The site supervisor plays an important role in the success of the co-op experience. Below are best practices to ensure a positive work experience. It is also helpful to read through the "working students" section of this website and the course syllabus to get a sense of what is expected of students participating in the Co-op Program.
- Provide a variety of engineering experiences to the student. Demonstrate a genuine interest in integrating the Co-op student as a team member in your organization.
- Provide adequate supervision for the Co-op student (recommended one meeting per week or every other week).
- Provide the Co-op student with a variety of tasks of increasing difficulty and responsibility as the work terms and Co-op student's ability progress.
- Provide a professional work environment and experience by encouraging the Co-op student to participate in training, workshops, and other growth opportunities.
- Maintain open lines of communication. Provide feedback to the Co-op student throughout the work term.
- As part of the accompanying online course, students need to conduct short interviews on non-technical issues such as professional conduct, examples of conflict resolution at the company, and so on. The supervisor is expected to either participate in these short interviews, or direct the student to the right colleagues who could share their experience.
- Complete all necessary forms as outlined below.
Work Semester Reporting
Work Assignment Plan - 1st Semester
The Work Assignment Plan is completed and signed by both the student and the employer at the beginning of the first working semester. The Work Plan describes the work experience envisioned for each semester of the student's time with the company; thought should be given to provide a diverse Co-op experience over the entire time of employment.
The Work Plan may need to be modified as semesters progress to meet the goals of the student and the employer. If changes occur (e.g., change of work term, change of supervisor), then it is necessary to resubmit the Work Plan to the Co-op Program for approval. It is the student's responsibility to initiate and follow through with the Work Plan.
Work Verification Form - 2nd Semester
At the beginning of the student's second working semester, the student’s supervisor must fill out the Work Verification Form, which confirms that the student is working full time during the listed dates. The student will email this form to you.
Performance Review - Both Semesters
At the end of each work period, a Performance Review should be completed by the student's supervisor and returned to the Co-op office. The information is used to screen for potential problems, but its primary function is to maintain good communication between the employer, the Co-op student, and the Co-op office.
Supervisors usually go over the Performance Review in person with the student. If the supervisor doesn't initiate the review, the student should do so. If a supervisor submits the form without talking to the student, the student has the option to set up a time with the Co-op Program to look over the completed form. The Performance Review is treated confidentially and will not be released without written permission from the student.
If the supervisor has their own Performance Review form, that can be submitted instead of the Co-op's form.
Terminating a Co-op Prematurely
Unfortunately there are times when employers need to terminate a Co-op student prematurely. We realize that the way an employer proceeds is not under the control of the Co-op Program, but we ask that employers follow these guidelines.
While it happens rarely, employers have at times found it necessary to lay off a Co-op student. Employers are expected to 1) handle the process in the same manner as for a regular employee working at the company in the probationary period, and 2) notify the Co-op Program.
If a layoff occurs, employers are highly encouraged to allow the student to finish out the 15-week work semester. If that is not possible, for students in 4043W, the supervisor is asked to review and sign the student's academic assignment (that is, the technical report), so that the semester is not a complete loss for the student. This assumes the student is far enough into the semester to have started the report. If layoffs are imminent before a Co-op student begins the work semester, then the employer is expected to notify the student and the Co-op Program, and give the student the option to decline that work semester and take classes instead.
If a student is laid off, he or she will not lose the credits earned for any of the work semesters completed, even though the full number of credits have not been acquired. If a student is laid off mid-term and all the academic assignments are completed, it is still possible to complete the Co-op course for credit.
In a case of possible dismissal for cause, we would like to offer assistance and try to obtain a positive outcome for all parties. To that end, we ask that the Co-op Director be contacted as early in the process as possible. If the difficulties cannot be resolved it may be necessary for the employer to follow normal dismissal procedures. An employer is well within its rights to maintain and enforce its corporate standards.
Employer's Discontinuation of the Co-op Program
Although there is not a written contract with the employers to guarantee the continued employment of Co-op students as determined at the time of hiring, there is an ethical responsibility on both sides to continue the program as arranged. There have been a few occasions when employers have eliminated a program before completion. Such decisions are, of course, highly discouraged. However, if discontinuing the program is unavoidable, the Co-op Program personnel will do everything they can to assist the student in locating another co-op.
Scenarios When a Student is Required to Drop Out of the Co-op Program
- If a student leaves a position without the consent of the Co-op Director.
- If a student fails a Co-op academic course.
- If the student changes majors to a non-engineering major.