At career and liaison events we get a lot of inquiries about co-op education. Students, teachers and parents are becoming increasingly aware of it as an effective means to building a career plan before graduating, through getting practical job experience and connecting with employers. The Food and Agricultural Business (FAB:C) major and the Environmental Economics and Policy (EEP:C) major have a co-op option. So here are key facts about co-op:
- Minimum grade average to be admitted is 80
- Required courses are the same as in the regular program
- It is possible to apply for co-op after having enrolled at Guelph
After having been admitted:
- Not-for-credit ‘Introduction to Co-op’ course required in first year
- Required grade average after first year to continue in co-op is 70
- Work terms are four months, as regular terms, i.e. Fall, Winter, Summer
- Work term reports are part of the training and learning experience
- FAB:C has five work terms, starting after the fourth study term; the first and second, and fourth and fifth are back-to-back, spanning eight months
- EEP:C has four work terms, starting after the third study term
Cost and duration:
- Co-op work is paid work, on average well above a summer job
- Tuition fees are slightly higher than for regular programs
- FAB:C duration four years and eight months
- EEP:C duration four years and four months
This is what our co-op students say:
BCOMM: FAB Co-op Student
OAC graduating class of 2015
Co-op placements with:
-Grain Farmers of Ontario – April 2012 to December 2012
-Glacier Farm Media – January 2014 to August 2014
I have been incredibly happy with my experience in the Food and Agricultural Business co-op program, and in my opinion, enrolling in co-op is the best way to enhance the value of your education. My first co-op placement was for eight months with the Grain Farmers of Ontario, primarily working as the communications assistant on the Farmers Feed Cities campaign. I’m currently on my second work term, as the Marketing Specialist for Farm Boy Productions, a division of Glacier Farm Media. I've thoroughly enjoyed my time in both of these positions – due to the nature of the work and the people I've gotten to work with. These I would consider to be the biggest benefits of the co-op program.
First, work terms are real jobs with real companies and for real pay. You'll be tasked with real responsibilities – which can at times be challenging, but in this real-world setting you’ll certainly learn a lot of things that you wouldn't necessarily learn in the classroom.
Second, the co-op program allows you to explore several different career options. If you find yourself in a position that you really enjoy, great! If you find yourself in a position that you don’t think you’d eventually like to make a career out of, you can explore a different career field in your next term! This allows you to “get your foot in the door” within the industry and still be able to build your resume and gain industry contacts in various areas which can come in handy in later job searches.
Finally, the staff at co-op and career services are extremely helpful, and they try their very best to find co-op jobs that suit your interests, and continuously strive to ensure that you are content with your co-op positions. I would definitely recommend taking advantage of the aid that the staff at Co-op and Career Services provide.
BCOMM: FAB Co-op Student
OAC graduating class of 2016
Co-op placements with:
-Grain Farmers of Ontario (Summer 2013)
-North Waterloo Farmers Mutual Insurance Company (Fall 2013)
-Ontario Livestock Alliance (Summer 2014)
One question that I have been asked countless times is, “Where do you see yourself in five years?” For me, this has been a difficult question to answer, but the co-op program has provided me with guidance necessary to help develop my career path. The Co-op program has offered unique experiences with practical work in areas that are of interest to me. Both the business and agriculture fields are very broad categories, which makes it difficult to find my exact fit. My work terms however, have been very different opportunities, opening my eyes to the diverse lines of work. Though they varied in experience, they both gave me the opportunity to focus on combining my interest of business and passion for agriculture. This is why the Co-op program has been so beneficial to me. The Co-op advisors and services staff have made this a very personalized experience in developing a career path for where my interests lie. The program has allowed me to develop valuable skills, build strong networks and gain experience in the areas that I am interested in and passionate about.
So, where do I see myself in five years? Well, that is still a difficult question to answer, but the Co-op program has certainly helped direct me into finding my niche. My experiences in the Co-op program have allowed me to grow as a person and help prepare me to take on the real world and develop a career upon graduating from the Ontario Agricultural College and the University of Guelph.