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Raina2Grade 11 Co-op student Raina Watson during her placement with Saugeen Shores Hub. The Hub helped judge the Christmas storefront decorating contest hosted by the Saugeen Shores Chamber of Commerce. Watson (right) is seen here with the Chamber’s Jenny Posthumus.

Raina Watson
Co-op Student

"Everything I’ve learned this semester I will use for the rest of my life and it is truly something I will always appreciate and value." - Jack Kozlenko, Co-op Student with MRl Electric and Controls Inc.

The Co-operative Education program has been available to students at Saugeen District Secondary School (SDSS) for many years now, providing students with an incredibly unique opportunity. Students who choose to partake have a chance to explore their interests while delving into a realistic work environment within their chosen field.

The program allows students get a hands on experience of what it might be like to work in the area they're interested in by going into the work place instead of to the usual classroom setting with lessons and often few activities. All my classmates who took part in co-op really valuing and enjoying their experience at their placement. And, any student can do this.

The program is open to students in any pathway and students in Grade 11 and 12 are encouraged to check it out, as our community offers so many opportunities there aren't even enough students for every willing employer. Students who are interested can look through the "Co-op Book of Opportunities" which documents everywhere that’s open to having students.

To get in all students have to do is select a co-op through their course selections and then work together with the co-op supervisors to prepare a resume, cover letter, and reference page - just as you would when applying for employment. All it requires is finding something you're really interested in and then doing a bit of paperwork and preparation.

Students first learn about workplace safety, legislation, The Ontario Human Rights Code, unions, and other important factors during their integration classes prior to starting their placement, ensuring that everyone knows what safety in the workplace looks like, as well as what they are entitled to. Also, before going for the interview with the potential employer, students get tips and walkthroughs on how to prepare for an interview and how to get through it without being too nervous. Through these preparations students also gain a certificate of completion in Workers Health and Safety. And, it's all worth it since students have these skills for the rest of their lives.

As well as just being an overall different and informative experience, students over the age of 16 who are planning to go into trades work can enter the Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program (OYAP). This program intertwines the government approved apprenticeship training standards with the co-operative education program to design a Personalized Placement Learning Plan (PPLP) where participating students get to work toward their journey person status while also earning credits and getting closer to their high school diploma.

Apart from entering the trade the co-op program is also amazing for anyone who already knows what they love to do. Like Mitch McCallum who did his co-op with the Owen Sound Billy Bishop Regional Airport. McCallum had already participated in cadets and received his student pilot permit which made his experience even more amazing as he got to fly a couple of planes while seeing all the many interesting military and private aircrafts landing at the field. He said that his experience was everything he thought it would be and more as he got one of the most hands on experiences you can get through the co-op program.

McCallum isn't the only one who got an amazing co-op experience. All students, myself included, had an amazing experience this semester. I can say there is nothing else out there like working with Matthew and Kiera here at Saugeen Shores Hub. I've had such a wonderful time while still learning and experiencing what it’s like to run a community based business like this that spreads such a positive and informative message to the community. It was such a spectacular experience that I'll be back this coming semester, I am so excited to learn more about The Hub while still getting the opportunity to work alongside and meet more amazing people like this.

TimmiColorworksKrownGrade 11 student Timmie Lippet-Matz did his Co-op placement at ColourWorks and Krown in Port Elgin. Timmie Lippet-Matz photo

OliviaWeberGrade 11 Co-op student Olivia Weber doing some important police training a the shooting range through her placement with the Saugeen Shores Police Service. Olivia Weber photo

 

TimmiColorWorks actionGrade 11 Co-op student Timmie Lippet-Matz got in on the action at his placement with ColourWorks and Krown in Port Elgin.

 

Raina1Raina Watson was hard at work for Saugeen Shores Hub during her Co-op.

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