Frequently Asked Questions

What is Workplace Education (Co-op)?

Workplace Education (Co-op) is a mode of learning which combines high quality training with community and industrial interaction through work placements. A workplace education (co-op) program formally integrates a student's academic studies with relevant work experience. The usual plan is for the student to alternate experience in appropriate fields of business, industry, government and the professions according to the following criteria:


Why offer a Workplace Education (Co-op program?

Through workplace education (co-op), employers and educators share the responsibility to prepare students for rapidly changing conditions in industry. The employer becomes a co-educator and helps to develop today's students to become productive members of society.


Why choose a Workplace Education (Co-op) program?

As a Workplace Education (Co-op) student you will gain 4 to 12 months of paid work experience directly related to their field of study. Workplace Education (Co-op) students earn competitive wages, which help them meet the costs of their education. Employer contacts gained through the workplace education (co-op) experience may increase a student's employment opportunities after graduation.


What are the benefits of Workplace Education (Co-op)?

The most immediate benefit of workplace education (co-op) is work experience. With four full months, or more, of industry-related employment on your resume, a student will have a foot firmly planted on the first rung of their career ladder.

While performing in a workplace education (co-op) job, the student will be applying the knowledge gained in the classroom to the real working world. The experience will be part of an invaluable exchange of information between the student and their classmates, instructors, and employers.

During the work experience the student will be paid an average monthly salary, which means they will earn a considerable amount of money over the work term period. This can defray a large portion of the costs of education.

The Centre for Workplace Education (Co-op) solicits a high percentage of the work experience placements. Students have access to personal assistance in their own job search.

Many Workplace Education (Co-op) employers will choose to hire students for full-time employment after they finish the program. Additionally, most students develop a strong network of industry contacts while working.


What are the challenges of Workplace Education (Co-op)?

Workplace Education (Co-op) programs demand more from their students. BCIT has made a commitment to provide employers with knowledgeable, conscientious workers. In turn this means that classroom time is intensive and challenging.

Employers make a commitment to BCIT to provide students with a relevant and valuable work experience. This can mean an exciting and demanding work environment. The end result is a fully rounded graduate: a person with a strong theoretical grasp of the discipline, backed up with a solid, experience - a highly marketable combination.


What is expected of the student?

It is important for students to know that the program requires additional time, effort and financial obligation.

Students are required to participate in the job search process by providing leads, making direct contacts and conducting information interviews with potential employers. If a position develops primarily as a result of a particular student's efforts, this obviously becomes their job on approval.

Students who take responsibility in the job development process gain valuable life skills while in this supportive environment. This certainly helps now and in the future, for the post-graduate job search. Students accepted into workplace education (co-op) are required to actively participate in the job search process, check the job postings on a regular basis, provide the coordinator with a current, employer-ready copy of their resume, conduct themselves appropriately on the job and complete a work term report at the end of each work term.


Are there enough jobs?

Workplace Education (Co-op) is an educational program, not a job placement service. While no guarantees are possible, the coordinator will assist the students in securing suitable work placements. Ultimately, it is the responsibility of the student to find and secure a meaningful work experience. A great deal will depend on current employment demands, the student’s particular skills and experience and their ability to ‘sell’ themselves in a job interview. While it is unusual for students to be unsuccessful in securing a position, following are some of the reasons why this may occur....


What is the employer's commitment to hire a Workplace Education (Co-op) student?

The employer will interview and make the final decision on which student(s) they choose to hire, but are not obligated if they feel no candidate is suitable for their needs. It should be noted that BCIT Workplace Education (Co-op) students might be in competition with students from other post-secondary institutes for a limited number of placements.


What will employers do?

Employers will provide students with quality work placements so that they benefit from their work experience. The characteristics of a quality work placement include:


How will the student be evaluated?

On-the-job performance is monitored and evaluated by the employer in consultation with the coordinator. Additionally, there is a requirement of a reflective work-term assignment to help solidify the learning outcomes. A faculty member grades the work term report and the mark is recorded and submitted to BCIT Student Records for processing on the student's official BCIT transcript.


How much can a student expect to get paid?

The employer establishes the rate of pay, in consultation with the Centre for Workplace Education (Co-op). It is expected that employers will pay an equitable wage for the work performed. Wages, benefits, and working conditions will vary among employers. Students are encouraged to review the details of the position and skills to be gained as opposed to looking at the short-term financial gain.


How is the Workplace Education (co-op) work term tuition fee assessed?

All BCIT tuition fees (academic and workplace education (co-op) course fees) are set and approved by the BCIT Board of Governors. Work term course tuition fees are not related to the services received in any one term but are amortized over the entire program. The tuition fee is not a placement fee.


What does the Workplace Education (Co-op) course tuition fee cover?

The Centre for Workplace Education (Co-op) is responsible for the management and evaluation of the workplace education (co-op) experience, which may include:


Is a student guaranteed a job?

No. Whether a student secures a position is determined by their qualifications, the impression they make in their interviews and their ability to compete with other students. Employers are not receptive to employing Workplace Education (Co-op) students with either poor academic records or unsatisfactory evaluations on previous work assignments. It must also be recognized that during certain periods of the business cycle, job placements may be difficult to obtain.


Do students have to accept the position?

No. However when students continually reject viable workplace education (co-op) job opportunities that are related to their field, they take the risk of not being placed for a scheduled work term. Students are encouraged to be flexible in considering job options and to recognize that many potential learning opportunities cannot be fully assessed from a written job description and/or employment interview.


Will all Workplace Education (Co-op) jobs be in the local area?

No. The Centre for Workplace Education (Co-op) identifies work placement opportunities throughout the Lower Mainland as well as in other BC communities and out of province.


Can students afford to relocate?

That depends on the individual's financial situation. Some remotely located workplace education (co-op) jobs provide living accommodations and some require students to live in employer-provided housing during a work term. The student should determine the total cost of relocating versus staying in your present residence and evaluate the learning potential of the job itself and its relation to their career goals.


Can students find their own employment?

Students are expected to find their own employment with the assistance of their Co-op Coordinator, as this experience will prepare them for future job searches. Students receive instruction on such topics as job search techniques, preparing effective resumes, how to conduct themselves during interviews, and on-the-job success.


Once on a work term is the student on their own?

No. The Centre for Workplace Education (Co-op) will maintain contact with the employer and student periodically throughout the work term. Students are encouraged to stay in contact with the Centre for Workplace Education (Co-op) and can contact the office at any time throughout their work term.


Does the student have to return to the same employer for their second work term?

No. The choice is up to the student. However, there are several reasons why students may wish to consider returning:

Whatever the decision, it is essential that the student leaves their position on a positive note. Students will want a favorable reference from their employer.


How much money will be earned while on the work term?

That depends on the job and the student's previous experience. The actual wage rate is decided between the student and the employer. When negotiating wage rates, students should consider the value of the work experience to their future career goals.


Will the Workplace Education (Co-op) salary pay for all of the educational expenses?

Students should know that the primary aim of the Workplace Education (Co-op) program is educational - to gain practical, discipline related experience that will compliment classroom instruction. The program is not intended to provide financial aid, although many students are able to help pay for part of their education from their work placement earnings.


What forms of financial assistance are available to the student?

For more information on financial assistance, contact BCIT Financial Aid & Awards at 604-432-8555.


What should students do about health coverage while on a work term?

Every resident is eligible for British Columbia health coverage. For information on any matter concerning health coverage, telephone, write or visit the nearest Ministry of Health office. Refer to the blue pages of your telephone book for contact information.

BCIT's Student Association also has an extended health and dental plan available for BCIT students. Students are encouraged to visit the Student Association website ( for further up-to-date information on this plan.


What is Worker's Compensation?

The Worker's Compensation Act of BC provides benefits to employees who are disabled (temporarily or permanently) by work-related accidents or diseases. The Work Safe BC website, which provides further information on worker's compensation and is located at


What do students gain from taking a Workplace Education (Co-op) program?

Besides being in a program that provides excellent opportunities for obtaining a career related position after graduation, students also gain on-the-job training, develop working skills, earn while they learn, make valuable contacts in the field and develop a better knowledge of the types of jobs that interest them.


Who should I talk to if I have questions?

Inquiries should be directed to the specific program workplace education (co-op) coordinator. Visit the Contact section of the website for further information.