5 Reasons Co-op Students should be part of your culture | Refresh Financial

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5 Reasons Co-op Students should be part of your culture

In British Columbia over 5,000 employers are tapping into a smart hiring solution – cooperative education programs (co-op programs). Co-op programs are managed by colleges and universities to match students who want to have hands-on experience in their field of study while earning an income. Employers receive many advantages to hiring co-op students, and the biggest way is that it improves corporate culture.

1. Save time and money

Employers save time and money by posting co-op positions with colleges or universities, therefore, eliminating costly advertising and long interview processes. The post-secondary co-op staff arranges the interview schedules and facilitates the hiring and performs reference checks on behalf of the employer.

2. Great energy into the workplace

A co-op student's main focus is to learn, also the level of enthusiasm and energy they bring to their day to day job is fresh and positive. This energy can be contagious and refreshing to other employees which positively impacts the work culture. The high level of energy from the co-op student is also welcoming to senior team members who want to mentor and share their expertise.

3. New ways of thinking

Co-op students come straight from the classroom learning environment and are often more current with the trends and latest research affecting the industry. Also, they are not afraid to ask important questions that may be overlooked by long term staff.

4. Fill in the gaps

You can hire co-op students from various disciplines to support peak periods and short-term projects that range from four months and up to a year.

5. Potential future employees

Hiring co-op students is a low risk way of finding your next employee, since you both get a chance to work with each other and test the waters.

Take a look at the interview with one of our co-op students to learn first-hand about his experience.

An Interview with Derek G., Finance Co-op Student with Refresh Financial



Question: What are you studying in university?

Answer: I’m taking a management degree at UBCO in Kelowna and, I recently wrote the LSAT because I plan on applying to law schools this coming Fall.

Question: What made you select your field of study?

Answer: The versatility of a business degree is what initially drew me to this field of study. As I completed my degree, I started to gain interest in finance and marketing. When I entered the Co-op program, there were many finance positions and few marketing positions, which pushed me towards Finance.

Question: What is your favorite thing about your job?

Answer: My favorite thing about my job is the proximity I have to people in senior leadership. Recently, I have been helping with requests from our CFO regarding formatting and analysis for financial statements. I work directly with our CEO who forwards me investor inquiries that I help resolve. Luckily, both jobs have allowed me to expand my understanding of how companies finance and analyze the business.

Question: What does an average day look like as a co-op student in your role?

Answer: My role has changed quite a bit from when I started in September 2018. At the start of my co-op, I was involved in manual work that was required with loan and credit card products. As I demonstrated that I was capable of more, my role shifted. I was asked to help with preparing investor statements and started to work on more involved and complex projects.

Question: What awesome project have you contributed to in your department and how did you do it?

Answer: My main contribution comes from documenting the current processes for handling the financial management of the loans and credit cards. To accomplish this, I created 5 SOPs to outline exactly what the process consists in order to complete this particular finance function.

Question: How did this project contribute to the department?

Answer: This contribution will allow future finance members to learn how to manage the loan/credit card duties as well as provide a frame of reference for future training.

Question: Is your department usually dominated by women or men?

Answer: My last co-op was the same setup; I worked at Alpine Aerotech for the summer of 2018 in their accounting department. My team was also mainly made up of women. I don’t find there's much change personally in working with mostly all females or all males.

Question: How do you feel this position is preparing you for the future?

Answer: This role has allowed me to meet many new people and create some great connections that will continue to be invaluable! Additionally, this role allows me to take what I have learned in university and apply it in the working world. This knowledge will also help me next year to better understand the applications of new learning in my final year of university.

Question: What would you say is your favorite memory of your co-op position so far?

Answer: I would say that the reaction I got from my team when I told them that I was going to stay on over the summer and extend my co-op. They were very excited to see that I was staying and had been trying to convince me to stay longer. It was nice to see the value that I bring as a team member, even though I’m in a student position.

Question: What have you learned about credit during your time at Refresh?

Answer: I would say the main thing I have learned is how a credit score works and what improves it. Refresh has also highlighted how even a small amount owing can still drastically change your credit score, if left on your credit report long enough. I am definitely more aware of poor money management.

How to start the co-op hiring process

Contact the colleges or universities in your region or visit co-op.bc.ca. Co-operative education is a fantastic option to hiring the right talent to your organization.

To learn more about Refresh Financial visit: https://refreshfinancial.ca/

Shenaya Sweetman is the Content and Social Media Specialist at Refresh. She's an avid writer with an interest in real estate. She values the importance of saving and investing for an early retirement. Passions include online health coaching and live fitness instruction. Her favourite finance blogger is Michelle Schroeder-Gardner.

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