Co-operative education, commonly referred to as Co-op, is a structured educational method that integrates classroom learning with practical work experience. In Canada, it is an essential practical component of some higher education courses.
When a course includes a Co-op component, it means that the student has to complete an internship in the relevant field of study, in addition to the period of classroom education. This practical experience is necessary to complete the course and receive the certificate.
The Co-op internship may or may not be paid, and the educational institution determines the number of hours required for the internship. Many Canadian colleges assist with Co-op internship placement.
Co-op is not only for private colleges, but public colleges also offer courses that include the Co-op internship as an integral part of the program of study. The Co-op portion of the program should not exceed 50% of the college’s total program of study.
Co-op is not a course or program; it is a method adopted by post-secondary education institutions in Canada. The aim of Co-operative education is to combine classroom study with work experience to provide students with a practical understanding of their field of study.
The advantages of Co-op are many. Students have the opportunity to demonstrate their skills, learn about the Canadian work culture, and expand their network, which can open doors both inside and outside Canada.
Co-op also provides students with the opportunity to gain work experience, learn how to create a resume and cover letter, improve their interview skills, and work full-time to earn extra money. The internship always takes place within the student’s area of study, and the workload, duration, and deadline for completion vary according to the educational institution and course.
Regardless of whether a course has the Co-op component or not, the working hours allowed by the Canadian government for those who have a study permit remain the same. Students with a study permit can work for up to 20 hours per week during their classroom study period and more than 20 hours during breaks.
If a course has the Co-op component, students can work more than the authorized 20 hours per week during their internship period, as long as the activity/work is recognized as a Co-op by the educational institution.
In summary, Co-op is an excellent way to combine study and work, gain practical experience, and develop essential skills for a successful career.
Need help to study in Canada and get your Student Permit? We are here.