Simon Fraser University

Co-op jobs sought for TechBC

Mar 07, 2002 , vol. 23, no. 5

By Howard Fluxgold
Staff at co-operative education are scrambling to find summer jobs for 75 TechBC students as SFU moves to integrate TechBC students into the SFU community.

“We discovered that these students had already registered for summer placements, but to this point have very few opportunities, while the SFU co-op students are well into their placement process,” explains Nancy Johnston, director of co-operative education.

“It is a real challenge to bring them into an already crowded environment in terms of students looking for work, but also a real opportunity to broaden the co-op marketplace.”

The majority of the students are in the interactive arts program, which combines artistic endeavours with technology and the information technology program, with the remainder in the more business-oriented management and technology program.

A working group of staff from SFU and TechBC is developing a marketing campaign that focuses on the Fraser Valley. Their goal is to find about 125 jobs. That many are required to find suitable matches for the 75 students, some of whom require co-op workterms to complete their degree requirements.

Usually, co-op education staff use their contacts in the business world to find placements that are open to all co-op students.

In this case, says Johnston, “We are initially trying to bring these jobs specifically to the TechBC geographic community for TechBC students. It presents an opportunity for us to launch a focused, strategic marketing campaign in Surrey and the Fraser Valley.”

Tony Botelho, program manager of SFU's applied science co-op program, pointed out that there are benefits for SFU as well. He says SFU has no program comparable to the TechBC interactive arts program.

As a result, co-op education staff need to develop new contacts. “We hope that if employers are satisfied with the TechBC workterms they will offer jobs to all students,” he says.

But finding the jobs will be a challenge, because “in the last year and a half the tech market has taken a beating. It's not getting any worse now, but no one knows when it will bounce back,” explains Botelho.

Johnston is urging any SFU department that may need high tech support to consider providing a workterm. Workterms are typically four or eight months with salaries in the $2,000 - $2,500 a month range. For more information contact: Tim Mah at 291-3217 or e-mail