BY DYLAN DACOSTA
Co-op students across the country were acknowledged and celebrated for their achievements during National Co-op Week which swept across the nation.
The week, which was held March 18-22, was a way for the Canadian Association For Co-operative Education (CAFCE) to increase the awareness of the benefits of co-op programs by honouring over 80,000 current co-op students across the country. The week featured prize giveaways and information booths where students could learn what co-op is all about.
“Students get to address the conundrum of getting the experience as well as the education that will give them more options to pursue their specific careers,” said Christine Arsenault, CAFCE president. “As well, students with this type of experience can receive higher pay upon graduation, and the co-op itself can help the student fund their education.”
Students aren’t the only beneficiaries of co-op though, and employers should be just as aware of the good that co-op can do for them; using co-op students gives employers a chance to fill temporary spots in their company while reducing recruitment costs as well as giving them the chance to train enthusiastic future workers.
“For employers it’s also a really awesome way to assess the talent pool for new hires,” Arsenault said. “It’s really a win-win situation for both parties.”
CAFCE, which is celebrating its 40th anniversary, encouraged students to participate in spreading awareness with a series of social media contests and challenges that students could access through
Each day, students could enter new contests by completing tasks on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram. The challenges ranged from simply retweeting something, to answering a trivia question or to even taking a photo of themselves holding an “I LOVE CO-OP” sign and posting it to their Instagram account.
Each challenge completion gave students another entry into the draw and a further chance to win prizes such as $100 Future Shop gift cards.
As well as the contests and prizes set up by CAFCE, many schools took it upon themselves to add their own prizes and incentives to celebrate National Co-op Week – Conestoga College being one of those.
Conestoga hosted a contest through the Co-op and Career Services’ Facebook page that encouraged students to share their co-op stories and aspirations for a chance to win daily prizes. As well, a popcorn stand and information booth were set up in the upper atrium of the Doon campus on March 18 and 20.
“It’s nice to stop and celebrate what co-op is all about,” Arsenault said. “So we use National Co-op Week and our social media network to help students feel proud of their program and for employers to feel proud of their co-op students.”