Student Handbook

 

 
 

The Student, Graduate and Co-op Employment Centre was formed in 1986. The implementation of paid work terms into OC programs has brought the employer community much closer to OC students and graduates

“Our goal is to help you put your education to work and ultimately achieve success in your chosen field.”
James Coble, Director
Student Services

 
 

  Beat the “Catch 22” – you need experience to get a job, but you need a job to get experience.

  “Test the waters” in a chosen field and assess the suitability of your career choice before entering the workforce full-time.

  Apply academic knowledge and theoretical concepts to a practical work setting which makes learning more interesting.

  Earn a salary to help finance your education.

  Gain important soft skills (such as communications, team work, cooperation, and interpersonal skills) essential in today's work environment.

  Learn more about the expectations and needs of employers.

  Develop independence and maturity.

  Take advantage of networking and mentoring opportunities.

  Enhance your resume writing, job search and interview skills.

  Acquire relevant work experience which is a plus when applying to graduate school.

 
 

Department personnel will make every effort to provide you with information and/or service that will enhance your career/ employment opportunities. Our department acts as liaison with all parties concerned to facilitate employer-student contact and provides an effective tool for Co-op students to secure work term employment. Specifically, the Department:

  Assists with the educational development of students in the workplace.

  Procure Co-op positions and assists students in the development of their own job search.

  Carries out the on-site visits providing an assessment of the job and the student's work, with particular emphasis on the learning potential of the position.

  Work closely with the academic departments to ensure that the students' jobs are related as closely as possible to the program content and also to ensure that OC programs are providing students with skills needed in Canadian business and industry.

 

The online Student Grad and Co-op Employment Centre provides all OC students and graduates:

  Job postings – year round Co-op, graduate, summer, part-time/temporary positions

  Links to other job posting sites, employment resources, & Labour Market Information sites.

  Sample resumes, interview tips, announcements/messages and employers recruiting on campus

  Interview schedules & employer presentations

  Business Expo & Employment Fair (link to website)

  Information regarding employment on our Facebook page:

         

 
 

Co-op Work Term Fee Structure

The program tuition does not include the various costs associated with offering Co-op. Students who participate in Co-op will be required to pay the following fees:

  Co-op Application Fee

Co-op application fee is a one-time non-refundable application fee.

  Co-op Work Term Fee

Co-op students will be required to pay Co-op work term fee for each four-month work term.

  Students returning to the same employer

For successive work terms will be required to pay the Co-op work term fee for each four-month work term until graduation.

The Co-op work term fee is not a placement fee. All co-op students who secure employment directly or indirectly utilizing the services of the Department will be required to pay Co-op work term fees.

  Co-op fee’s are in place at all post-secondary institutions in Canada that offer Co-op programs.

 

Relocation for Co-op Work Terms

For certain programs,you are strongly encouraged to be willing to relocate for your work terms.

The job market is driven by many factors, which are outside the control of the Co-op Department. While some employers are supportive in relocation matters such as assisting with accommodation searching. Experience has proven that if you are willing to relocate for the work term the rewards far outweighs the inconvenience.

The chances of securing a Co-op opportunity may be increased if you apply to as many posting as possible and are willing to relocate.

Here is an accommodation link that maybe useful www.accomodation.com

 

Co-op Work Terms Salaries

Wage rates are established by the employer, not by the Co-op Department.

The wage rates will vary by program and work site. Students in the same program will receive varying work term pay rates. Salaries are not the governing factor in deciding the merit of an offer of employment. The prime considerations are a work environment appropriate to each student's ability and opportunities for a sound learning experience and for professional development. The Co-op Office can provide information average wages for each program.

 

B.C. Medical Coverage

B.C. Medical Coverage is a requirement for work term participation.

Employers expect that you have basic medical coverage prior to starting your work term.

 

Student Health & Dental Plan

B.C. Medical coverage is a requirement for work term participation.

The Student Health & Dental Plan is administered by the OC Student Union. Co-op students who have opted for the plan are encouraged to confirm the status of their coverage while on work terms. The Student Association staff will be able to answer questions about the plan and coverage. See the Student Health & Dental Plan website for more information.

 

Student Loans

B.C. Medical coverage is a requirement for work term participation.

Co-op students applying for government assistance (student loans, grants, interest free status etc.) are encouraged to contact the Financial Awards Office to determine next steps.

Students in Co-op work terms are eligible to have their student loans placed in Interest-Free Status for the Co-op work term.

Please refer to: Government Student Loans and Grants

 

YOUR STUDENT LOAN IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY! IF YOU ARE NOT SURE ABOUT YOUR SITUATION, PLEASE CONTACT THE FINANCIAL AWARDS OFFICE.

Contact Financial Aid and Awards:

  E-mail: financialaid@okanagan.bc.ca

  Telephone: (250) 862-5419

  Toll Free number: (within B.C. only) 1-800-767-5492
          Direct lines to the Kelowna office are located in the
          administration offices at the Penticton,
          Kalamalka, and Salmon Arm campuses.

  Fax: (250) 862-5496

  Hours of operation:
          September to April: Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
          May to August: Monday to Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m

 

Registering for Academic Terms

Co-op students are responsible for ensuring that the residence/ mailing address information provided to the Registrar's Admissions' Office is kept up to date and accurate.

Students are responsible for ensuring they are registered in the appropriate courses following their work term(s).

Communication with the Co-op Department

You are expected to maintain communication with the Co-op Department on all matters pertinent to participation in the Co-op component of your program, e.g. interview, accepted and declined offers of employment unexpected drop in marks, course withdrawal, change in employment goals, mobility for work terms, etc.

Upon your return to OC after each Co-op work term/s your Co-op Co-ordinator is available to discuss your work term experience and other career related topics.

The Co-op Advantage

Your Co-op work experience will be included on your transcript. Employers throughout Canada and around the world are recognizing the added value a graduate from a Co-op program can bring to an organization. They are looking for graduates with Co-op work experience .

Resume and Cover Letter

If you require assistance contact the Student, Graduate and Co-op Employment Centre.

A resume and cover letter is required to apply for each Co-op job.

Co-op Job Postings

Co-op job development and networking with employers to promote OC Co-op programs, students and graduates is an on-going, activity of the Co-op Department personnel.

Employers traditionally start recruiting Co-op students during the four month time frame prior to the start of the work term. Therefore, Co-op students can expect to see job postings during this time frame. The factors that impact on when, why and how employers recruit at specific times will be discussed during Co-op info meetings.

Each job posting will have specific details about the opportunity, skills required, start and finish times, wage details and a deadline date for Co-op students to apply. All Co-op jobs are posted online.

Channels of Communication

The channels of communication are established with employers recruiting through the Co-op office. Students are not to seek employment directly with a participating Co-op employer unless specific arrangements are made with the Co-op Coordinator, such as where students apply directly to employer. Students are not permitted to circumvent the outlined job competition process.

Co-op Job Interview Process

Co-op job interview dates and times are determined by the employer. Interview can be arranged by either Co-op Co-ordinators or Employers.

Employers normally interview on campus, at their place of business or by telephone or Skype.

Co-op Job Offers

Employers normally contact the Co-op office after the interviews with their ranking of Co-op students and job offers. The Co-op Department will notify the student/s that they have received a job offer. The offer of employment is discussed with the Co-op student. The student then contacts the employer to accept the job offer and discuss any details that need to be clarified.

 
 

Work Term Requirements

Work terms will be graded on a pass/fail basis by the Co-op Co-ordinator.

To achieve a "pass" on a Co-op work term, students must meet the following requirements:

  Work term is normally 12 – 16 weeks in duration

  Completion of the employer evaluation

  Be graded on a pass/fail and recorded on the mark transcript

  Not be included in the calculation of the grade point average

  Submission of a work term report – (see “The Work Term Report” section)

 

Securing a Co-op Job

Generating Opportunities:

While the Co-op office will generate the majority of work term employment opportunities, some students will find their own jobs. In the latter situation, students must discuss the employment opportunity with the Co-op Co-ordinator and have it approved for recognition as a Co-op work term experience.

Interviews:

Students are expected to attend all employment interviews granted to them. Students who anticipate missing an interview for valid reasons must inform the Co-op office immediately so that other arrangements can be made.

Students who miss an interview without valid reasons, or who fail to advise the Co-op Office in advance, may be excluded from the work term and future work terms.

Job Offers

Job offers must be accepted or rejected within 24 hours, or by special arrangements with the Co-op office.

Accepting a Job

When the employer makes a job offer, the student makes a firm commitment to that employer. Once a Co-op job offer is accepted, the student is removed from other job competitions they may have entered and will not be eligible for future job competitions for that work term. Just as employers do not make firm offers hoping to find someone better later on, neither will students be allowed to play one employer against another. Failure to honour a commitment will lead to withdrawal from work term activity. Extenuating circumstances must be handled through the Co-op office.

Co-op students should consider all aspects of a Co-op employment opportunity before entering a job competition. Once the student has entered a Co-op job competition and secured an interview they will normally be expected to accept a resulting offer of employment. If, after the interview, the students decides not to accept an offer from that employer, they must inform the Co-op Co-ordinator immediately so that arrangements can be made to have their name removed from that particular competition.

Rejecting a Job

Some job offers may, for certain valid reasons, be unacceptable to a student. However, the following points should be considered before rejecting a job offer:

  When the student applies for a Co-op job, it is assumed that, based on the job description, the student is prepared to make a commitment and accept the job offer.

  Rejection of two job offers, for no valid reason, will remove a student from the competition for Co-op department generated jobs for that work term.

Students are required to discuss their decision to reject a Co-op job offer with a Co-op Co-ordinator before rejecting the offer.

Co-op Work Term Evaluation

Employer Evaluation of the Student:

Each employer will be asked to provide a written evaluation of student performance to the College at the completion of each work term.

Employers will also provide feedback on:

  The student's outstanding qualities.

  The qualities which the student should strive most to improve.

Work Site Visits

The Co-op Co-ordinator will conduct a work site visit by telephone or in person with the employer and student during their work term. The student's performance will be discussed.

The Work Term Report

Each student participating in a Co-op work term is required to complete a work term report. (See Appendix A for Work Term Report details/format.)

 
 

Purpose

Each student participating in a Co-op work term is required to complete a work term report. (See Appendix A for Work Term Report details/format.)

  1. To provide the opportunity for the student to analyze his/her work experience.
  2. To provide practice in written communication skills.
  3. To provide feedback to the employer, program faculty and the Co-operative Education Department.

Format

The report will consist of approximately 1 page (point form).

Content

  The report will be broken down into the following sections:

  1. The Employer – A discussion of the employer covering the following topics:

    • Ownership
    • Size
    • Company/department structures (use organization chart)
    • roducts and/or services
    • Markets if applicable
  2. Include brochures or other pertinent handout material from the organization.

  3. The Co-op Job – A detailed description of your role in the organization and your duties for your work term, i.e. assignments, projects, routine duties, etc

  4. Personal Observations – All ideas are to be dealt with in a positive, constructive manner

    • What did you learn about your strengths and the areas which need improvements (technically, personally)?
    • How has the work term affected your career goals?
    • Explain what academic courses you found useful on your job.Note areas where academic preparation was inadequate.
  5. Conclusions and/or Recommendations – Final Remarks

Steps in Writing Your Work Term Report

The report will consist of approximately 1 page (point form).

Each student participating in a Co-op work term is required to complete a work term report. (See Appendix A for Work Term Report details/format.)

  1. Discuss your work term report with your supervisor early in your work term and with your Co-op Coordinator at the time of the on-site visit.
  2. The Co-op Job
  3. Personal Observations
  4. Submit work term report to the Co-op office by email (coop@okanagan.bc.ca) or in person upon return to school. If you’re working with the same employer for back-to-back work terms, only one report is required.

Note: Submission of a work term report is required to validate transcript credit.