Work semesters are spaced out through the academic program and students achieve progressively advanced skill levels as they advance through their studies. Similarly, the work experience opportunities should increase in difficulty and responsibility as the student progresses through the program. Normally, work semesters are four months in duration but in some programs there are double co-ops of eight months or even longer. The minimum duration is 12 weeks of full-time employment.
Only those students who pass all of their college courses are eligible for co-op so you can be sure that your student will have the basic skills required for success in an entry level position. All co-op students undergo a pre-employment training program that includes information about careers related to their program, business/industry requirements and standards, and work place adaptation.
The co-op pattern for each program is designed so that students are likely to be available for work during busy periods in companies related to their field of studies. For example, students in construction related programs are normally available for work during the May to December period when most entry level construction related jobs are available.
Co-op positions are always paid. Students are usually paid at the same rate as entry level workers in that position at your company. Your Cooperative Education Consultant will advise you on hours and going wage rates, but the final decision is up to you. When you employ co-op students, your company may be eligible is for an Ontario tax credit of up to $3,000 for each student employed under a qualifying cooperative education program. More information is available at www.rev.gov.on.ca/english/credit/cetc or contact your Co-op Consultant for full details.
You can reduce the costs and time involved in recruiting temporary employees by working with your Co-op Consultant to post available positions and screen applicants. Your Co-op Consultant will post your position(s) and collect resumes, screen them according to your requirements and forward only a selected number of qualified applicants to you for interviews. Interview facilities are available at the College if you wish to recruit on campus. The final choice among the applicants is up to you.
While the student(s) is at your work place, the Co-op Consultant is always available to assist with any issues that may arise. The consultant will contact you and the student for an evaluation of the student and the work experience. Your evaluation is crucial in determining whether or not the student gets credit for the Co-op semester at your company.
You are not obligated to employ a student for successive work semesters or to offer post-graduate employment. Past experience shows, however, that a significant number of companies view Co-op as an economical and effective way to recruit and train future employees.
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