At St. Peter’s Catholic Secondary School in Barrie, all sorts of Co-op programs are available, from policing to dancing to working in the fast food industry. There’s a program for everyone!
All of these wonderful co-op opportunities had a chance to shine at this year’s annual Career Fair! A co-op program is a way of letting students try out a career they may want to pursue in the future, taking them out of the classroom and into an actual work environment to learn real life work responsibilities. Co-op placements have many advantages for students who sign up, including earning up to four high school credits, and a great amount of experience. Plus, the experience always looks fantastic on a resumé. The fair was a spectacular opportunity for students at St. Pete’s, allowing them to see which co-op programs are available and how applying to experiences like this could potentially change their working lives.
Attendance at the Career Fair was fantastic with tons of curious students visiting each booth and asking how to apply. While the Fair was planned by our three Cooperative Education teachers this semester – Mr. Borsa, Ms. Mancinelli, and Mr. Souilliere – it was mainly run by the students in co-op placements. It also served as the end of the year Course Culminating Tasks (CCT), proving just how much students learned in the program by making stylish booth advertisements and chatting to anyone who would like to hear about the amazing opportunity they had experienced.
Most students loved their co-op placements, with some students returning to school the following year to garner a second co-op placement in the same field! This was the case for student Elisa who said, “The program exposed me to lots of different work experiences. I wouldn’t have known how much I liked this career path if not for the program… it really confirms your ideas about yourself.”
Co-op programs give students a different learning experience from that of the classroom. Mr. Souilliere, the Chair of the Co-op Program at St. Pete’s said, “Not every student is comfortable in a classroom setting and some of them become more calm and independent in a workplace. It also helps build employability skills.”
Currently there are approximately sixty placements for students at St. Pete’s wanting a co-op anywhere in Simcoe County, each teaching a different set of skills and responsibilities needed in the real world and in student life. All of this was never more clear than at this year’s Career Fair, where excited students were anxious to tell their stories and inspire others to follow a similar and successful path in their education.