What is Co-op?

A Beginner’s Guide to Co-op

By: Jey Jeyapalan, PM at Grapevine


In the modern recruitment world, time saved can seem like the holy grail. But if you really think about it, the most important decision you make on a team is hiring the best talent. So why not tap in to this exciting opportunity?


Co-op, also known as co-operative work programs, is a partnership involving students, employers, and universities/colleges that provides students with work experience to complement their in-class training.


It is the best way for students to

  • Gain valuable paid work experience in their field of study

  • Develop professional skills and gain a better understanding of the workplace

  • Discover what career path fits them best through various job opportunities

  • Build networking skills and connections in the job market to help get set up after graduation.

  • Travel and meet interesting people across the world.


The goal of co-operative education is to introduce students to the reality of the workplace through hands-on training. Through community placements, students have an incredible opportunity to explore career options.

Employers hire qualified and motivated students to fulfill short-term and future employment needs. Depending on the size, scope, and industry of a company, employers often hire anywhere between 1-20 co-ops onto a team at a given time.




Why Hire Co-op Students?


North American businesses that hire student interns can benefit in a variety of ways including gaining fresh ideas from the students, filling workforce needs for temporary or short-term projects, developing and training students who turn into future employees, and also obtaining tax credits and wage subsidies to support the costs of hiring students.


1.Relieving Full Time Employees


A student co-op is a great resource for an organization to manage short-term projects and take on work that full-time staff is unable to manage. Companies have access to the latest talent pool of potential employees before they enter the post-graduate job market. Since co-ops are typically temporary positions, there does not need to be a long-term commitment from the employer, or the new hire. Moreover, allowing full-time employees to free up their plates means allowing them to take on work and projects more pivotal towards the growth of your business.



2. Students Are Ambitious!


There is an extensive pool of talented and educated individuals eager to test out their recently acquired knowledge in a real-world setting. Students can bring high energy to a team, regardless of position or industry. Students may have a goal of being hired on as full-time staff post-graduation, so they are eager to make a positive impact and support the growth of the business. As they are coming straight from modern teaching in the classroom, they are up to date on the latest technologies in their respective fields and can offer fresh insight to organizations.



3.Find your Future Employees


By looking at co-ops as a future investment in your hiring process, you are able to personally select and homegrow the talent base of your team. Thinking of a co-op term as an extended interview, you get the best chance to find the top-performers and standouts in a batch, allowing you to get first-hand access to students and talent once they graduate. Students have a 65% higher chance of accepting a return offer to a company, if they have completed an internship or co-op right before their graduation.



In short, co-op programs across the world are changing the way employers build relationships with students, and allow them to tap into a new domain of fresh energy and talent into the workforce.






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