Co-op Education & Work Experience
Please Note: As Education policies and guidelines fall under provincial ministries of education and jurisdiction each school authority must ensure that all staff adheres to the procedures and guidelines as defined and delineated in each individual province.
Introduction to the Value of Work Placements and Co-ops
Throughout Canada provincial ministries of education permits school authorities to develop off-campus education programs and courses in accordance with prescribed guidelines and procedures. Such programs allow secondary school students to investigate a variety of career opportunities. They also allow senior high school students to gain practical experience as they apply and expand their knowledge, skills and attitudes in contexts that will assist them in making wise decisions regarding their future education, training and employment upon leaving senior high school and allow for the smooth transition from school to work and/or post-secondary institutions.
Off-campus education is an experiential method of learning that integrates a student’s classroom studies with recognized on-the-job work experiences. Off-campus education programs are based on the belief that educators can enhance student learning experiences by bringing the community into the school and by placing students out into the community. This requires a partnership involving the school, the parents/guardians, the student and the employing organization, i.e., business, industry, government or not-for-profit agency, with each of the partners sharing the responsibility for student growth and learning.
Using the expertise, talent and resources of community-based service organizations and agencies, and of business, industry, citizen groups and parents/guardians, schools can enrich the educational experiences of students. Regardless of the model used, a well-planned program will involve the community in such a way that out-of-school experiences reinforce, extend and motivate student learning.
Each provincial ministry of education use a set of planned educational experiences designed to enable students to acquire knowledge, skills and attitudes related to work and other life roles through their participation in out-of-class study, observation and/or performance in community-based work sites and/or work stations. In some situations, this may involve volunteer activities rather than paid employment.
The FIT program encourages these types of off campus experiences and credits students who meet the co-op/work experience provincial guidelines by awarding a gold seal on the FIT certificate.
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