For an international student, a study & co-op program is one of the best ways to invest in your education and career during your short stay in Canada. Study & co-op programs range from 6 to 12 months and are structured to give you both academic skills and out of classroom, real workplace experience.
“Co-op” is a frequently used term in Canadian Universities & Colleges. Being in a Co-op program means that a student must complete a work term to earn a diploma, degree or even higher level of academic credential. For international students, study & co-op programs are offered by private colleges in Vancouver and they are all governed by federal or provincial bodies that ensure your education in Canada meet the quality standards. Private colleges have admission processes, academic standards and refund and cancellation policies that are very similar and subject to accreditation by the Canadian government.
To accept international students for full time study or study and co-op programs, private colleges must be approved by Canada Immigration and have a unique designated learning institution number assigned. This is required to apply for study or study & work permit.
VALUE OF CO-OP EXPERIENCE
It’s pretty obvious that graduates must have academic knowledge as well as hands on skills to find a meaningful career opportunity. Experience you have outside of the class room will provide you with the opportunity to network and work with Canadian professionals, further improve your business English communication skills, and grow your understanding of North American work culture. It will also help you set your expectations, and challenge yourself to adapt in a new work setting and grow as a professional in a field you are interested in.
LENGTH OF PROGRAMS
Co-op programs range from 24 weeks to 48 weeks and even longer. 50% of the course is delivered in class and the other 50% is an unpaid or paid co-op placement by Springboard agency.
TYPE OF STUDY AND CO-OP PROGRAMS
You will find Business study and co-op, International trade study and co-op, Hospitality & Tourism and co-op, Web design & development and co-op (Web design program will be added to our website by October 2015).
UNPAID AND PAID CO-OP PLACEMENTS
It would be most ideal if all work experience (co-op) offers were paid. The reality is that students with less experience, not so fluent English skills and on a shorter stay in Canada will be limited to an unpaid co-op.
Should you still do an unpaid co-op?
Yes. You should consider the unpaid co-op term as part of your program and also recognize the fact that your future employer will look for both academic and hands on experience on your resume.
Paid co-op is available for students meeting these requirements;
• Registered for 48 weeks Study and Co-op program (24 weeks study & 24 weeks co-op)
• Advance level of English communication
• Work experience from student’s home country or abroad (Minimum of 1 year experience in IT, Business & Finance management, Sales & Marketing, International trade, logistics, Tourism, Hospitality, Culinary etc)
• Professionalism & Flexibility
PAID CO-OP EARNINGS
It really depends on your professional experience and language ability. Some co-op positions will pay more than $15 an hour and some will just meet the provincial minimum requirement. BC’s minimum wage by law is $10.45 per hour since September 2015. The hours you work during the co-op term may range from 25 to 30 hours a week.
WORK PERMIT FOR YOUR CO-OP PLACEMENT
When you are accepted into a study & co-op program, you will have an official letter from the college supporting you to apply for a work permit. You are required to have a work permit to start your co-op term.
WORK OUTSIDE OF YOUR CO-OP PROGRAM?
Yes, anyone accepted and registered for a study & co-op program is authorized to work off campus throughout the entire length of the program. If you signed up for a 24 weeks program, you are legally allowed to work 20 hours a week from day 1 at college.
Springboard agency does not handle visa application for students. Students from abroad can visit VFS GLOBAL website and check out their visa processing services and support available for international students applying for a study permit. You can also visit Canada Immigration’s official website and browse under “I want to study”. Study permit application process is done online, there is a cost to it and it will take about 6 to 8 weeks to receive the approval letter. Plan ahead!
If you are in Vancouver and would like to extend your study and co-op, Springboard agency will refer you to a licensed immigration consultant to help you change your visa or extend.
COST OF THE PROGRAM
Most of the private colleges in Canada have market specific fees. The tuition costs you see on the standard program brochure may not be the fee you will be charged. Fees shown on the standard program brochure are the full prices without any discounts. Colleges also have seasonal promotions. So the total cost you end up paying for your education and co-op may be lower than what you see on the standard program brochure.