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Frequently Asked Questions 405
Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions regarding Cooperative Education: FAQ's 

1.  What are the three components of the Co-op program?

  • ​Pre-Placement Orientation: the first few weeks of the semester
    • “Prior to their placements, Cooperative Education students must attend pre-placement classes at MCI during their scheduled co-op period. A variety of topics are covered that will prepare them for their placement.
    • Pre-placement orientation will also include an initial student-teacher conference regarding the content of the student’s personalized placement learning plan, the PPLP
    • Topics covered:
      • ​Create effective résumés, cover letters and reference
      • Demonstrate the ability to communicate their interest in a work opportunity effectively e.g., by telephone, in person, or through the mail or e-mail and the Internet);
      • Research their potential co-op placement and identify common interview questions and demonstrated the ability to respond appropriately and effectively
      • Cover placement-specific workplace health and safety considerations
      • Understand issues relating to confidentiality and the right to privacy
      • Work ethics and the responsible use of information technology
      • Review relevant sections of the Employment Standards Act and the Human Rights Act
      • Understand the appropriate methods of dealing with and reporting concerns or problems at the placement
  • ​​Integration session: Every other Monday in school - see the co-op calendar
    • The integration portion of the classroom component of a cooperative education course involves sessions with students covering a variety of 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.
  • Placement Component - students at their actual placement​
    • ​Through a series of interview with the students, an appropriate placment is found. This process involves as assessment of hte placement by the co-op teacher to determine suitability, and an interview of the student by the employer (placement supervisor). After the successful completion of those two steps, the student can start to attend the plcement. 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 employers may choose to provide a modest honorarium or assist students with work related expenses ie: transportation, uniform, however, this is not common and is not expected.

3.  Can the student be hired 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?

A Work Education Agreement (WEA) is completed for each student and is signed by the student, co-op teacher, employer, 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 are recommended to 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 approximately two-three weeks of pre-placement classes in order to prepare for this endeavor. Students, who positively participate, communicate with co-workers; demonstrate on-going initiative and enthusiasm will be most successful in this partnership experience. When students sign the Work Education Agreement, they are making a commitment to this placement. It is very rare for students to be relocated. The co-op teacher will assist wherever possible to maximize learning and personal growth.

8. What if a student isn't fitting in with 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-operative Education program is providing students an opportunity to learn and grow while trying to meet realistic employment opportunities as experienced by all new employees. The co-op teacher, will continue to work with this student. If the student is unwilling or unable to change his or her focus or behaviour, credits may be in jeopardy. If the student is able to make meaningful adjustments, a new placement may be found if time and circumstances permit.

9. What is expected from employers?

Employers are expected to provide a realistic view of workplace expectations and offer 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, offer a learning environment, which includes job-specific health and safety training, and work in partnership with the co-op teacher to outline work expectations.

10. Who ensures student safety?

The Co-op teacher is expected to provide general safety awareness training during pre-placement sessions. The employer should provide 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.
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