Benefits and Drawbacks of...

Benefits and Drawbacks of Ontario’s Co-op Programs

by Susan Huebert
Jobs People Do | JobsPeopleDo.com

Traditional forms of education can be good, but sometimes students need a different style of learning. Ontario’s co-op programs can be a good choice for students who know the benefits and drawbacks of this option.

Co-op programs are good ways of learning important skills while preparing for paid employment. In some ways, co-op programs are like apprenticeships. Students take courses but then have the chance to gain practical experience, including learning how to apply for co-op programs or gaining interview skills that could help make the process of getting work easier.

Learning through a co-op program can be a good choice, but students should be aware of the benefits and drawbacks. Co-op programs can be very competitive, and it can be difficult to get a spot. For people who get in, the work can be quite demanding. Even students who get into the program might not be able to find extra work so that they can get the experience they need. Sometimes, the volunteer work included in the program can also cause stress.

Despite these possible disadvantages, many students find co-op programs useful. Many of these programs have a break every four months. Students get experience in the interview process and learn how to communicate with employers, other employees, and customers. Knowing how to deal with issues at work can help people find and keep good jobs after they finish the program.

The main idea behind a co-op program is to show what a career in a certain field is like. Students learn how to apply for jobs, including creating resumes geared towards the type of job the student wants. A resume for a teaching position, for example, would be different from a resume for a job as an electrician. Through a co-op program, students get practical experience in the skills that they will need for the future.

Ontario has various co-op programs in different fields. Co-op programs should be at an academic institution that the provincial government has authorized to offer diplomas and degrees. Work experience must be part of the program, and the university or college must allow students to be paid for the work. The students in these programs should also have full-time status, even if they are not taking full time courses.

Co-op programs can be very useful for students who are able to balance work and studies. Being well organized is important since instructors generally expect students to keep track of their assignments and to hand them in when they are due. Getting to class or work on time is also important.

Students who want to enroll in a co-op program should first decide if the program fits with their goals. For many people, one of the main benefits is the chance to get practical experience before they try to find a regular job. This way, they can discover the areas where they still need to learn more and then focus on improving in those areas. Connections that people make with potential employers through co-op programs can also be very helpful for the future.

Co-op programs are not for everyone, but they can be a good choice. If you consider the benefits and drawbacks of these programs, you might decide that this style of education is right for you.



Campbell, Tess. “Everything You Need to Know About Co-op Programs as an International Student.” https://www.studyincanada.com/Discover/Article/1/5577/Everything-You-Need-to-Know-About-Co-op-Programs-as-an-International-Student.

Government of Canada. “Post-Secondary/Internship Programs.” https://www.canada.ca/en/public-service-commission/jobs/services/recruitment/students/coop-internship.html.

LaValle, Javier. “What Is a Co-op Program in Canada?”  https://www.thrivve.ca/blog/what-is-a-co-op-program-in-canada.

University of Waterloo. “Advantages and Challenges of the Co-op System of Study.” https://uwaterloo.ca/psychology/current-undergraduate-students/experiential-learning/psychology-co-op/advantages-and-challenges-co-op-system-study.

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