U of R’s Co-op Program: get experience, get paid, and get hired

By University Advancement and Communications Posted: April 20, 2022 2:10 p.m.

Co-op students gain hands-on career experience while making connections with employers and earning money to support their education.
Co-op students gain hands-on career experience while making connections with employers and earning money to support their education. Photo: UAC

For more than 50 years, the University’s Co-operative Education and Internships Program, or Co-op Program, has provided valuable work placement experiences for thousands of U of R students. Students who participate in the Co-op program gain career related experiential learning, build relationships with employers, and earn money to support their education.

Graduate student Bahiyyih Mehregani

Bahiyyih Mehregani is graduating from the U of R with a wealth of valuable work experience and industry connections thanks to the Co-op program. Photo: Bahiyyih Mehregani

Bahiyyih Mehregani, a fifth-year accounting student in the Paul J. Hill School of Business, is one of the many success stories from the Co-op Program. She has been recognized as one of the school’s top performers through the Accounting Fellowship Program, the Dean’s List, several scholarships, and believes the Co-op Program has greatly enhanced her U of R student experience.

Bahiyyih spent her third-and-final Co-op placement working as an Accounting Intern with Dudley & Company Chartered Accountants LLP. Bahiyyih shared how the program has set herself up for career success.

Explore career options while you are a student.

“The Co-op Program gives you a chance to try out different positions within your field without a sense of obligation to stay if it’s not a great fit,” said Bahiyyih. “With three work terms, you have the opportunity to get a sense of what you really want to do for work.”

  • Co-op students alternate work and study terms for the last three years of their program or complete an internship between their third and fourth year of study.
  • Students have obtained more than 27,000 work placements and earned $330 million (in 2021 dollars) in salaries since the founding of the U of R’s Co-op Program.
  • Despite the challenges caused by COVID-19, 759 students obtained work placements through the Co-op Program in 2020. This represents 87% of pre-pandemic placements.

Co-op students can find their passion.

“Based on my experiences, and realizing what I want to focus on career wise, I have found the Co-op Program helpful in choosing which university courses I want to take to help further develop my skills,” said Bahiyyih.

Gain valuable experience in the field.

“By participating in the Co-op Program, I have been able to apply my classroom knowledge in a real-world setting,” Bahiyyih stated. “I knew that participating would be a chance to jump start my career and help give me an edge against other applicants when I graduate.”

Image of book with text that says: 50+; U of R programs that have co-op placements available

Co-op students get a leg-up in the job market.

“The work I am doing is relevant to my future career and I am learning a lot through this hands-on experience,” stated Bahiyyih. “Once I graduate and start my career, this will be a tremendous advantage.”

Develop a network of contacts.

You have a chance to practice what you have learned in class, gain new skills, and get a chance to work closely with professionals in your field,” said Bahiyyih. “Work experience is a great way to get your foot in the door at many different companies.”

Build career confidence.

“My confidence in my abilities to perform in this field have blossomed and I don’t feel nearly as intimidated when I think about launching my career,” Bahiyyih stated.

Participating in the Co-op Program helps students to get hired.

“I already have a couple of job offers for when I graduate, which is something that would not be possible without participating in the Co-op Program,” said Bahiyyih.

Graphic with dollar sign and text that says: $12,400; Average salary earned by a co-op student during a four-month work term.

Taking advantage of the Co-op Program will help you make the most of the university experience.

“To anyone who is thinking about applying to the Co-op Program, do it,” exclaimed Bahiyyih. “I have had nothing but positive experiences and truly think that it is something all U of R students should get involved with.”

Learn more about Co-operative Education at the U of R.



7 ways the Co-op Program helps students to get jobs, get experience, and get paid!

First in the West; still the best - 50 years of co-operative education at U of R

FLASHBACK: When the U of R launched co-op education in Western Canada