Co-op Education enhances learning experience

By Contributor
June 14th, 2010

Selkirk College’s Co-operative (Co-op) Education program is continuing to provide students with opportunities to expand their learning experiences through effective work placements. 

Currently enrolled in the Bachelor of Geographic Information Systems Degree program (BGIS), Selkirk student Tammy Steen has had one previous work term with BC Timber Sales in Campbell River and is currently fulfilling another work term with the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary (RDKB). 

She says her work terms have been excellent in terms of gaining relative work experience; networking and becoming a “known entity” to the employers; and expanding her confidence and skill set. 

“I’m so glad I have had the opportunity to participate in the Co-op Education program!” says Tammy. “With work experience under my belt, future potential employers will be more willing to hire me. The learning environment at both my Co-op placements has been excellent. The on-the-job training gives me the opportunity to learn while earning a reasonable wage.” 

Tammy’s position at BC Timber Sales involved working with the GIS staff on forestry related tasks using ArcMap, Oracle, GENUS and RESULTS. Initially the work involved a lot of database cleanup and error correction in the opening files. As the term progressed, she was able to work on more complex projects with a larger team of co-workers and clients. 

The RDKB has hired Tammy as an Agricultural Land Use Inventory Survey Technician. She is spending her first month of field training in Abbotsford at the Agricultural Centre to prepare/produce the survey maps. The actual survey starts with six weeks of field surveying in the Kettle Valley, followed by six weeks of office compilation in Grand Forks.

Not only are the Co-op placements of benefit to students like Tammy, but they are also of great value to employers. “Highly motivated and with a desirable skill set, Co-op students can be amazingly productive at a relatively low cost to the employer,” says Tammy. “Also, hiring a Co-op student gives the employer a chance to screen future employees, offering permanent jobs or extensions to the best Co-op students with no long term commitment to the others.” 

Co-operative Education is available to students in the Business Administration (Accounting/Finance & Professional Management); University Transfer for Engineering; Forest Technology; Integrated Environmental Planning Technology; Renewable Energy; Recreation, Fish and Wildlife Technology; and Geographic Information Systems programs at Selkirk College. 

Students and organizations interested in becoming involved with the Co-op program can call the Manager of Co-op Education and Employment Services, Brenda Smith, at 250.365.1280 or email her at coopeducation@selkirk.ca. Individuals can also visit www.selkirk.ca/programs/coop for more information.

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