Overview of Co-operative Education

Co-operative Education is a learning partnership program involving the participation of students and teachers in schools and placement supervisors in community businesses and organizations.


  • experience the practical aspects of the job, the demands of employment, and the expectations of employers in a changing work world
  • gain valuable workplace experience in a field to which they may not otherwise have had access
  • work in placements which best match their educational needs and interests
  • integrate classroom theory and earn credits towards their graduation diploma
  • are generally 16 years of age or older (Ministry of Labour requires students to be a minimum of 14 years)

Placement Supervisors/Employers help to:

  • provide the opportunity for students to learn from experts in the field
  • develop the employability skills and work ethic valued by the labour force
  • enrich classroom learning with practical application
  • provide students with the opportunity to access emerging technologies
  • contribute to a skilled and responsive workforce

Before the Student Begins at the Work Placement

The student must:

  • apply for Co-operative Education and successfully complete the interview process at the school
  • receive pre-placement training in the classroom
  • be interviewed by the placement supervisor to determine his/her suitability to the position offered by the employer
  • sign the Work Education Agreement form with the other parties
  • sign the Confidentiality form

Placement Supervisors/Employers meet with the Co-operative Education teacher to discuss:

  • possible opportunities that the placement might offer the student
  • placement assessment
  • job tasks for the student
  • student needs and expectations
  • how the placement experience relates to the course curriculum expectations
  • procedures involved with monitoring, communication and evaluation
  • student time sheets/ logs
  • confidentiality policies
  • health and safety practices and procedures including personal protective equipment
  • accident reporting
  • schedule of Co-operative Education workplace hours for the student

Placement Supervisor Responsibilities

  • Provide a safe working and learning environment
  • Provide orientation and workplace site specific health and safety training
  • Provide the student with written or oral feedback after the initial interview as part of the learning experience
  • Designate one employee, if necessary, to be responsible for direct daily supervision of the student
  • Assist the teacher in developing the Student Co-operative Education Learning Plan (SCELP) for the student by reviewing and refining student job tasks
  • Provide challenging learning experiences that will encourage personal growth and develop career goals
  • Help the student function as an integral part of a team
  • Sign the student’s time sheets/logs in order to verify placement hours
  • Meet with the teacher several times over the course of the placement to discuss the student progress
  • Complete the performance appraisals for the student (the teacher is ultimately responsible for the overall evaluation and the assignment of grades)

Teacher Monitoring of Student
The Co-op teacher will monitor the student, either in-person or virtually, on a regular basis and consult with the placement supervisor as well as the student. Records of each monitoring session are kept by the teacher. These appointments are an essential component of Co-operative Education as they ensure that the educational expectations and the placement supervisor and organization expectations outlined in the SCELP are being met. It is during these meetings that adjustments to the Learning Plan, hours of work etc. can be made and any concerns addressed.

The Work Education Agreement (WEA) is an agreement between the student, parent/guardian (for a student under 18), employer and the teacher which outlines the student, placement and school contact information, work schedule, and Workplace Safety Insurance Board (WSIB) coverage. Since each student must be covered by the WSIB, the Ministry of Education provides WSIB coverage for every unpaid Co-operative Education student. A completed and signed WEA form prior to the start of the placement ensures that the student has WSIB coverage.

The Waterloo Region District School Board carries general liability insurance for property damage accidentally caused by the student while performing activities outlined in the SCELP.

The Waterloo Region District School Board does not provide liability insurance to protect the organization or the student for damages arising out of the operation of a motorized vehicle. The risk of having a Co-op student drive a company vehicle would have to be assumed by the organization. The student is not to use a personal vehicle to conduct company business.

Student Attendance
The student is expected to attend his/her placement as outlined on the Work Education Agreement. If the student is absent, he/she must notify the placement supervisor and the Co-op teacher prior to the start of the workday. Any questionable student absences or lateness must be reported to the teacher as soon as possible. Habitual lateness and unexcused absences are not acceptable.

Student Injuries on the Job
The student or supervisor must report injuries immediately to the Co-op teacher, no matter how minor they may seem. Details including when, where, and how the injury occurred are required. If the Co-op teacher is unavailable, a message must be left with the school staff or a call made to the WRDSB Experiential Learning Department  519570 0003 x4142.

For More Information
If you have questions or require more information contact the Co-operative Education teacher or call the Waterloo Region District School Board Experiential Learning Department 519 570 0003 x4142.