During my onboarding days at Tasktop, one of the first tasks I was assigned was to own (and improve) the co-op program. Having never heard the term before (apparently, it’s a Canadian thing), I did extensive research and burrowed in with seasoned Tasktopians to dig out as much information as I could to find out how co-op meets experience at Tasktop.
And here’s the squeeze of what I found …
Cooperative education is a voluntary academic program that enables students to alternate classroom studies with career-aligned industry experiences. It is a partnership ecosystem between universities, employees and students. Co-op intake typically takes place in three annual work terms: Fall (Sept – Dec), Winter (Jan – Apr) and Summer (May – Aug), and lasts for eight months. A co-op job is a real deal, where students get to work with professionals to gain experience, contribute value and earn a salary. Some even get hired for full-time positions by their co-op employers.
Co-op versus Internship … what’s the difference?
The co-op is not to be confused with an internship; because the time invested in each program differs. Internships are brief work experience programs that last for about one semester. Many college students participate in several internships throughout their time in school to gain experience in different positions. Co-op programs usually last for a longer duration with responsibilities increasing as the education progresses.
Tasktop sees the importance of building a skilled workforce and has partnered with local universities to recruit students to join our team during and after their education. We have several academic partners for our co-op program, including:
- University of British Columbia
- University of Victoria
- Simon Fraser University
- Douglas College
- British Columbia Institute of Technology
Historically, Tasktop focused on engineering co-ops, but recently we have invested in product management co-ops and we are open to other roles within our product development organization.
Co-ops develop mad skills!
Tasktop co-op students get to work on products to enable customers to practice value stream management and how it empowers large-scale organizations to compete in this digital age. And in doing so they get to hone relevant skills, such as presenting, networking and team dynamics, while also learning about how to care for their physical, emotional and social well-being through Tasktop’s Coa Program. (Coa is a gym for mental health, offering therapist-led emotional fitness classes and one-on-one therapy.) During their work term, co-ops receive regular feedback, guidance and coaching from their mentors and managers to help them identify their strengths and develop skills essential for future careers. And perhaps, become a permanent part of Tasktop.
Employers get additional benefits from a co-op
While a co-op program helps students in many ways, it also provides employers an opportunity to hire, train and assess potential employees in a flexible and cost-effective way.
Some of the employer benefits include:
- Assistance with developing products or augmenting teams during peak periods
- A year-round supply of the brightest collegiate talent, who are excited to bring new ideas and perspectives to the workplace
- Broadening the company’s visibility with students, faculty and the community at large
- Giving new mentors an opportunity to gain management experience and begin building leadership skills
- Companies having the opportunity to participate in and influence the educational process, while establishing a partnership with universities
Many employers hire co-op students in full-time positions, which translates to lower recruitment and training costs, as well as higher employee retention.
All this means … a big wow!
All this sounds so exciting and promising. If only I had an opportunity like this during my engineering days. I could’ve saved my parents from heaps of anxiety about what would happen next after my graduation! Our latest batch of co-ops started this past September and they are onboarding as we speak. So watch this space as we share our experience at Tasktop over the next eight months!
Are you interested in a career with Tasktop? We’re hiring … check out our Careers page!