5 ways co-op can transform your career path

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Co-op programs are a great way to improve your future career opportunities. Co-op experiences give you the chance to work in your chosen field, develop your skills and increase your employability. Even better, co-op students get paid during work terms, so you can save money while learning on the job.

Kick start things by checking out Work BC’s Blueprint Builder and by celebrating B.C. Co-op Week from March 14 to 18. Then, consider these five ways a co-op program can transform your career.

Co-op gives you practical experience and skills

Image: Shutterstock, Rido

Image: Shutterstock, Rido

Each dream career comes with its own required practical skills needed in the job setting. Learning in the classroom can only take you so far, you have to apply what you’ve learned in the real world. Co-op programs give you that opportunity.

Co-op offers networking opportunities

Image: Shutterstock, Startup Stock Photos, Verne Ho, Leonardo da

Image: Shutterstock, Startup Stock Photos, Verne Ho, Leonardo da

When you complete a co-op term, you’re working with your future colleagues and employers – maybe even literally. This gives you the chance to get to know them, show off your skills and reach out for valuable career advice. Make a good impression with these key people and they may be the ones hiring (or recommending) you in the future.

Co-op lets you test a career

Image: Shutterstock, Prasit Rodphan

Image: Shutterstock, Prasit Rodphan

Participating in co-op gives you the chance to test skills learned in the classroom in the workplace of your potential career. Will it be high-pressure? Will it suit your specific skills? Figuring that out now puts you ahead of the game once you’ve earned your diploma or degree.

Co-op can lead to a job

Image: Shutterstock

Image: Shutterstock

Co-op is a short-term work experience opportunity. But for those who excel in their roles, a short-term co-op could become a permanent position. Imagine: You could graduate from your program and already have a job in place. Say goodbye to post-graduation stress.

Co-op increases your employability

Image: Shutterstock

Image: Shutterstock

An SFU survey of alumni who completed a co-op found that the more co-op terms a student completed, the more quickly the student was hired after graduation. Additionally, 94% of those who responded said they felt they had a competitive advantage in the job market. Still not convinced? Here are four studies that suggest co-op students are more employable when they’re finished their program than those who haven’t done a co-op program.

March 14 to 18 is National Co-op Week, so there’s no better time to look into co-op programs and find one that will set you off on your career path. Head over to Work BC’s Blueprint Builder to learn about co-op programs offered in your field and take your first step towards your next opportunity.

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