The Co-op Student Guide

Definition of Co-operative Education  

Co-operative Education is an educational model that formally integrates academic study with relevant, paid work experience. The standard co-op program consists of periods of academic study combined with periods of work experience in appropriate employment fields such as business, industry, government, the professions, not-for-profit and community-based organizations. Co-operative Education programs must meet the following requirements:

  • students are engaged in work relevant to their academic studies;
  • students are engaged in work rather than mere observation;
  • students are paid for work performed;
  • the co-op program specific to the students’ academic discipline monitors students’ progress on the job;
  • students produce a work term report or project-based report on their learning objectives and work experience; and
  • students' performance on the job is supervised and evaluated by the employer.

Benefits of Co-operative Education

  • learn new skills and gain knowledge
  • enhance students’ understanding of the course work
  • apply classroom learning to practical situations
  • gain valuable career-related work experience
  • explore career options
  • build a strong application for graduate studies
  • increase competitiveness in the marketplace
  • network with other professionals in the field
  • help finance the education of the students
  • work locally, nationally, and internationally (www.sfu.ca/coop/international)
  • foster leadership development and global awareness

Associations for Co-operative Education

SFU Co-operative Education Program has received accreditation from Co-operative Education and Work Integrated Learning Canada (CEWIL). SFU Co-op is a member of World Association for Co-operative Education (WACE), Co-operative Education and Work Integrated Learning Canada (CEWIL), and Association for Co-operative Education in British Columbia / Yukon (ACE).

World Association for Co-operative Education (WACE)

World Association for Co-operative Education (WACE) is an international organization devoted to promoting Work Integrated Learning (WIL). WACE unites academic, government and corporate leaders to examine the impact of WIL on global workforce development.

WACE is the only organization devoted to Work Integrated Learning on a global basis (from WACE website: www.waceinc.org).

 

Co-operative Education and Work Integrated Learning Canada (CEWIL)

Co-operative Education and Work Integrated Learning Canada (CEWIL) is the voice for post-secondary Co-operative Education in Canada and its mission is to foster and advance post-secondary co-operative education and work-integrated learning in Canada.

In 1979, CEWIL (known as CAFCE at the time) established the Accreditation Council, which provides leadership for the development of quality Co-operative Education programs.

Accreditation standards establish Co-operative Education as a valid and valuable educational strategy, and provide guidance in ensuring quality Co-operative Education programming across Canada (CEWIL website: http://www.cewilcanada.ca).

Association for Co-operative Education in British Columbia/Yukon (ACE)

The Association for Co-operative Education in British Columbia/Yukon (ACE) is a provincial non-profit organization of all post-secondary institutions in the region that offer Co- operative Education programs (from ACE website: www.co-op.bc.ca).