By Alexis Gutfreund
Ryerson’s Career and Co-op Centre is launching a new co-op program for first-year Faculty of Arts (FoA) students.
Eligible students include those currently enrolled in their first year of the English, politics and governance, history and sociology programs. The paid co-op program runs for three semesters starting in the student’s second year winter semester, with the last semester spent on campus. The first co-op term will start in winter 2022 for current first-year students.
Accepted participants can expect to add an extra semester to their four-year degree.
“At the Career Centre and the Faculty of Arts, we work together all of the time to make sure that our students in all of our programs are aware of the… power of their degree,” said Kathleen Kellett-Betsos, the associate dean of undergraduate studies in the FoA.
According to Kellett-Betsos, the FoA’s intention with the new co-op program is to reinforce the message that the skills students learn through their degree can be applied to the real world.
She added that students will also have the opportunity to work with a different company or organization each term.
According to the Career and Co-op Centre’s website, students will have the chance to work at several employers including Wattpad, the Government of Canada, Deloitte, as well as with federal and provincial members of parliament. The type of work includes social media and marketing, research and project coordination.
Michael McGregor, a politics and governance associate professor said the co-op program could help students navigate what they want to do after they graduate from post-secondary.
“If you take the co-op program, you’re going to have several placements and work in different places, you’re going to figure out what you like and what you don’t like,” he said.
Knowing what to expect for employment after graduating with an arts degree may be difficult, said McGregor. “But this [co-op] really helps to clarify what your life could potentially look like afterwards.”
McGregor said students enrolled in the co-op program will be taking a professionalization course where they will learn “ways to be successful in the co-op program [and] the professional world in general.”
As a part of the professionalization course, students will learn how to properly conduct an interview, write a resume, as well as other transferable job-related skills.
Co-op’s effects post-graduation
Thoywell Hemmings, the senior manager of career integrated learning at the Ryerson Career and Co-op Centre said by the time students graduate from Ryerson, those who have taken the co-op program will have a greater advantage when applying for jobs.
“At the end of their academic journey, [co-op students are] going to have a year’s worth of work experience that’s on their resume. When they apply to opportunities, professionals, recruiters [and] HR managers are getting someone who has that industry experience,” Hemmings said.
“These are all skills that are just going to make the students even more prepared as they exit university.”
First-year politics and governance student Larry Krimus believes this co-op program could be beneficial to him in the future.
“[Some] of the things associated with politics students are that they don’t get jobs, that there really isn’t a market for them and that it’s tough to find any employment,” said Krimus.
Krimus also said he sees the program as a networking opportunity and a chance to expand his skillset.
Krimus mentioned that a co-op program will allow students to “go into the field and actually confirm for yourself, if this is the kind of work you want to do.” He said it “gives you a nice sampling of what’s to come.”
Krimus looks forward to applying to the co-op program to establish connections between himself and political figures, as well as others who work in politics.
“Rather than just read off of Wikipedia [about what] the government does or just learn the basic theory, I want to know about the actual practice of government,” he said.
Applications for the FoA co-op program open in May 2021.
With files from Alexandra Holyk