WORKING STUDENTS

Congrats, you got a Co-op job! Your hard work, persistence and tailored cover letters & resumes paid off. Now what? When your Co-op position has been confirmed by your Coordinator, three things will happen:

The course will be offered through Canvas and Co-op Coordinators will work with you to successfully complete your work term.

Content for the course includes:

STEP 1: EMPLOYMENT CONFIRMATION

After you accept a co-op job offer,  you’ll receive an e-mail from your Co-op program with instructions on your next steps, which includes your Co-op Practicum course registration, UPass exemption (if applicable) and more.  

STEP 2: COMPLETE BOL II

Prior to the start of your first Co-op work term, students MUST complete the Bridging Online II module.

STEP 3: PLACEMENTS OUTSIDE BC AND INTERNATIONAL

Check with your Medical Services Plan (MSP) about coverage outside of BC - especially for work terms over 4 months.

Students working internationally outside of Canada MUST take the Bridging International Learning Course (BIL) that is managed by the International Co-op office (note: you will need to have your visa, work permit, medical coverage, accommodation, etc. information ready)

STEP 4: COMPLETE SIAT Working Canvas course

Complete the SIAT Co-op Working Canvas course throughout each semester of your co-op work term. In conjunction with myExperience, please make sure:

  • You have new learning outcomes/goals every term.
  • Your office location is correct (we will need it for our site visits)
  • Your supervisor's e-mail and contact information are correct. We will be sending him/her a direct link of your evaluation.

During Your Placement

You’re eager to start working in your professional Co-op job. Remember: your participation in Co-op, a formal SFU academic program, means that you will be seen by your employer and colleagues as an “ambassador for SFU.” What does that mean?

Become a professional

Your behaviour and attitude on the job may affect the reputation of SFU and SIAT Co-op.  It may impact opportunities for future co-op students.  Be professional! Remember the people you work for are your future references.  Below are tips from seasoned Co-op students and employers on professional behaviour:

  • Treat everyone at the office, at every level, with courtesy and respect, including janitors and receptionists.
  • Be on time, even 5 minutes early.  It doesn’t matter that you missed your bus.  Catch the earlier bus so that it’s not a problem.  Being on time isn’t noticed. But being late is.
  • Dress appropriately for the office or lab setting.  If unsure, talk to your new boss.
  • Take a notepad and take notes during any meeting with your boss and colleagues.  It shows active listening and respect.
  • Be on task.  Look for answers and ask questions if you’re unsure and don’t know where to look.  Your boss is not a mind reader.
  • Slow down.  Resist the urge to race through your work and move on to the next task.  Your boss will appreciate error-free work more than fast sloppy work that has to be re-done.
  • Accept a lunch invitation if it feels right.  It’s a great way to make new connections.
  • Report to your formal supervisor if you expect to be late or an unexpected emergency comes up.
  • No social media at work!  This is a big no-no.  We hear a lot about this from employers during site visits.  They don’t like it.  At all. Unless of course, it’s part of your new SIAT Co-op job.
  • Co-op is part of your education and career.  There is formalized feedback to your SFU Co-op Coordinator during your work term that contributes to your learning and professional development.  Make this count; you’ll get more out of your Co-op experience as a result. More on that in the following sections.

Feeling lost or unsure of expectations in your new workplace?  Call us!  Your Co-op Coordinator is there to support you during your work term.  Talk to us if you have questions, concerns, uncertainties.

Create your own goals

Your professional life begins with goal setting. What “take aways” do you want to add to your resume at the end of your Co-op work term? Think about the skills and knowledge you want to expand. Do they include specialized skills, communication, attitude, behaviour, thinking, group work, adaptability, and certain responsibilities? Complete between 3 – 6 Goals / Learning Objectives in the Goals/Learning Outcomes section in myExperience. By setting your own goals and learning objectives, you’ll be able to measure your on-the-job progress towards achieving them. When setting your goals use the SMART rule:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Realistic
  • Timely

Ask for feedback on your goals

  • Ask your supervisor if your goals/ Learning Objectives are realistic in the first week of work. 
  • Take into account your level of position: junior entry level or more senior with significant responsibility? 
  • Consider the work environment: is it a small company where everyone pitches in to complete tasks? 
  • You’ll want to discuss your learning objectives during your site visit with your Co-op coordinator.

Site visits

  • The site visit is key part of your Co-op work term. This where you get a chance to talk in person with your Co-op Coordinator about your progress and any concerns you might have relating to your job. Your Coordinator will be interested in your supervisor’s perspective as well.
  • Note: If anything comes up prior to the site visit, contact us right away! Don’t wait for the site visit to problem solve. We often find that students have saved up questions or issues until the site visit. Don’t wait. We’re here to support you from the get go.
  • Your Co-op coordinator will set up a time and date to meet with both you and your supervisor, usually separately, at your work site.
  • Your progress, performance, learning objectives, goals, and work report requirements will be reviewed.

When does your site visit happen?

You’ll be contacted by a coordinator to arrange a meeting sometime during weeks 6-12. If you are on an out-of town placement you may get a visit from your coordinator from a different discipline (e.g. Business or Communications) who is doing other visits in the area. If an in-person visit isn’t possible, your coordinator will contact you by phone or e-mail. Again, if any concerns or problems arise during your work term, contact your coordinator immediately. Don’t wait until the site visit.

How do you prepare for your site visit?

How do you prepare for your site visit? Think about what else you've accomplished so far, both in terms of hard and soft skills.

  • Review your Learning Objectives and compare your progress to your original objectives.
  • Review your accomplishments and challenges.
  • Prepare notes to discuss any questions you may have or problems you're facing.

What else happens at the site visit?

This is when you get to talk about what you like about your job and what challenges you.

  • We’ll help you problem solve if that’s needed and talk about your future academic and career plans.
  • We can also coach you on how to expand your current experience.
  • We'll help youpractice sharingyour experiences so you can readily use them in your cover letter and future interviews.
  • You may receive feedback from your supervisor, and discuss the possibility of staying for a second term.

What does my Coordinator do at the site visit?

Your Coordinator gets to see how you’re doing at work and how the overall experience is shaping you as a professional. They’ll answer any questions, address concerns, offer suggestions for growth, and look at whether you’re reaching for your goals.

  • After meeting with you and your supervisor, your Coordinator may have arranged secondary meetings with other managers in the company, in order to develop more co-op jobs, for SIAT Co-op and other departments as well.
  • If your Coordinator is new to your work site, try to arrange a brief tour. We’d appreciate that!

Work reports and supervisor's evaluation

Research suggests it is useful for co-op students to reflect at the end of each work term on what they have learned and accomplished before moving to the next work term or study semester.

You are required to submit a work report and Employer Release Form for each four-month work term except when special circumstances permit one report for an 8-month work term. These form the basis of a Pass or Fail grade for the semester. Writing the report enables you to reflect on your skills, strengths, and areas for improvement. The report provides a valuable resource for other students researching the company for future job opportunities. It can also serve as the basis for a great portfolio piece.  

An online evaluation will be sent directly to your supervisor by the Co-op office.

Download the Work Report Guidelines for all of the information you need; you’ve got a few options for the format. NOTE: Your work report/project may be viewed by others. Please advise your Co-op Coordinator if you have any concerns. We’re only a phone call or email away.

Deadlines

The deadline dates for submitting work term reports and accompanying documents are:

  • Spring: April 7
  • Summer: August 7
  • Fall: December 7