A student points to a computer monitor while talking with a professor in a research lab.

Co-op Program

Contribute to developing experiential learning opportunities while strengthening your recruitment strategy and gaining insight from bright and motivated individuals.

What is a co-op employer?

Co-op employers provide any four month 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.

Become a Co-op Employer

Hiring through the Co-op Program is a great way to recruit skilled and motivated students who are eager to learn and contribute. The Program allows students to apply theory into practice through relevant, full-time and paid opportunities.

Benefits of Being a Co-op Employer

The Co-op Program provides employers with supports and opportunities to:

  • Gain new, innovative ideas and fresh perspectives from students.
  • Build and develop a fruitful relationship with members of the Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences and the Agri-Food sector.
  • Continuous access to a diverse pool of potential student candidates with varying backgrounds in the agri-food sector.
  • Access hiring incentives, wage subsidies, government tax incentives such as the Cooperative Education tax credit that covers 15% (up to $5000) of student wages.
  • Reduce recruitment costs by addressing labour market gaps through a growing coop program.
  • Evaluate, train and mentor long-term employees before committing. Most co-op employers hire their students after graduation. 
  • Each work term allows employers to explore different job designs, task varieties, and project needs that can help define the company's recruitment and staffing goals.
  • Learn and build on supervisory and project management skills by taking on co-op students as new trainees and employees, and by participating in evaluations and career conversations.

Employer Responsibilities

Participating in the Co-op Program contributes to the overall student experience and addresses labour market needs. The Faculty ensures that co-op students are accountable to employers by maintaining regular contact with both direct supervisors and students. 

It is important for us to work together to make this a meaningful experience and preserve valued relationships between students, coop coordinator(s), and industry partners. 

The following is a non-exhaustive list of responsibilities that Co-op employers must adhere to:

  • Adhere to all laws and legislation related to labour and employment such as the Occupation Health and Safety legislation, Canada Labour Code, Canadian Human Rights Act, Employment Standards legislation, and much more.
  • Provide meaningful, relevant, paid employment for a minimum of 420 hours and/or 12 weeks (35-40 hours per week).
  • Provide the student/Co-op Program with an accurate job description.
  • Provide a written letter of offer to the student outlining offer details.
  • Respect the Co-op Office’s timelines, schedules and deadlines.
  • Offer reasonable notice to candidates to be interviewed and of cancellations.
  • Provide an orientation to familiarize the student with their responsibilities, work environment, direct supervisor (or workplace mentor) and organization's policies, etc.
  • Develop and provide a training plan for students to learn and understand the role, health and safety regulations, and other procedures necessary to the position.
  • Foster a positive experiential learning environment for the co-op student that encourages career conversations and discussions on career pathways, opportunities, learning objectives, etc.
  • Provide a safe and conducive work environment, especially to those with limited experience. 
  • Meet with a Co-op Coordinator and the co-op student for a site visit/mid-term meeting once per co-op work term to assess student progress.
  • Complete the Student Evaluation Form at the beginning and end of the work term and discuss it with the student.
  • Communicate any potential difficulties in completing work terms with the student and the Co-op Coordinator.

Onboarding Process for New Co-op Employers

New Co-op Employers are encouraged to review the following to ensure that processes are clear right from registering at the beginning to conducting final student evaluations at the end of each work term. 

Using UM Connect for recruitment and hiring

The Co-op Program mainly operates via the UM Connect portal where employers can post jobs and view applications. 

Visit UM Connect 

Importance of Having Career Conversations

Career conversations allow employers to learn about students’ strengths, interests, and future goals and ultimately help students to connect their current positions to their future career ideas. In some cases, duties might be enhanced after the mid-point meeting based on the knowledge, skill set, and interests that the student brings to the position.

By creating hands-on experiential learning opportunities, you are helping students develop skills and competencies that contribute to their overall academic, professional, and career success!

Program Deliverables

As soon as the student starts their work term, their direct supervisor becomes an active part of the co-op process. Supervisors provide students with feedback on their work performance through 3 evaluations, which are initiated and collected by the Faculty.

These evaluations occur at the 1-month, 2-month (or halfway) and 4-month (or end of work term) marks. The 2-month evaluation usually occurs in-person at the job site or virtually – the student arranges a Co-op Coordinator arranges a suitable time with their supervisor and Co-op Coordinator.

To ensure the health and safety of our communities, all Co-op students and employers must adhere to COVID-19 safety policies and guidelines. For more information, visit Health Canada

Wage Subsidies, Tax Incentives & Financial Support

Explore this extensive list of wage subsidy and tax rebate programs employers can access when hiring a student for Summer, co-op or internship placements. 

Learn More

Suggested Hiring Timeline

Suggested Timeline

Hiring Co-op students can be a rewarding process if communication with our Co-op Coordinator happens early in the academic year. We understand that companies and employers have different hiring preferences and we strive to accommodate these as best as we can.

To help you understand and adopt processes to match the Co-op Program timeline, we suggest referring to the following timelines to ensure a smooth hiring process through the Co-op Program.

Winter recruitment
Date Task/Description
June - September Submit job opportunities to the Co-op Job Board
October Review application and conduct interviews
November Finalize the hiring process; Confirm new Co-op hires with the Co-op Coordinator
January - April  Winter Co-op Work Term
Summer recruitment
Date Task/Description
September - February Submit job opportunities to the Co-op Job Board
October - March Review applications, conduct interviews and finalize the hiring process. Confirm new Co-op hires with the Co-op Coordinator
May - August Summer Co-op Work Term
Summer recruitment - Special Intake

The special intake process accommodates employers with different hiring preferences and situations (e.g. applied for and are waiting for funding, chose to hire closer to the start of the work term, new Co-op employers, etc.)

Date Task/Description
January - February Submit job opportunities to the Co-op Job Board and utilize various channels for promotions
March - April Review application and conduct interviews
April Finalize the hiring process; Confirm new Co-op hires with the Co-op Coordinator
May - August Summer Co-op Work Term

Co-op Job Criteria

Co-op roles are:

Ready to Hire Our Students?

Follow the steps below to register as a new employer for the Co-op Program.

Step 1. Complete the Employer Registration Form

Contact the Cooperative Education Coordinator to express your interest in the Co-op Program. You will be added to our employer database and internal directory.

All submissions are strictly confidential and for administrative purposes only.

Submit Form

Step 2. Create an Employer Account on UM Connect

All Co-op Job Postings and Events will only be accessible through the Agriculture Co-op module in UM Connect. Please allow 1-2 business days to process your account registration. 

All account registrations are processed by Career Services. You will receive an email notification once your account is approved and ready for access.

Register on UM Connect

Step 3. Confirm access to the Agriculture Career & Co-op module

Accounts need special permission to view the Faculty's module within the UM Connect portal. Once you log-in to your account, confirm that you are able to view/access the "Agriculture 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 for additional assistance.

Alternatively, you can also confirm that you have access to the module by clicking on "Post A Job" and you can see the Agriculture General Job Board and the Agriculture Co-op Job Board appear as options.

Contact us

Step 4. Submit Co-op Job Postings

Once you have successfully logged-in to your UM Connect account, you can now post job postings to our Co-op Job Board. For detailed instructions, you can use this guide for reference.

If you require additional support, please contact the Cooperative Education Coordinator at agcoop@umanitoba.ca.

Step 5. Conduct Hiring and Selection Process

You are responsible for contacting and conducting interviews with suitable candidates. It is important to inform us of any updates regarding the status of your recruitment. 

When to send us an update:

  • If the deadline is fast approaching and you have not received an adequate number of applications
  • If you need assistance in booking interviews with potential Co-op candidates
  • If you have conducted your interviews and/or made an offer to a Co-op student
  • If you have not found a suitable candidate for the position
  • If you have any changes to the job posting
  • and much more!

Step 6. Finalize and confirm your new hire(s)

Upon the acceptance of a job offer, you are required to send us an email to confirm the placement and provide a proof of the student's employment. Make sure to include important details such as: 1) start and end dates, 2) anticipated hours per week, 3) other information such as salary, work location, training, etc.

Examples of documents and/or proof of your new hire:

  • Signed contract and/or work arrangement
  • Signed letter of employer
  • A copy of job offer email and acceptance

Contact Us

Agriculture Co-op Program
160-66 Dafoe Road
University of Manitoba
Winnipeg, MB R3T 5V6 Canada