Roles of the Coordinator and the Supervisor

The (ÉTS) Co-op Coordinator

To coordinate more than 3,000 co-op work terms annually, ÉTS has a team of professionals who liaise with the School while also supporting and mentoring the co-op student. They ensure that the experience is beneficial to both the student and the employer and that all needs are met.

Each coordinator is responsible for a territory and knows the dynamics and the needs of the companies he or she works with. The coordinator’s role is to:

  • Meet with you to identify your needs in terms of training, succession planning and technology transfer;
  • Take charge of the placement process, electronic job postings, forwarding ePortfolios and interview coordination;
  • Prepare the student for his or her internship roles of co-op student and future engineer;
  • Make sure the co-op student integrates into the team and see to it that your expectations are met.

The (Company) Co-op Supervisor

Within the host organization, the co-op supervisor plays the roles of mentor and evaluator for the co-op student. The supervisor welcomes the student and assigns work to, guides, supervises and assesses him or her. It is essential that the supervisor remain available, not continuously present, but making frequent enough contact to allow the co-op student to carry out his or her mandate, in accordance with the deadlines.

The masculine form is used to simplify reading of the text and includes all genders.

Before the co-op work term: Plan for the arrival of your co-op student

  • Specify to your co-op student:
    • The start and end dates of the co-op work term;
    • The time at which he should arrive at his work station;
    • The person to ask for when he arrives the first day;
    • The dates on which the organization is closed, if any.
  • Prepare related reference documents.
  • Prepare a warm welcome:
    • Inform team members of the expected arrival of the student and his mandate;
    • Prepare a workstation and the necessary equipment (having to borrow a computer or other hardware from a colleague can eventually cause problems for both).
  • Identify a team member responsible for supervising the wook term.
  • Plan his tasks:
    • Define a clear, varied and stimulating mandate;
    • Make sure you have enough work for the duration and the skill level of the co-op student.
  • Plan for the fitting of working clothes (if required).

When the co-op work term begins

  • The welcome and integration:
    • Introduce the co-op student to the entire team upon his arrival and give him a tour of the site;
    • Meet with the co-op student to review the tasks he is expected to accomplish;
    • Inform the co-op student of your expectations, the work schedule and the dress code;
    • Plan an information session on the current regulations on health and safety at work and have the co-op student follow the required training;
    • Check weekly to ensure that he is on the right track.

Your co-op student will be more motivated if his mandate is clear and diverse and the work term allows him to put new concepts into practice.

During the co-op work term

Co-op coordinator visit

  • Plan a meeting with the coordinator and the co-op student.
  • Fill in the online assessment form. It should be submitted at the end of the work term.

Relationship between the co-op supervisor and the student

  • Be more present and available in the first weeks. The supervision can become more discreet as the co-op student gains in autonomy.
  • Keep the student informed of his performance:
    • If it is satisfactory, share your satisfaction with him. Give him encouragement and motivation;
    • If it needs to improve: evaluate and adjust as required the supervision, objectives and tasks to be performed and, if applicable, notify the coordinator of any deviation in behaviour or gap in terms of skills.
  • Answer the student's questions to maximize his learning and the quantity of work performed;
  • Clearly inform the student what is expected of him; increase his responsibilities gradually and in an appropriate manner;

A supervisor who is attentive to the needs of his co-op student and provides the required explanations will obtain good performance. The supervisor must want to convey his knowledge and guide the student.

A qualified co-op supervisor

Although there are many styles of supervision, some basic qualifications and skills are necessary to guide and evaluate an co-op student. These include the ability to listen and the will to engage with the student by questioning him and promoting discussion.

The co-op supervisor must be able to assess the student in a constructive manner by taking care to value his achievements and progress, while highlighting aspects needing improvement.

Conflict management: Don’t hesitate!

It is your responsibility to promptly notify the coordinator as soon as a problematic situation occurs.

The majority of co-op work terms go smoothly. Both co-op supervisors and students are generally very satisfied. Nevertheless, difficulties such as personality conflicts, disagreement on the tasks, a mandate that doesn’t start, unavailability of the co-op supervisor, inadequate attitude of the student and learning difficulties do sometimes arise.

There are many possible causes for these situations: a gap between the student's profile and the requirements of the position, unforeseen changes in the mandate, the departure of a colleague that results in an overload for the co-op supervisor, unrealistic expectations of his experience by the student, unrealistic expectations of the student by the supervisor.

It is very important to discuss this with the co-op coordinator as soon as the first signs appear, regardless of their nature. The coordinator will make an appointment with you in order to help reach a solution that satisfies both parties. He can play a supporting role or one of mediator.

End of the work term

  • Discuss the evaluation of the co-op work term that you will send to the coordinator with the student.
  • Read the Departure Interview [in French, PDF].

Don’t hesitate to contact us, we’re happy to answer your questions!

The Code of Ethics for participants in the ÉTS co-operative education regime defines for students and employers the rules regarding placement of interns under this regime.

It is inspired by the Code of Ethics of Co-operative Education and Work-Integrated Learning Canada (CEWIL Canada, formerly the Canadian Association of Co-operative Education or CAFCE) and the Canadian Association of Career Educators and Employers (CACEE).

View the Code of Ethics [in French, PDF].