For a long time, co-operative education has been synonymous with student hiring. The reality, however, is that co-op falls under the broader category known as work-integrated learning (WIL).
WIL is a model and process of curricular experiential education which formally and intentionally integrates a student’s academic studies within a workplace or practice setting. WIL experiences include an engaged partnership of an academic institution, a host organization (employer) and a student. WIL can occur at the course/program level and includes the development of learning outcomes related to employability, personal development and life-long learning.
Applied Research Projects
Students are engaged in research that occurs primarily in workplaces. This includes consulting projects, design projects, and community-based research projects.
Apprenticeship is an agreement between a person who wants to learn a skill (apprentice) and an employer who needs a skilled worker and is willing to sponsor the apprentice. Sponsorship includes paid practical experience under the direction of an ITA-qualified individual in a work environment conducive to learning the tasks, activities and functions of a skilled worker.
Co-op education alternates academic study terms with paid work terms that provide experience in a workplace setting related to the student’s field of study.
Entrepreneurship allows a student to leverage resources, space, mentorship and/or funding to engage in the early-stage development of business start-ups or to advance external ideas that address real-world needs, while receiving academic credit.
Field placements provide students with an intensive part-time/short term intensive hands-on practical experience in a setting relevant to their subject of study.
Internships usually provide one discipline-specific, supervised, structured paid or unpaid, and for-academic-credit work experience or practice placement.
Mandatory Professional Practicum/Clinical Placement
Mandatory professional practicums and clinical placements involves work experience under the supervision of an experienced registered or licensed professional (e.g. preceptor) in any discipline that requires practice-based work experience for professional licensure or certification.
Service Learning students work in partnership with a community-based organization to apply their disciplinary knowledge to a challenge identified by the community.
Work experience intersperses one or two work terms (typically full-time) into an academic program, where work terms provide experience in a workplace setting related to the student’s field of study and/or career goals.
Source: CEWIL Canada
"Students who take co-op have much stronger job and technical skills, and in some cases are two years ahead of their non-co-op counterparts."
- Bill Stanley, Government of Yukon
“The co-op program is the most rewarding choice I made to help lead me on my career path and fully appreciate my university experience.”
- Brian Orlando, Saint Mary’s University