Programs » Co-operative Education / Work Placement

Co-operative Education / Work Placement

Students’ education must be appropriate to their strengths, interests, and needs, and must prepare them for the future. To ensure that it does so, school boards must provide cooperative education programs and work experience to help students to acquire knowledge and skills and to apply this learning in practical situations. Such opportunities will help students see the relationship between the curriculum and the world beyond the school. This practical experience will help them decide what they would like to do and will assist them in making successful transitions to post secondary education, apprenticeship programs, or directly to the workplace. In some situations, students in Grades 9 and 10 may benefit from cooperative education and work experience.


Courses of all types and in all disciplines may be offered through the cooperative education mode. Work experience, when offered, is part of a credit course and provides students with a learning opportunity in the workplace for a limited period of time that is, from one to four weeks. Cooperative education programs and work experience will be developed and implemented in accordance with ministry policy.


Planned learning experiences in the community can enhance the school program, familiarize students and teachers with current workplace practices, increase students awareness of career opportunities, provide concrete applications of curriculum, and give students and teachers a better understanding of employers expectations. Such programs complement students academic programs and are valuable for all students, whatever their post secondary destination.

For students who intend to enter the work force directly from school, such programs provide personal contacts with potential employers. For students who intend to enter college or university, the programs provide information that they will find helpful in making educational and career choices. For exceptional students fourteen years of age and older, planned learning experiences in the community need to be considered in the development of the transition plan in the students IEP.


Cooperative education and work experience are available to students in the following forms:

  • school-arranged experiences that are tied to the curriculum, including work experience placements in the community and in-school work simulations
  • cooperative education programs and work experience

Schools may expand these programs in the following ways to provide opportunities for all students:

  • Programs may be developed for students who have previously not been involved in cooperative education.
  • A one- to two-week work experience component may be added in all types of courses.
  • Placements for students may be found in new employment sectors.
  • Schools may develop ways of making use of the resources in the community for educational purposes (e.g., use the Internet to seek information from employers in the community to help them complete their assignments).

All forms of cooperative education and work experience will include the following:

  • pre-placement instruction (e.g., instruction on topics such as interviews, resumes, health and safety in the workplace, and legal and harassment issues)
  • provision of Workplace Safety and Insurance Board coverage a learning plan (including assessment criteria) based on the curriculum expectations of courses in the provincial curriculum policy documents and on the expectations of participating employers
  • assessment of students progress through regular monitoring of their learning in the workplace setting
  • opportunities for students to analyze their out-of-school experiences and to integrate them with their in-school learning evaluation of students learning to determine whether course expectations have been met