operative education. UVic Co-op opened its doors in 1976, pioneering the first co-operative education program in western Canada with 58 placements in its first year. It was initially offered in the Departments of Chemistry and Physics with the support of key players Dr. Alex McAuley, Dr. Harry Dosso and Dr. Graham Branton. “The popularity of the program quickly led to an increase in the number of students in physics,” recalls Dosso, “and an unexpected but welcomed increase in the number of female students.” Dr. Branton became Co-op Director in 1979 and dedicated the next 17 years to advancing the program.

Students and employers raved about co-op and by 1980, the program had expanded to include Computer Science/Mathematics, Creative Writing, Geography, Physical Education and Public Administration. Between 1980 and 1985, Coop began to place 30 per cent of students outside BC and established international exchange programs in the U.K. and Australia. By 1987–88, annual placements neared 1,000 for students in 13 program areas, and UVic had established itself as one of Canada’s forerunners in co-operative education.

History of Career Services

History of Career Services

Since the late 1960s, UVic housed a federal program called the Canada Employment Centre on campus, but when this program lost funding, the university created the Student Employment Centre (SEC). SEC, which opened in 1991, was the first iteration of Career Services.

For the first two years, SEC was staffed by simply a manager/counselor and a clerk, with some short-term staff and workstudy students. This was augmented in the summer for eight years by student staff hired under federal funding. SEC offered students job search support, summer and career job postings, employer information files, a job search library and on-campus recruitment by school districts, government, companies and other organizations.

In 1993–94, SEC moved to its current location, the Campus Services Building, and developed a target program for recentgraduates. The department hired reception and clerical staff and increased services for employers and students. The unit changed its name to Career Services in 2002 to better reflect its focus on career development.

The Co-op and Career merger

The Co-op and Career merger

In 2009, UVic’s Co-op Program formally merged with Career Services to form the Co-operative Education Program and Career Services (Co-op and Career). The offices merged to work together in offering work opportunities and comprehensive career development services to all students and alumni. Following the merger, Co-op and Career launched a new “Learning in motion” brand and a combined website in 2010.

Structure

Co-op and Career provides two types of services to UVic students: career development support through Career Services and co-operative education through the Co-operative Education Program.

The department as a whole is coordinated by a central director’s office. This office includes an executive director, assistant director, employer services coordinator, events and marketing coordinator, communications officer, technology administrator, international coordinator and support staff.

Career Services structure

Career Services structure

Three main Career Services offices provide support to UVic students and alumni:

  • Career Services for engineering, computer science, mathematics and statistics students
  • Career Services for business students
  • Career Services for students from all other programs

A separate Law Careers office in the Faculty of Law provides career support to law students.

Business and engineering students have dedicated Career Services support because co-op is mandatory for their academic programs. Mathematics and statistics students also access Career Services from the Engineering and Computer Science/Math Co-op and Career office.

Co-operative Education Program structure

Co-operative Education Program structure

At UVic, co-op exists for almost every program, except for those that offer practicum, internships or other experiential learning.

UVic Co-op is partially centralized at the university level and partially decentralized in the academic units. Co-op coordinators, placement coordinators and co-op assistants handle the day-to day administration of their individual program areas under the direction of three program managers (one each for Business, Engineering and Computer Science/Math, and Optional and Professional Programs), who all report to the executive director. 

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