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Frequently Asked Questions 202
Frequently Asked Questions
 1.  What are the 3 components of the co-op program?

        1 | Pre-Placement Orientation- First three weeks of the semester

Prior to beginning their work placements, co-op students must attend pre-placement classes during their scheduled co-op period found on their timetable. Topics covered include:

·         Researching potential co-op placements

·         Effective résumés, cover letters and references

·         Communication skills; via telephone, in person, e-mail and text

·         Common interview questions

·         “Soft skills” – what are employers looking for?

·         Workplace health and safety considerations

·         Issues relating to confidentiality and the right to privacy

·         Work ethics and the responsible use of information technology

·         Employment Standards Act and the Human Rights Act

·         Reporting concerns or problems at the placement

          2 | Integration Sessions - In-class days throughout the semester

The integration portion of a co-op course involves classes that cover topics that relate to the placement, technology, solving problems and health and well-being. Integration sessions provide structured time for students to discuss and analyze their placement experiences with their teachers and peers.

           3 | Placement - Students working

Through a series of interviews with the student, an appropriate placement is found.  This process involves an assessment of the placement by the co-op teacher to determine suitability, and an interview of the student by the placement supervisor.  After the successful completion of those two steps, the student can start to attend the placement.  Throughout the semester, the Co-op teacher and the placement supervisor monitor and evaluate the student's progress.

2.  Does the student get paid?

Co-op students earn high school credits, but do not get paid. Some placement supervisors may choose to assist students with work related expenses such as a uniform or tools, however, this is not common and is not expected.

3.  Can the student be hired (for money) by the placement?

The aim of co-op is to earn credits while obtaining experience in the workplace. Many employers are not in the position to hire students and some employers leave a space open to accept co-op students on a regular basis. If a position does become available, students may accept the opportunity if it does not interfere with school hours and the Work Education Agreement.

4. How does the student get to and from the placement?

Transportation to and from the placement is the responsibility of the student. The pre-placement component will assist the student to map out their bus route.

5. Can co-op hours be used as community involvement hours?

Co-op and community involvement are not the same. Through co-op, students benefit by gaining personal work experience. Community involvement hours, on the other hand, involve volunteer opportunities where the community benefits.  These hours must be achieved outside of school hours and approved by Guidance before beginning the hours.

6. Are students insured in case of an accident in the workplace?

A Work Education Agreement (WEA) is completed for each student and is signed by the student, co-op teacher, placement supervisor, and parent (if the student is under 18 years of age). Through the WEA, students are covered by WSIB (Workplace Safety Insurance Board) while at their placements. In addition, parents or students 18 or older may consider purchasing their own insurance.

7. What if the student doesn't like his or her placement?

Prior to attending the placements, all students are interviewed by the co-op teacher in order to match students to placements. In addition, students attend pre-placement classes in order to prepare for their placement. Students who positively participate, communicate with co-workers, demonstrate on-going initiative and enthusiasm will be successful in this partnership experience. When students sign the Work Education Agreement, they are making a commitment to their placement. It is very rare for students to be relocated.

8. Can a student be removed from the placement?

If the student is not adjusting well to placement expectations, the employer has the right to dismiss the student. The aim is to give students a realistic work experience and help them understand what it takes to get and keep a job. The co-op program is providing students with an opportunity to learn and grow while trying to meet realistic employment opportunities as experienced by all new employees. If a student is unwilling or unable to change his or her focus or behaviour, credits may be in jeopardy.

9. What is expected from placement supervisors?

Employers are expected to provide a realistic view of workplace expectations and offer training and guidance for educational growth. Workplace employees will demonstrate the attitudes and skills required of a successful and responsible employee in a safe and healthy environment. Employers will sign Ministry documents, complete performance appraisals and foster a learning environment, which includes job-specific health and safety training.

10. Who ensures student safety?

During pre-placement general safety awareness training is featured. When students begin their placement, the employer provides specific safety orientation and ongoing training. Students have the responsibility to wear personal protective equipment at all times, follow workplace guidelines and practices, and report any injuries or hazards.

11. Does a student need to find their own co-op placement?

The co-op department has developed many community relationships. We like to recommend to students previous co-op employers who demonstrate a strong commitment to youth learning and achievement.  If a student has a contact with an appropriate organization, the co-op teacher can verify and approve a new placement opportunity.​

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