Co-op Employer of the Year Awards

Co-op Employers of the Year Honoured

In 2017 Okanagan College’s Student, Graduate & Co-op Employment office created the Co-op Employer of the Year Award to recognize organizations and individuals for going above and beyond to create work-integrated learning opportunities for students. This year, two B.C. employers have been recognized.

metro vancouver co-op awardMetro Vancouver took home the trophy for 2017 Co-op Employer of the Year in the Science, Technology and Health category. The organization has hired co-op students from the College for more than two decades, beginning in 1995. Metro Vancouver has also been a strong supporter of OC’s Co-op program by participating in on-campus events such as the Business Expo & Employment Fair, interview clinics and classroom lunch and learn sessions.

“Metro Vancouver has been a legacy co-op employer, hiring Okanagan College co-op/alumni for the past 25 years,” says Gerry Born, Student, Graduate and Co-op Employment Coordinator. “In this time they have hired hundreds of co-op students, many which are now employed with Metro Vancouver.

“Metro Vancouver kick start the co-op process for the WET student each year, by being the first employer to post for multiple co-op positions and offering to interview each and every student that applies.”

Andrew Hunt works for Metro Vancouver as Superintendent of the Iona Waste Water Treatment Plant in Richmond, B.C. Hunt attended OC in the mid-90s, completed two co-op terms with Metro Vancouver (then Greater Vancouver Regional District), and was offered a job immediately after graduation. He is one of the many technologists and leaders assisting Metro Vancouver in providing treatment to wastewater for close to 1,000,000 residents. 

“The co-op experience worked very well for me as someone looking to start out in the industry,” says Hunt. “Now, I have the vantage point to see how beneficial the system is for the employer as well. It’s incredibly important that we have a strong pool of talent to draw from, which is why we work with post-secondary institutions to provide feedback, keep the training highly relevant, and keep the co-op system working as well as it does.

“We’re giving people life opportunities and they grab hold of them and gain so much from the experience. At the end of the day, it’s as much a win for us as it is for them.”

TNG co-op employer awardTNG (The News Group), a national periodical distributor with an office in Kelowna, was awarded Co-op Employer of the Year in the Business category. Over the past three years alone, the company has hired more than 15 co-op students from OC and has provided extensive training and mentorship throughout students’ co-op experiences.

TNG has been a strong supporter of Okanagan College’s programs and has shown consistent dedication for the Co-op students by creating a bulletin board that focuses exclusively on OC students while always maintaining a conscious effort to meet and interview OC candidates.  In addition, TNG has been very active with Okanagan College employer/on-campus events such as the Business Expo & Employment Fair. 

“TNG is dedicated to the development of co-op students, through providing a great learning environment, open door policy and feedback to help students grow,” says Tanya Tarlit, Student, Graduate and Co-op Employment Coordinator. “We are so pleased to see so many of co-op students hired on a permanent basis. To be nominated for an Employer of the Year Award the company has to be proactive with co-op students, provide meaningful training, encourage growth and development as well as look to hire from more than one program area which TNG has done year after year.

Carly Namysl, an Okanagan College Business graduate and now TNG’s Human Resource Generalist shared her insight into TNG’s consistent support for Okanagan College’s Co-op students.

“Over the years, TNG Kelowna has hired a notable number of OC Co-op students,” notes Namsyl. “Many of those students have turned into full-time, permanent team members. The students are keen to learn, adaptable to our office, and knowledgeable in their areas of study. TNG Kelowna will continue to support local talent and work with OC to facilitate career development for the students in our local community.”

The Student, Graduate & Co-op Employment office plans to present the awards annually. Watch this space for updates. 


Find this story in Inside Okanagan College, Oct. 17, 2017 issue.

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For more information about the Co-op Employer of the Year Awards, please contact us.