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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

The host organization must appoint a qualified co-op work term supervisor, a full-time employee of the company, who has the technical knowledge and willingness to accompany the co-op student in his or her learning. This person will act as a resource person for the student within the organization and will be responsible for his or her assessments. This person's main role is to accompany the co-op student in the progress of his or her learning and towards the achievement of the objectives of the work term. The supervisor mus ensure regular follow-up with the student, in the form of coaching and continuous evaluation.

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].