Co-operative Education Program
The Co-operative Education (Co-op) Program aims to connect student classroom learning with valuable work experience, preparing students for a successful career ahead of them
Build and develop workplace skills while you obtain your degree
Find the Co-op application form on UM Connect! Login with your UM ID
What is Co-op?
Co-op is an experiential learning program that gives you the opportunity to use your classroom knowledge in real world, productive work environments; all while you get paid and earn academic credit. It is a partnership between a student, an employer and the educational institution. Each co-op work term earns a student 3 credit hours towards a free elective while working full time hours for approximately 4 months over the academic term.
Co-op positions 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 the student is participating in a co-op work term well in advance.
The Faculty’s Cooperative Education Coordinator acts as a liaison between the student, the employer and any involved academic staff. They prepare co-op students for a successful job search by providing extensive professional development training and support through individual coaching and group workshop sessions - such as resume writing, job search, interviewing and workplace preparedness. They also work with employer partners to develop and promote co-op job opportunities to students, monitors students’ commitment to the program, and conducts the evaluations. Your Co-op Coordinator is always available for you to contact throughout your work term and the school year, should any questions or concerns arise.
Apply to the Co-op Program
Joining the Co-op Program is a commitment. Here's what you will need to get started:
All students are advised that satisfying the entrance requirements does not guarantee a job in the Co-op Program. Acceptance into the program is dependant upon the student seeking out and securing a co-op work term with support from the Co-op Office.
Degree Program Students
Students who have been admitted to an undergraduate program within the faculty are eligible to apply to the Co-op Program.
The first work term can start after the first year (24 credit hours) of a 4-year or second-degree program. Students admitted into the Program must maintain good academic standing (minimum DGPA of 2.0) throughout their co-op work terms.
Each co-op term that receives a Pass mark earns a student 3 credit hours. During a work term, a co-op student may take one additional course. Courses cannot interfere with the student's work and must be taken outside of work hours. Co-op students should not graduate on a work term without written permission from the Co-op Office.
Diploma in Agriculture Students
To be considered for admission in the Cooperative Education Program, a first year diploma student must have a minimum Degree GPA of 2.0, and have completed at least 24 credit hours of studies by the end of the academic year of application.
International students are welcome to apply for Co-op. If accepted into the co-op program, international students must follow the steps below:
- Apply for a co-op work permit from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). This permit allows international students to participate in off-campus cooperative education employment.
- Request a letter from the co-op office detailing the conditions of their co-op participation and employment. This letter will ask that the co-op work permit be valid until the completion of all three co-op work terms. It must be included in the above application package.
- Submit the entire package immediately to IRCC. Check their website for information on how to submit the application and the processing times.
- Students must have a valid study permit to apply for a co-op work permit.
There is no fee for the co-op work permit application within internship or co-op programs. International students may contact or see an advisor at the International Centre for co-op work permit-related questions.
A copy of the co-op work permit must be submitted to both the work term employer and the co-op office prior to the commencement of the work term.
Please note that international students will not be eligible to apply for positions with Canadian federal departments and agencies requiring secret security clearance within the federal government.
Benefits & Costs
The Co-op Program provides students with supports and opportunities to:
- Exclusive career development and employment support designed to help students gain confidence in their abilities and seek support in areas of improvement.
- Build a strong resume, cover letter, and interview skills. Every job application submitted builds confidence and skills as a job seeker - because it's not just about the work experience, it's the experience getting the work!
- Gain and develop crucial technical and employability skills.
- Earn money to supplement education costs. Co-op students receive competitive wages.
- Explore different career options and task varieties that can help define long-term career and employment goals.
- Develop and maintain important industry contacts.
- Earn three (3) credit hours per Co-op Work Term towards a free elective. Three successful work terms can help you balance academic and professional goals.
- Access student awards such as the UM Co-op Students of the Year and the CEWIL Canada Student of the Year award.
- Gain Co-op designations on transcripts and parchments that are an advantage when seeking permanent employment.
- Gain recognition that allows employers to access hiring incentives for student work terms which helps develop long-term employment opportunities.
Costs & Associated Fees
|Agricultural & Food Sciences
Expectations of Co-op Students
Applicants who are accepted to the program agree to follow set guidelines that are designed to help them be successful before and after graduation.
As a Co-op student, you become a representative of the Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences. It is important for everyone to work together to make a co-op work term a meaningful experience and preserve valued relationships between students, the Co-op Coordinator and industry partners.
The following is a non-exhaustive list of expectations that Co-op students must adhere to, refer to the Co-op Student Guide for a full detailed information on student requirements.
- Inform the Co-op Coordinator of any changes to your degree, program or contact information.
- Follow the steps and guidelines outlined in the application process.
- Conduct research for potential co-op work term that suit your interests, academic goals and personal life adaptability (i.e. capacity to live short-term in rural Manitoba).
- Ensure your resume and cover letters are complete in all areas and professional in appearance.
- Apply for an appropriate number of jobs across a range of sectors of the agri-food industry.
- International students: Meet with the International Centre at the UM about work permits prior to applying to the Co-op Program and securing a co-op job.
- Attend and participate in professional development opportunities to enhance the Co-op experience.
Pre-Placement (1-4 months prior to start of placement):
- Connect with the Co-op Coordinator with any potential employer who requests more information on co-op.
- Attend all orientations and meetings that inform and prepare students for starting co-op placements.
- Register for the appropriate Co-op Work Term about 1 month prior to starting your placement.
- Pay associated course fees for Work Term (students earn 3 credit hours for each Term/placement once they receive a "Pass" grade in Aurora).
- Review your email frequently for information from the Co-op Coordinator.
During the Co-op placement:
- Work to your full capacity during work terms and participate in workplace events and meetings.
- Follow all policies and procedures provided by the employer.
- Represent the Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences in a professional and ethical manner.
- Complete and submit Co-op Course deliverables, including Self-Evaluation forms, online reflection pieces and final reports, in a timely manner.
Before You Apply
Students who are applying to the Co-op Program are encouraged to register for and attend a co-op information sessions prior to submitting an application.
The information session will include the following topics:
- Benefits of the Co-op Program
- Student responsibilities and expectations
- Student intake application process
- Onboarding and pre-placement
- ...and much more!
Register on UM Connect.
Did you miss a Co-op Info session? Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for a recording of the session.
Career and Academic Planning
Applying to and participating in the Co-op Program is a commitment to enhance your overall student experience and development. From job search to developing tailored applications to building a professional network, you will be exposed to opportunities and situations that will require you to make decisions that impact other areas of your life.
Students who are interested in applying to the program are encouraged to meet with a Career Consultant to discuss how the Co-op Program can affect, change, and contribute to career and academic plans/goals.
Important note about the online application form: There is currently no way to 'save' an incomplete application once it has started. Consider typing out your responses in a separate document if you require more time.
When to Apply
Co-op intake occurs once per year, in the fall term. Applications open in the summer. Once you are accepted into the program, you do not need to reapply for subsequent/future work terms.
Ex. If a student wishes to complete a co-op work term in Fall 2024 or Winter 2025, they would apply for the Co-op Program in Fall 2023.
Interested in applying for a Winter 2024 work term? You may be eligible for an accelerated option to start your first work term as early as the upcoming winter term.
Why does the standard co-op schedule begin in the summer term?
When co-op students are accepted into the program, they receive coaching and guidance on how to prepare themselves for a successful work search, including preparing a quality resume and cover letter, and feeling confident and prepared going into interviews. This occurs over the fall and winter terms.
For International students, they must receive a co-op work permit from IRCC, which has lengthy processing times.
If you feel you are ready to start the job search process immediately, you may apply for the Winter 2024 term.
What is required to be eligible for the accelerated Winter 2024 application option?
In addition to the general co-op requirements:
- Complete at least two academic terms of your program at FAFS
- Ready to submit a quality, sample resume and cover letter as part of your co-op application
- Immediately eligible to start working (most International students will unfortunately not qualify due to Co-op Work Permit processing times)
- Possess interviewing skills, ready to go to an interview if invited
What You Need To Apply
Get the following ready before you start your application:
- Student number
- Credit hours completed & Degree GPA (i.e. UMAchieve, unofficial web transcript through Aurora, etc.)
Co-op Job Criteria
In order to qualify as a co-op position, a job opportunity must be:
- Full time (minimum 35 hours per week)
Approx. 4 months in duration, or min. 420 hours, spanning the academic term
- Meaningful and challenging work that is relevant to a program of study in the Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences.
Ready To Apply?
After you've completed the pre-application process, follow the steps below to apply to the Co-op Program.
1. Log-in to your student account in UM Connect
All Co-op Job Postings and Events are only accessible through the Agriculture Co-op module in UM Connect. Students with an active UM student email (UMnetID@myumanitoba.ca) can log-in to the portal using single sign-on.
What is single sign-on? This is a feature made possible by integration that allows students to log-in to the system using a single set of log-in credentials (e.g. webmail)
2. Confirm access to the Ag & Food Sci Career & Co-op module
Accounts need special permission to view the Faculty's module within the UM Connect portal. Once you log-in, confirm that you are able to view/access the "Ag & Food Sci Career & Co-op" module found on the left navigation menu.
If you are having trouble viewing/accessing this module, contact the Co-operative Education Coordinator at email@example.com for assistance.
3. Complete a Co-op Program Application Form
After gaining access to the Ag & Food Sci Career & Co-op module in UM Connect, click on "Ag & Food Sci Co-op" and complete a formal application form.
Co-op intake occurs annually in the fall. If you wish to have your first work placement in Summer 2024, submit an application during the Fall 2023 Intake.
4. Attend a Group Interview
Once an application is submitted, selected students will be invited to a Group Interview. This is an opportunity for the Co-op Coordinator to meet you and learn more about your experience, goals, and motivations for joining co-op.
After the group interview period, you will receive an email informing you of your application status in the program. If accepted, you will receive an invitation to attend a Co-op Orientation.
5. Apply for jobs and attend job interviews
All applications will require you to submit a tailored resume and cover letter. Attend workshops offered by Central Career Services to improve your job search skills, utilize the resources provided by the co-op office, and use the skills and knowledge you've gained to create strong applications.
You are encouraged to consider applying for a number of opportunities to increase your chances of securing a co-op work term. This may include applying for jobs from a variety of sources such as the Agriculture General job board, external job search websites, co-op and non-co-op specific positions, and your personal network.
Students can also turn a role not originally created for a co-op student (max. 4 month term) into a co-op role if the job meets co-op criteria and the employer (including the supervisor) commits to participating in the required activities of the program, including the employer onboarding process and student evaluations.
Successful job applicants will be contacted by employers directly to schedule job interviews. If you are planning to follow-up with an employer to confirm interview appointments, we recommend that you are detailed and thorough in your communication to ensure accurate information prior to the interview.
Note: It is recommended that you practice and thoroughly prepare for your interview. Appointments for one-on-one Mock Interviews are limited to students who have secured an interview date and time. Ensure that you give yourself some time to prepare for an interview.
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.
6. Register for a Co-op Course
Students who have secured a co-op work term must 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/work term. For example, if you are scheduled to start working in May, you have to register for a Co-op course by mid-April.
Special permission to register for these courses is required. As a part of these courses, all registered students must participate in a mandatory orientation session.
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 work terms. Full credit hours are required for completion.
7. Pay associated Co-op Fees
Students with secured work placements and co-op course registrations are required to pay associated course fees for each Co-op Work Term.
You must complete this step prior to the start of your placement. Failure to pay the associated fees may result in a Hold Status on your student account that will prevent you from earning the credit hours associated with the co-op course for that term.