April, May, and June are the busiest months for hiring and now that many students are finishing their school semesters, businesses of all industries across Canada are aggressively looking to hire students and post-secondary undergraduates for co-ops. A benefit for both students and businesses, hiring co-op students is a cost-effective strategy for companies seeking motivated, qualified staff. Co-op programs offer students the chance to apply their classroom knowledge to a work setting and gain hands-on experience.
In Canada alone, there were over 73,000 co-op placements in 2017, with 78% of those coming from universities.
Not to be confused with other short-term placement opportunities such as internships, field placements, or apprenticeships, a Co-operative Education Program (Co-op) merges classroom-based education with real-world work experience. Students who participate in a co-op program receive academic credit for structured job experience. This article explores some of the ways businesses can benefit from hiring a co-op student.
Benefits to Businesses Hiring Co-op Students
Businesses who hire co-op students can benefit in a variety of ways including gaining fresh ideas from the students, filling workforce needs for temporary or short-term projects, developing and training students who turn into future employees, and even being able to obtain tax credits and wage subsidies to support the costs of co-op students.
Fill a Temporary Void
A co-op student is a great resource for an organization to manage short-term projects and take on work that full-time staff is unable to manage. Companies have access to the latest talent pool of potential employees before they enter the post-graduate job market. Co-op placements are temporary positions, meaning there are no long-term commitments needed from the employer. As well, since co-op programs target students for positions related to their field of study, there is no need to advertise over a series of job boards that may bring in unqualified applicants.
Students are Eager to Learn and Make an Impact
This extensive pool of talented and educated individuals are eager to prove their knowledge in a real-world setting. Students can bring high energy to a team, regardless of the position and industry. Co-op students may have a goal of being hired on as full-time staff post-graduation, so they are eager to make a positive impact and support the growth of the business. As they are coming straight from modern teaching in the classroom, they are up to date on the latest technologies in their respective fields and can offer fresh insight to organizations.
Co-op students are sponges who want to soak up any knowledge they can during their placements, so it’s also a great opportunity for employers to offer mentorship and guidance to students at the beginning of their careers.
Find Your Future Employees
A co-op position is often called a “long interview.” A big attraction of co-op and additional work-integrated learning options is the low-risk opportunity for students and employers to evaluate one another. During the placement, employers can assess their students’ skills and see how they integrate in the company atmosphere. Once a student graduates, if both the student and employer see a fit to work together, it eliminates the need to start the recruitment process from scratch. In this way, participating in a co-op arrangement gives managers the chance to take part in the training of their future long-term colleagues.
Assistance of Co-op Institutions
Co-op offices support the recruitment process by organizing interview schedules, endorsing jobs, and even offering on-campus interviews. Often during the term, co-op institution staff will carry out mid-way interviews to check up on both the student and the employer; subsequently, they will provide guidance and work through any challenges if presented.
Benefits of a Co-op Education Program for Students
A co-op not only has benefits for the employers, but also the students taking part in the placement. Since a co-op combines both academia and work terms, students get the chance to test out the waters in their field of study, use first-hand their skills learned in the classroom, and expand their knowledge with real-world work experience. The experience allows the students to network with potential employers, develop skills, and explore career options.
Government Funding Support for Hiring Post-Secondary Students
Businesses often pursue government funding programs to hire students and post-secondary graduates. Among their many options, which include wage subsidies such as government grants and tax credits, businesses can strategically reduce their labour costs while also developing youth talent. Some of these resources include:
Provided as a tax credit, businesses may claim up to 25-30% of a student’s wage to a maximum $3,000 per 10-week to 4-month co-op placement. Businesses may claim this credit if they are a corporation that provided a qualifying work placement at a permanent establishment in Ontario for a student enrolled in a qualifying post-secondary co-operative education program.
Internship Hiring Grants
Subsidies from $5,000-$7,000 are available for employers filling 12-16-week co-op positions in technical sales, IT, digital marketing, or business development. Students must be in a STEM-related post-secondary program.
If your business is currently seeking new employees, it’s worth looking into whether you are eligible to receive hiring grants. Let Mentor Works help streamline the process and help you discover hiring grants and wage subsidies for your new employees by filling out the Wage Subsidy Identifier.