A photo of Taryn in a hard hat and high vis jacket at her co-op work site.

What is the co-op program?  

Co-op is short for co-operative education; this program allows students to gain work experience while going to school and earning credits! The co-op program is available to students in many different programs, such as Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Tourism Management, and more. I’m in the Bachelor of Business Administration and started the co-op program in my third year. Luckily, TRU’s co-op program is non-competitive and has GPA requirements that are easy to attain, so this program is widely accessible. It’s an opportunity you won’t want to miss out on! 

Before beginning work in the co-op program, students must complete the COOP 1000 class. This course is extremely valuable. I learned resume and cover letter creation, interview skills, and I had the opportunity to explore jobs in my field. We even did mock interviews with employers to get constructive criticism on our interview skills. This course helped me improve my writing skills and increased my confidence when applying for jobs.  

Once the course is complete, there are plenty of co-op opportunities for students to discover. TRU assists students in this search with a website called Career Connections. Employers post student co-op jobs through the website, and students can apply and contact the employers directly for the job and term they are interested in. Using this website, I found my first co-op job! 

Co-op work terms are two, four, or eight months long. While completing a work term, students work full-time and don’t attend class. You also get paid by the company you work for during the work term. For myself, I needed to complete three work terms, so I decided to do them at different companies.  

For my first co-op term, I worked at a construction company during the Summer 2022 semester. My position was in marketing as it’s my field of study. I was greeted with open arms when starting my co-op position by my bosses and my coworkers. I was given full responsibility of their social media accounts, Google Advertising, and signage design, with help along the way of course. Learning and applying marketing skills in a real-life situation greatly increased my understanding of the field and what I could be doing one day once I graduate. In addition, because I worked for a construction company, I learned all about their company and the construction industry on top of developing marketing skills. 

When I finished my co-op term, I had four months of marketing experience and a job offer for when I graduate. I also became a part of a team that was sad to see me go – they even got me this cake on my last day! 

Cake with the words "Fine. Go. Good luck finding better looking more talented coworkers than us!" in icing.
Taryn’s goodbye cake

I believe the co-op program is an incredible opportunity because students can gain work experience while completing their degree, giving them an advantage when applying for jobs after graduation. Many companies look for people with a degree AND with experience. Also, working in your field allows you to apply what you’re learning in school, which creates a greater understanding and appreciation for what you’re studying. On top of these benefits, it’s incredibly important to try different roles before graduation to see if that career is truly what you’re interested in. I highly recommend the co-op program to all students who are eligible! 

TRU Future Student Ambassador, Taryn – Bachelor of Business and Administration, “A Student’s Take on the Co-op Program”, 8 Nov. 2022

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