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!