International Students are successful in Co-ops too!
Many international students choose to study at Georgian College because we are the largest co-op college across Canada. All of Georgian’s Co-op programs require that students complete successful co-op work terms in order to graduate, so all students, even international students, must work in their industry of study in order to graduate with their Co-op Diploma/Degree.What that means is that a student in a three year Co-op program actually will have completed two years of academic study along with one year work experience before they graduate. Having the opportunity to gain industry related work experience often leads to better opportunities upon completion of the program.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Q: I’m an international student and would like to apply to a co-op program. Do I need a work permit to complete my co-op work term?
A: Yes – all international students are required to have the appropriate work authorization in order to work in Canada. Students, who are in a co-op program, will need to apply for a co-op work permit in order to work legally in Canada. It’s a good idea to apply for the Co-op/Internship Work Permit about 4 months prior to your first co-op/internship work term. Staff in the International Centre at Georgian will guide students through the process. There is no additional fee for this service or for the work permit and because co-op is a mandatory component of the program, there is little or no risk to be rejected. The Co-op work permit allows students to work co-op/internship jobs only. International students may qualify for the part-time off-campus work permit and/or the graduate work permit at a later time. Fees apply. For further information, go to the Citizenship and Immigration Canada website. http://www.cic.gc.ca/ Once a student has the required work permit, they will also need to apply for a Social Insurance Number (SIN) in order to get paid legally to work in Canada.
Q: I don’t have any work experience, in my country or in Canada. Will employers still hire me?
A: Everyone has to start somewhere and while some employers may prefer to hire candidates with experience, many employers realize that not everyone comes with industry related experience. There are other ways to gain experience and build a resume. All students have access to The Centre for Co-operative Education, Internships and Career Centre staff who can assist in building a resume and cover letter. Some things that you might like to highlight include, but are not limited to Objective, Profile of Skills, Education, Volunteer Work, Awards, Certificates, Additional Training, Special Projects, Community Involvement, Interests & Activities and References.
Q: What kind of help is there for international students to secure a co-op job?
A: Georgian is the only College or University across Canada that has an International Co-op Consultant. The International Co-op Consultant is there to provide extra supports to international students in any job search related activity. These supports include extra assistance in understanding employment in Canada, understanding employer expectations, Canadian resumes, cover letters and interviews, one-to-one job search assistance, specialized workshops and personal coaching. All students in a co-op program will work very closely with the Co-op Consultant for their program area and will have access to our online system for co-op job postings and to our services in the Career Centre. Students are expected to manage their time and commitments and ask for help, so be proactive and get connected – use the services and plan ahead! The International Co-op Consultant’s office is located in B110. Stop by or call (705) 728-1968 ext 1340 to book an apt.
Q: Will I get paid for my co-op?
A: The idea behind co-op is to give students the opportunity to gain real life work experience in their industry and are expected to be treated like any other employee at the company, so yes, co-op work terms are paid. Students will typically earn anywhere from $10.25 per hour to $22 per hour, depending on the industry, the company, the location and the qualifications of the student. Students are encouraged to consider far more than just the wage they will be earning. When applying to jobs, think about the type of company, the experience you’ll gain, your long term career goals, and how you will get to and from work each day or where you’re going to live…. All of these are factors when conducting a realistic job search.
Q: I’m not in a co-op or internship program, but I am an international student and want to work in Canada. Can I?
A: Yes. International students are permitted to work on-campus, or part-time off-campus up to 20 hours a week. Students who wish to work off-campus, MUST apply for a part-time, off-campus work permit. The International Student Advisor in the International Centre can assist with this. Students must have studied at the post-secondary level for at least 6 months and maintained good academics in order to apply. For additional information, please go to www.cic.gc.ca This work permit also allows students to work full-time hours during scheduled breaks, such as holidays, in between semesters and while waiting for a grad work permit to be processed. Services are available through the Career Centre for students who are looking for part-time employment.
Q: What can I do before I come to Canada to prepare for my Co-op Work Term?
A: Build a resume and be open to making changes to it once you get here and start your job search. If you have previous work experience, consider contacting that employer(s) and asking them to write a reference letter for you. This letter should include information about the type of work that you did in your position and how the employer felt about your performance. This letter should also be typed on company letter-head and signed by a Manager, Supervisor or someone in a senior level role. You may also want to build a portfolio. A portfolio is a collection of achievements and job search related things to demonstrate your career to a prospective employer. This may be a binder, folder or other package and contain things such as awards, certificates, copies of other diploma’s, certificates, reference letters, examples of your work or things that you have created or achieved. Another suggestion is be prepared to obtain an Ontario driver’s license. While it is not mandatory, often employers will request that students have a valid Ontario driver’s license. Ontario operates under a Graduated Licensing System. Graduated licensing lets new drivers get driving experience and skills gradually. The two-step licensing process takes at least 20 months to complete. For more information, go to www.mto.gov.on.ca.
Q: I have friends/family in another province in Canada. Can I work outside of Barrie?
A: Yes! Georgian College works with employers to create opportunities for Georgian students and graduates across the province, nationally and internationally. While we do post some jobs that are local to the Barrie Campus, students should be prepared to relocate for their Co-op Job, as employers can be anywhere. While many of the opportunities we promote are local, students may find work in places like Barrie, Orillia, Midhurst, Innisfil, Muskoka, Midland, Borden, Newmarket, Bradford, Collingwood, Toronto, Mississauga, Scarborough, Etobicoke, Brampton, Guelph, Kitchener, Sudbury, North Bay, London or in other provinces or even in other countries. Some international students may choose to return home for a co-op work term.
Q: Am I guaranteed a Co-op job?
A: No. No student is guaranteed a co-op job, but as long as you remain in good standing and are eligible for a co-op work term, then you will have access to all the resources needed in order to be successful in a co-op program. Georgian’s Co-op Consultants spend a lot of time building and maintaining relationships with employers who hire co-ops, interns, graduates and students for a variety of types of work. We expect students to go to their co-op classes and use the services available in order to compete and interview for positions with employers that post with Georgian College. Students are also strongly encouraged to conduct an independent job search. There are services to assist with anything and everything related to employment through our Centre for Co-operative Education, Internship & Career Services, so be sure to use them.
Q: What companies will hire me?
A: Georgian College works with thousands of employers to provide opportunities to thousands of students. You may end up working for a major corporation, a small business or may even consider starting a company of your own as an entrepreneur. The possibilities are endless.
Q: If I have more questions or need help, who do I contact?
A: If you are an international student and have questions about co-op, internships, graduate work or simply employment in Canada, contact Joanne Foxton, International Co-op Consultant at email@example.com the Centre for Co-operative Education/Internships & Career Services at firstname.lastname@example.org