Cooperative Education (“Co-op” for short) aims to connect student classroom learning with valuable work experience, preparing students for a successful career ahead of them. A co-op placement is a partnership between a student, an employer and the educational institution. The success of the Co-op partnership is dependent upon a mutual commitment from all parties.
Students enrolled in the Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences are eligible to apply to this program and pursue a co-op placement that fits with their academic goals and interests. Students gain 3-credit hours for each 4-month term (minimum 12 weeks). Placements can be within academia, the non-profit sector, the agriculture or agri-food industry or the government, but the employer needs to be made aware that it is a co-op placement as early as possible.
Employers can provide any term position to a student as a co-op placement if they are an agency, organization or company that follows the employer standards outlined in the program. Working with the Co-op Coordinator, employers can market their position to students within particular undergraduate programs.
Co-op placements require collaboration between the Faculty’s Co-op Coordinator and employers who are looking to specifically hire co-op students, with both parties gaining a better sense of the other’s ever-shifting needs. The Faculty is thrilled to work with long-time, committed employer partners and is always open to forming new ones within industry and government.
What is a Co-op Placement?
A Co-op placement is a paid work experience that can earn a student 3 credit hours for completing at least 420 hours with a participating employer – these hours must be completed within the 4-month academic term.
The Faculty’s Cooperative Education coordinator acts as a liaison between the student, the employer and any involved academic staff. He/she promotes employer listings to students, monitors students’ commitment to their placements and conducts the evaluations.
Co-op placements can take place in either Summer term (May-August) or Winter term (January-April). PLEASE NOTE: As of May 2020, the Faculty’s Co-op Program no longer offers Fall co-op placements. Students who wish to do a co-op placement in Winter term must be accepted into the program as of October 31st of that same academic year. Students who are applying to the co-op program that fall are not guaranteed acceptance into the program as intake for new co-op students will continue until the deadline in January; students may not be approved until after the application deadline.
How does a student qualify for the program?
Students need to have completed at least one year of at least part-time academic studies in the Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences before starting their first co-op placement.
Please refer to the UM Calendar 2020-2021 for the most updated requirements for entering the Cooperative Education program.
International Students: You will need to meet with someone at the International Centre first to discuss your work permit for the co-op placement before you contact our Co-op Coordinator. Please note that our Coordinator cannot provide advice on work or study permits.
What are the steps in the program?
Step 1: Students must apply to the Co-op Program via the Career Connect portal. All students within the Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences have had accounts made for them and need to reset their password and then logging in to access the Agriculture Co-op module.
Applications for the Co-op Program are due by the first Friday of the Winter term (January) of each academic year. Upon acceptance into the program, students will be eligible for completing a summer co-op placement. Applications will not be accepted by email.
Step 2: Students need to attend all events that are sent to co-op students by email. This includes the U of M Career Fair in January, employer info nights and career workshops offered by the Faculty that prepare students for applying to and securing a co-op placement. Students are required to attend at least 2 of the workshops offered.
Step 3: Employers who have committed to hiring students from the program will post co-op placements via Career Connect. Students must apply to these positions using the portal. Students can also turn a non-co-op position (max. 4 month term) into a co-op placement if the employer (including the supervisor) commits to participating in the required activities of co-op, including goal-setting and student evaluations. Students should consult with the Co-op Coordinator prior to talking with an employer about a co-op placement if they are unsure about whether or not the employer will be open to participating in the co-op program requirements.
Step 4: Employers select their ideal candidate and provide the name to the Co-op Coordinator. Employers provide a formal Letter of Offer to the student, which outlines terms of employment, salary, start and end dates, hours of work, reporting structure, request for confidentiality agreements or criminal record checks, if applicable.
Step 5: Students who have secured a co-op placement register online for the co-op course in order to obtain the credit. This can be done up to 2 weeks before the start of the co-op placement. Special permission to register for these courses is required. All registered students must participate in a mandatory Orientation that introduces the course instructor and participants. The co-op courses are offered online on UM Learn and are graded on a Pass/Fail basis.
Co-op Courses (in progression) are as follows:
AGRI 2002 – First Co-op Placement: Introduction to HR and Career Competencies
AGRI 3002 – Second Co-op Placement: Values-Based Leadership Development
AGRI 4002 – Third Co-op Placement: Special Project
Students will earn their co-op designation (indication on their parchment at graduation) with the completion of at least two co-op placements. Full credit hours are required for completion.
Expectations of Co-op Students:
Pre-Placement (1-4 months prior to start of placement):
On the co-op placement job site:
Ready to apply?
Visit Career Connect and start your application.
Current students of the Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences have been given an account within Career Connect and simply need to reset their password.
Questions? Concerns? Please contact the Co-op Coordinator: firstname.lastname@example.org