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Douglas College > Programs & Courses > Co-operative Education > Information for Employers > Employer Handbook
Thank you for your interest in the Douglas College Co-op program.
The Douglas College Co-op program enables motivated students to integrate post-secondary academic studies with practical experience in their chosen field. Students alternate periods of full-time study with periods of full-time, paid, productive employment in business, industry, government, and the professions.
Students graduating from post-secondary programs are now facing profound social, technological, and economic change. The goal of co-operative education is to help students develop the necessary confidence and employer-valued abilities to succeed in today's competitive job market. Through co-operative education, employers and educators share the responsibility of preparing students for these rapidly-changing conditions. The employer becomes a co-educator, helping to develop today's youth to become productive members of society.
As the goal is to develop high calibre, well trained graduates, ready to assume productive careers in a dynamic and demanding work market, all parties benefit.
Co-op provides students with:
For a co-op work term to be successful, the supervisor and the student must establish an effective relationship. For the majority of placements, the student becomes an employee of the employing organization and is expected to be treated as any other temporary employee with regard to benefits and other legal entitlements (as recognized under the Employment Standards Act).
Ideally, co-op employers:
Co-op students are expected to:
Douglas College is responsible for:
Depending upon the co-op program, students are normally available throughout the year for four or eight-month periods, starting in January, May and September. The following placement process demonstrates how simple it is to hire co-op students.
Ideally, three to four months prior to the start of the work term, employers are asked to provide job descriptions which outline duties and responsibilities, required education, and experience sought. We are happy to work with employers for last-minute requests.
You may submit a co-op job description via e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or by completing the on-line job description form.
Job descriptions are posted, and resumes of interested students are sent to employers for screening and interview selection.
The Co-op Office is happy to arrange interviews between the employers and the candidates. Interviews usually take place at the employer's place of business or on campus. Telephone interviews can also be arranged if required.
An offer of employment to a student, and the conditions of employment, are normally conveyed through the Co-op office, who will confirm the student's acceptance to the employer.
The Co-op Office:
Salaries are generally set by the employer within the salary structure of that organization. The Co-op Office can provide current salary ranges for its Co-op program.
Benefits are the responsibility of the employer, and must be provided under the terms and conditions of the Employment Standards Act.
Confidentiality issues should be discussed and agreed within the first week on the job. Student employees must comply with their employer's policies regarding confidentiality and recognize that the information they work with, including the results of any research undertaken, belongs to the employer.
Should any unusual circumstances arise during the work term; e.g. behavioural problems or medical emergencies, employers should contact the faculty advisor, who will help to facilitate a resolution. Should employers consider dismissing a co-op student, they are urged to consult the faculty advisor as early as possible to discuss their concerns.
If employers foresee a lay-off or a strike that will directly affect the co-op student, they should notify the faculty advisor as soon as possible.
Should students return to do another work term, the employer should consider giving them increased responsibilities, and their salaries should be increased accordingly.
Co-op students are required to complete a written report of each work term. The reports, depending upon the program, may be a report required by the company, a technical report, a report of the work term experience, or any combination of these. If a report contains confidential information, the employer may arrange to undertake the assessment, or arrange for a non-disclosure agreement with the Co-op Office. This report and the employer's evaluation are used in assessing the success of the work term, as recognized on the student's transcript.
Ideally, before the student reports for work it is important to do some planning about the work that this student will do, and how she or he will fit into your organizational culture and climate. You can expect your student to be bright, idealistic, and eager to become involved as quickly as possible in work that is educational, career-related, and challenging.
Co-op employers generally find that time spent clarifying the student's role, explaining behavioural norms, and welcoming the student as a member of a team is rewarded in the student's performance and loyalty. A set of guidelines is offered for your consideration on the following:
Ideally, a meeting should be scheduled with the student as soon as possible after he or she reports for work. This meeting should cover the following topics:
As the student becomes more comfortable with the environment and the work assigned, we would like you to consider meeting informally with her or him (perhaps several short meetings) and the student's faculty advisor to discuss the following:
Ideally, we would like you to consider meeting with the student throughout the work term to:
A final 'wrap-up" meeting should, if possible, be held with the student a few days before his or her final day on the job with the following objectives: