Cooperative Education

Cooperative Education (Co-op) is a learning partnership program that provides students with valuable work experience in the community while they are earning credits towards their graduation diploma. Co-op involves both a classroom component and a work placement component.


  • experience the practical aspects of a job and the expectations of employers in a real work environment
  • 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 (the Ministry of Labour requires students to be a minimum age, depending on the occupation)

Placement Supervisors/Employers help to:

  • provide the opportunity for students to learn from experts in the field
  • develop the essential skills and work habits valued by the workforce
  • enrich classroom learning with practical application
  • provide students with the opportunity to access emerging technologies
  • apply for Cooperative 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
  • sign the Parent & Student Information form

Placement Supervisors meet with the Cooperative Education teacher to discuss:

  • job tasks for the student
  • schedule of workplace hours for the student
  • student needs and expectations
  • procedures involved with monitoring, communication and evaluation
  • student time sheets/logs
  • confidentiality policies
  • health and safety practices including personal protective equipment required
  • accident reporting
  • Provide a safe working and learning environment
  • Provide orientation and workplace site specific health and safety training
  • Designate an employee(s), to be responsible for daily supervision of the student
  • Assist the teacher in developing the Learning Plan for the student
  • Provide challenging learning experiences for the student
  • Sign the student’s time sheets/logs in order to verify placement hours
  • Meet with the teacher to discuss the student’s progress
  • Complete the performance appraisals for the student
The Co-op teacher will monitor the student at the placement on a regular basis to consult with the placement supervisor as well as the student and to observe the student at work. Records of each monitoring session are kept by the teacher. 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 Cooperative Education student. A completed and signed WEA form at the start of the placement ensures that the student has WSIB coverage.

The Waterloo Catholic 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 student is not to use a personal vehicle to conduct company business.

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 work day. Habitual lateness and unexcused absences are not acceptable.

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.