Co-op creates careers

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Harman Bajwa
Gaston Wong
Gaston Wong

Co-op, or co-operative education, is an option students in select KPU business, arts, and science programs have to alternate semesters of on-campus study, with paid work experience terms related to their field of study. Students go through the process of searching and applying for jobs, preparing and reviewing their resumé and cover letter, and interviewing for positions.

According to a news release from the BC government, there are more than 150 different co-op programs at public post-secondary institutions in the province. With nearly a million job openings expected in BC through to 2025, and over half requiring some form of post-secondary training and/or significant work experience, it’s clear that the need for co-operative education will continue.

“I took co-op to gain the hands-on experience that might not be taught in class,” says Bajwa, “I had never worked in an office environment so it was a great way to get my foot in the door and work in that type of setting.”

Now in the midst of his co-op term, Bajwa is making connections between what’s happening in class and the office.

Harman Bajwa
Harman Bajwa

“It’s funny because I would hear other students say, ‘When are we ever going to use this?’ but here I am a year later, using everything I learned from class and applying it to my job. Having a resumé that includes this work experience in addition to saying you completed a post-secondary program definitely helps you to stick out from other candidates.”

For Wong, co-op was a way to build on the knowledge and skills he already had.

“I saw an opportunity to set new goals and explore future career options” he says, “You get the chance to dip your toe into new projects and explore different career fields. You might surprise yourself.”

In the midst of his third co-op term, Wong found a permanent position within his organization.

“It let me jump-start my career” he says, “You get an advantage that other prospective graduates don’t have.”

Outside of co-op, many KPU programs include work experience placements, practicums, and input from industry leaders to ensure graduates and well prepared to enter the workforce.

For more than 30 years, Kwantlen Polytechnic University has provided students with the skills they need for the careers they want. KPU offers a range of degree, diploma, certificate, and citation programs with opportunities for hands-on experience and experiential learning. Why stop at theory, when you can also harness the power of experience? Launch your career and make a positive impact on your community with experiential learning at KPU: where thought meets action.

To find out more contact the Future Students’ Office at study@kpu.ca or kpu.ca