Co-op Employers of the Year


Celebrating extraordinary co-op employers

Dynamic hands-on learning is a pillar of the UVic experience. Through UVic's co-op program alone, students work for more than 1,360 co-op employers each year, putting their studies into practice across diverse sectors.

Each year, UVic Co-op and Career Services recognizes employers who have provided extraordinary hands-on learning opportunities to UVic co-op students. The 2018 Employers of the Year are:

  • Babcock Canada (50+ employees)
  • ImmunoPrecise Antibodies (<50 employees)
  • LlamaZOO (new company, hiring co-op students for five years and under)

Babcock Canada

Co-op students at Babcock near a small submarine
Two former Babcock co-op students were part of the Human Powered Submarine Team that won 3 trophies in the European International Submarine Races in 2018. The team is also sponsored by Babcock.

2018 Employer of the Year—more than 50 employees

At Babcock, co-op work terms are so much more than a job placement—they’re a key recruitment tool. One of the engineering solution company’s mandates is to ensure that tomorrow’s talent is ready to make a difference, and they are committed to fostering students’ education. This approach is lauded by students, who often describe their experiences at Babcock as transformative and life changing.

Since 2015, Babcock has hired 58 engineering and commerce co-op students from UVic, 13 of whom returned for a second term and four for a third—a testament to the extraordinary experience Babcock provides. Co-op students are typically supervised by a former co-op student to enhance the mentorship experience, and are encouraged to network across departments and meet with senior staff to better understand the business. The company is currently developing a program that will allow co-op students to complete a series of work terms, each in a different department, as a way to help students transition into a full-time role.

Babcock is a strong supporter of UVic Co-op and Career beyond co-op placements; the company participates in UVic’s mock interview clinics, exhibits at the Hi-Tech Fair and was a platinum sponsor of UVic’s Human Powered Submarine Team in 2018, helping the team showcase their project at the 2018 Mari-Tech Conference.  

ImmunoPrecise Antibodies

Colin Bruce looking through a microscope
Colin Bruce worked as a co-op student at ImmunoPrecise Antibodies in 2016. He continues to work part-time for the company.

2018 Employer of the Year—fewer than 50 employees

ImmunoPrecise Antibodies (IPA) has made it a habit to hire the best and brightest, a feat made possible by its long-standing status as a co-op employer. The custom antibody business has hired UVic biochemistry, microbiology and business students to complete 66 co-op work terms, and in the past 3 years alone has hired 8 co-op alumni, 5 of whom are current employees.

Most full-time IPA scientists and staff are UVic graduates; as a result, lab experiences build off the skills that students develop in their biochemistry and microbiology courses, and students are typically provided with a co-op project that relates directly to their area of academic interest.

Co-op students receive extensive training and certification and are included in company meetings. They also give progress reports at weekly lab meetings that are attended by all IPA scientists, an experience that helps students strengthen their analytical and critical thinking skills Overwhelmingly, co-op students report their time at IPA provides them with a practical application of theoretical knowledge and a rewarding mentorship experience.

IPA is a dedicated UVic partner; staff and scientists regularly share their experiences through UVic’s “What can you do with your degree” series, take part in mock interview clinics and networking events, and collaborate on UVic research research projects, including a recent Engage Grant.


Three people holding virtual reality sets
Engineering co-op student Kevin Virtue, Office Manager Charlotte Garcia, and business co-op student Anna Mazza with innovative augmented and virtual reality technology at LlamaZOO.

2018 Employer of the Year—new company (hiring co-op students for five years and less)

Since launching in 2014, local 3D visualization company LlamaZOO has made co-op a priority. After hiring their first co-op student in 2015, LlamaZOO has hired computer science, software engineering and business students, and each student has reported an equally positive experience.

Co-op students are treated as significant members of the team and are assigned meaningful projects, from writing white papers on digital twinning technology to researching and writing new software features for augmented reality and virtual reality technologies, to helping draft the company’s vision statement. They’re also encouraged to access online training resources to diversity their skill sets, and have access to mentorship from the company’s diverse group of employees.

Within this fast-paced environment, students often comment on LlamaZOO’s welcoming and playful environment; their ability to balance hard work with having fun has made the company a co-op student favourite. It’s also led LlamaZOO to be recognized—the company is a partner in Canada’s Digital Technology Supercluster as well as Microsoft Mixed Reality and IGM, connecting students with world-class opportunities from downtown Victoria.

Beyond hiring co-op students, LlamaZOO also participates in UVic’s Co-op and Career Networking Night and Tech Connect events and are always looking for passionate talent to join their team. LlamaZOO staff have also participated in guest lectures and panel discussions through the Faculty of Engineering and the School of Business.

See also: 2018 UVic Co-op Students of the Year


In this story

Keywords: co-op, employment

Publication: The Ring

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