Co-op ed allows work experience to take the place of classroom learning

Garden Valley Collegiate
Winkler, Manitoba

By Nancy F. (Grade 12)

Cooperative Education, a work experience program offered to Senior 4 students at Garden Valley Collegiate (G.V.C.), gives students "a good look at what the transition is going to be like from school to the workplace," declared Co-op Ed Coordinator, Harv Giesbrecht.

Cooperative Education gives students an opportunity to get out of the school setting and into an actual work placement. Students can get from three to five Senior 4 credits for the hours they put in at their place of work. Students usually work four days of the week, with one day in class. Students are required to put in 110 hours of class time.

Students choose to enroll in Co-op Ed because "it looks good on a resume, as well as for the experience," commented Meagan, a Co-op Ed student from last semester at G.V.C.. John, another Co-op Ed graduate, said, "I enjoyed it very much." The only disadvantage to taking Co-op Ed according to John "is not getting paid" for the hours he put in. "Missing so much school" was the most difficult adjustment for Meagan. Co-op Ed gives students the opportunity to "learn new skills and use those skills," added John.

Co-op Ed not only benefits the students, but also their employers. Kathie Hildebrand, Chamber of Commerce office manager and Harvest Festival director, agrees that Co-op Ed "is a good learning experience" for everyone involved. Kathie has had six Co-op Ed students with her so far, with another one who started on February 22.

Instructor Harv Giesbrecht gets the privilege of finding placements for all of his students. It's not an easy job, but "the community really supports us that way," he said.

G.V.C. students who want to do some hands-on learning find that Co-op Ed is just the course for them.

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