Malaspina’s Co-op students in demand

May 2, 1999 - 5:00pm

Malaspina’s Co-operative Education students are in high demand with national and international recruiters for business, industry and the non-profit sector companies.

"This year we’ve had an incredible number of employers interview and recruit students for Co-operative Education placements, including high profile organizations like Disney, Canadian Pacific Hotels, Camp Macanack, The Banff Centre and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans," says Jim Ketelsen, co-ordinator of Co-operative Education and Student Employment at Malaspina. "It’s been phenomenal." A large company from Massachusetts flew into Nanaimo, recently, to interview students to work at outdoor recreation camps throughout the U.S. "They arrived prepared to hire every one of our Recreation students," said Ketelsen. "Companies like this have learned that our students are well prepared and are impressed by our academic programs."

Malaspina’s three co-op programs are Tourism & Recreation, Hospitality Management and Fisheries & Aquaculture. Each year, Malaspina places about 100 students in co-op work terms all over the world. Last year, students worked in Thailand, Japan, United States, England, Ecuador and the Bahamas.

Amy Smith, a second year Recreation Administration student, is on a one-year work term with Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. Mike Cleland, a second-year Recreation Student, worked at a co-op placement last summer in England, Wales and Scotland for one of Europe’s leading outdoor adventure travel companies.

A few co-op students worked for the Yukon government setting up recreation programs in remote areas. Others, like Fisheries & Aquaculture student Tim Borden, completed his work term in Brazil at the Laboratorio de Camaroes Maarinhos where he received hands-on experience raising marine shrimp.

Penny Freno, Co-operative Education Placement Officer, says students in the hospitality management program received offers daily during February and March. "Some received multiple offers."

This summer, Malaspina students will take positions in Canadian Pacific Resort Hotels from Whistler to New Brunswick including the Rimrock Resort Hotel, Sutton Place, Banff Centre, Ocean Pointe Resort and Coast Harbourside.

"Co-operative education work terms offer real world learning that can’t be taught in the classroom," explains Ketelsen. "These are real paid positions that give our students an edge when competing for work after graduation."

"Co-op programs aren’t easy," adds Ketelsen. "Our students write reports while they are working, and their progress on the job is evaluated and monitored."

Malaspina students working in co-op placements earned $581,933 dollars last year. During the program’s nine years of operation, students have earned over $3 million.

Malaspina’s Co-operative Education department maintains a database of a several thousand potential employers and now wants to extend its job placement service to all Malaspina students, not just those enrolled in co-op education.

"We want to be able to provide the same type of service to the rest of the student population," says Ketelsen. "With the labour market changes, students need to have the practical skills as well as academic skills. The institution is currently conducting a needs assessment to determine what services and delivery methods would be most effective in helping students make the transition to the world of work."

Dorothy Wallace, Student Employment manager, presently leads workshops on-campus in interview techniques, networking, labor market trends and job search skills. She also oversees the work-study program and off-campus full-time and part-time employment opportunities. "We receive job postings from specific employers; then we distribute that information to specific programs or areas," said Wallace.

Tags: In the Community

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