VICTORIA, B.C. – Post-secondary students will have more opportunities to gain hands-on work experience to better prepare them for the workplace thanks to new government investment.
The province announced it will spend $9 million on co-op and work-integrated learning.
“Work-integrated learning programs like co-ops open the door for students to gain invaluable hands-on experience,” said Melanie Mark, Minister of Advanced Education, in a press release. “Graduates enter the job market industry-ready with real world connections in their chosen field of work. Last year’s investment of $75,000 to all 25 public-post secondary institutions went a long way. This $9-million investment will substantially increase the number of opportunities for students to get the experience they need for in-demand careers close to home.”
The money will target students who are currently under-represented in co-op and work-integrated learning, including Indigenous students and students with disabilities.
“Co-op education gives students the opportunity to develop new skills and helps them excel in their career,” said Laura Grondahl, software developer and co-op student supervisor at LlamaZOO Interactive Inc., in a press release. “Employers benefit from students’ energy, fresh ideas, knowledge and skills, and get the chance to assess new talent for recruitment after graduation.”
Government officials highlighted the need for training as 77 per cent of new job openings in the coming years will require some level of post-secondary education or training. Officials noted that co-op and work integrated learning are opening doors and creating pathways for students to fill those openings.
The funding will be allocated in partnership with the Accountability Council for Co-op Education and Work-Integrated Learning. The proposal-based application process for the funding will start in summer 2019.