New co-op sessions prepare first-year students for careers

The co-op connection doesn’t end at Welcome Week for first-year students.

Those entering the co-op stream received a warm welcome at a gathering to start the term Tuesday Sept. 3, kicking off a series of events throughout the year designed to discover their talents and better prepare them for their co-op career journey.

“We’ve put together a set of diverse sessions to help our students feel involved in the co-op program from the start,” said Brock’s Co-op Transition Advisor Candice Edwards. “Each time they meet, the students will explore different aspects of their own growth to develop a well-rounded skill set that will set them apart when they compete for their work term opportunity.”

The University sees about 3,000 students participate in co-op annually.

Students will attend sessions this month designed to further prepare them for the co-op process and familiarize them with resources the co-op office provides, including helpful job-search strategies and messages from senior co-op students. They will also learn more about a new partnership between co-op and Student Wellness and Accessibility Services that ensures students requiring accommodation receive the same consideration and resources while on co-op that they would while on campus.

“Students’ need for accommodation sometimes applies differently in the co-op context,” said Associate Director of Co-op Education Julia Zhu. “We want to make sure those accommodations are translated into the workplace to ensure our students experience success.”

When the September sessions finish, Zhu says the focus will shift to skill development.

“We want to scaffold their knowledge by highlighting experiential learning opportunities both in and out of the classroom,” said Zhu. “We will continue to follow our career development model, which encourages students to be flexible, stay organized, ask for help and take manageable risks.”

Students will take on a Lego Serious Play workshop in October, where they will zero in on their talents and strengths by building a literal and figurative career path from building blocks.

After exploring additional skill-building techniques to prepare for the workplace in a November session, students will practise their networking skills at a mixer event in January.

Students will wrap up the academic year’s activities in March when they engage in conversations with employers, upper-year students and alumni during National Co-op and Work-Integrated Learning Week.

Cara Krezek, Brock’s Director of Co-op, Career and Experiential Education, said the expanded first-year programming will help students maintain focus on their long-term co-op goals throughout a busy year of transitions and new experiences.

“We wanted to find additional ways to enhance our students’ co-op experience and provide them with resources that would drive them to evaluate and grow their personal and professional skills,” she said. “The lessons they learn this year will shape the rest of their time at the University and lay the foundation for long and successful careers when they graduate.”

To learn more about Brock’s co-op programming for first-year students, contact Edwards at or x6756.

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