Co-Operative Education in Ontario

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Cooperative education provides opportunities for secondary students to participate in an unpaid work placement in order apply classroom learning to a workplace and explore possible career choices. Often cooperative education is called “co-op ed”, or just “co-op.”  All Ontario school boards offer cooperative education programs that follow Ministry of Education guidelines.

Cooperative education is a possible option for any student, whether on a pathway towards university, college, apprenticeship or work.

By completing a cooperative education placement, students earn up to two secondary school credits towards their compulsory credits required for graduation, with no limit on completing additional co-op credits.  Students must consult with the Co-op teacher in their school to apply for a co-op placement. The teacher will assist in arranging the placement and in linking the placement to a curriculum course the student is enrolled in that is related to the workplace.  For example, with the assistance of the co-op teacher, a student enrolled in a Grade 11 Biology course might participate in a semester long co-op placement at a veterinary clinic.  Students are monitored by the co-op education teacher as well as by a designated supervisor or mentor at the workplace.  In most cases the co-op placement will take place during either the morning or the afternoon of a school day, and extend over one semester.

The Benefits of Co-op for Students

  • gain valuable work experience that can be added to a resume
  • learn employable skills and develop constructive work habits
  • investigate career options related to personal  interests
  • connect classroom learning with “real world” experience
  • explore personal aptitudes in a supportive environment
  • obtain credits toward graduation

Need more information about Cooperative Education?

Cooperative Education Fact Sheet

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