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Co-ops, Apprenticeships, and Internships: Offering Job Security to Students

More and more students are graduating without relevant work experience, which leads us to one question: how can we prepare them to enter the workforce? One suggestion to offer up job security to students would be to adopt a co-op, apprenticeship, or internship program at your workplace. Why should you offer this opportunity to students and young professionals? Someone has to give them a chance, so why not start the young career revolution and embrace the new workforce with open arms.  What type of opportunity will you offer?

What’s the difference?

The fact that students are the future of tomorrow isn’t new, but companies are still struggling with how to integrate these young professionals into the workforce. Let’s take a deeper look at the types of placements offered so you can decide which fits best with your organization and culture.



Taking place over the summer break or for a period of 4 months or less, internships aim to show students the ins and outs of a business to decide if they should pursue this career path.  The timelines for internships are structured so that current students can complete their placement outside of school hours without interfering with their studies.

Internships are given out as a one-time placement opportunities to interested students. These positions are available to recent graduates of university, college, or high school or for those still enrolled in a post-secondary program. Many students that enroll in internship programs go on to gain relevant experience and a network of contacts after finishing their term. Also, when students are trained by a certain institutions standards, they’re easier to hire afterwards as they’re familiar with processes and require little additional training.



Through a combination of textbook classroom learning with in the field work experience, co-op placements are a way for students to earn academic credits and a paycheque while working during their school semester. The structure is to typically integrate certain co-op terms so that students end up enrolling in school a year or so longer than most, but end up with a few rotations of work placements at either the same or different companies. Co-op programs are often mandatory for graduation, and students enrolled in co-op programs end up graduating with experience.

Companies can either publicize their own opportunities or partner with educational institutions to facilitate the process. Either way, your company ends up benefiting from the help and the students benefit from using what they’re learning in the classroom out in the working world.



For technical skilled trades, on the job training in the form of apprenticeships are necessary for young students to get accreditation to eventually work as a certified professional in their trade. Apprenticeships last between 3-6 years, ultimately working toward journeyman certification. This is an on the job training that helps the student learn the trade by following experts and gaining knowledge and skills from them. This type of placement is unique to the trades industry, but the foundation of educating students remains the same as both co-ops and internships.

What value do these placements offer employers?

Meaningful work

  • Young minds have fresh, innovative ideas and the advantage of not being stuck in old familiar ways for too long. If you’re stuck in a rut and are looking for someone to inform you of current trends and new technologies, students are the answer.

Training the future workforce

  • We can’t deny the position young professionals will play in the future of the workforce, so this is the chance for you to train the future leaders of tomorrow. Groom them, take them under your wing, and teach them the necessary skills to lead us down the path for future success.

Ease into the transition of younger workers

  • If you’re used to working with employees with a lot of experience in the industry, now is the time to get your workforce used to working with younger people and see if establishing a program is the right for your company.

Students and young professionals bring new energy and passion to a company and are eager to contribute and to learn from industry experts. Do your part in properly preparing the workforce of tomorrow.

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