The role of the program supervisor is critical to the success of any student Co-op – these tips will help you maximize the value of your Co-op placement.
We hope you will help the Co-op students you supervise to acquire relevant knowledge and skills on the job – work terms are an integral part of their education.
It is also important that your organization receive good business value.
The following suggestions will help you make the most of your participation in a Co-operative Education program and ensure the work term is a productive one for you and the student.
What are Co-op students like?
- Eager to expand their knowledge and skills
- Quick to learn and become productive
- Keen to make a contribution to your organization
- Interested in feedback about their performance
How can you enhance the students work experience?
- Welcome and orient students to the workplace
- Provide a workstation and appropriate tools/equipment
- Explain the purpose and structure of your organization and your expectations of the student
- Discuss with students their personal career interests and learning objectives
- Assign a major project early and keep students as busy as possible throughout the work term
- Involve students in planning, meetings, and correspondence that relate to their work assignments
- Give students feedback about their work performance
Generating Work Term Assignments
- Before students arrive, identify projects that would make the workplace better and more efficient, but that are not getting done. In addition, ask students to:
- Propose their own projects
- Write an analytical report on an issue facing the organization
- Deliver a training workshop - there may be areas such as computer technology where students are quite knowledgeable
- Survey industry periodicals and distribute clippings of the best articles
- Job shadow other staff or suppliers to the organization
- Help stage a special event
- Replace staff on leaves-of-absence
Performance evaluations are instrumental in helping students understand their strengths and areas for improvement. It is critical to give students regular feedback on the job, in addition to completing a written performance evaluation at the end of the work term.
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