Helping Students Succeed Through Work-Integrated Learning

Post-secondary students throughout British Columbia will get better opportunities to take part in co-op and other work-integrated learning opportunities.

These opportunities are a result of almost $1.9 million in funding provided to all of B.C.'s 25 public universities, colleges and institutes. Melanie Mark, Minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Training, made the announcement during a visit to SAP Labs Canada in Vancouver, where 175 co-op students and interns are working.

"Work-integrated learning gives students the opportunities to build the best future for themselves and their families," said Mark. "These co-op opportunities allow students to apply what they learn in the classroom in the real world. Employers get the chance to identify new talent and benefit from the fresh ideas and energy students bring."

Public post-secondary institutions will use these funds to support outreach to more employers, increase awareness of the benefits of work-integrated learning to employers and students, and improve their capacity to place students in meaningful workplace-based learning opportunities.

"Co-op education and integrated learning provide students with the opportunity to develop new skills and valuable work experience that will help them excel in the workplace," said Bruce Ralston, Minister of Jobs, Trades and Technology. "Co-op education also provides immense benefit to employers, who get assistance meeting their service and production needs from promising, new talent."

Co-op education is the best-known and most-formalized method of work-integrated learning. It combines academic studies with paid work experience in career-related fields. Other forms of work-integrated learning include internships, practicums and applied research projects.

The British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) has several students in tech programs. These students are benefiting from co-op programs at SAP Labs in Vancouver.

Each of B.C.'s 25 public post-secondary institutions has received $75,000 in one-time funding, for a total investment of nearly $1.9 million, to enhance co-op and other work-integrated learning opportunities for students.

The B.C. government is working with public post-secondary institutions to expand opportunities for students to gain relevant work experience through co-op education and other forms of work-integrated learning.

This funding supports a mandate commitment for the Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills and Training, as well as the Confidence and Supply Agreement with the B.C. Green Party caucus, to support co-op, apprenticeship and work experience programs for high school and undergraduate students through a four-year investment.