The Cooperative (Co-op) Education Program at High School

Co-op education is a unique program that integrates academic study with practical workplace experience. A co-op credit will provide you with an excellent opportunity to test drive a job to see if it is suitable. Our high schools offer a range of different co-op programs that offer something in common – real-world work experience.  

Co-ops are beneficial regardless of the program or level of study you are taking. These credits will offer you experience to steer you in a particular direction for education or for work following high school.

What is Co-op?

Co-op education allows you to "try on" a potential career by going to work for part of a school day or a full day.  Typical co-op programs have students working two to four periods a day.  Each student has a Learning Plan which provides the framework for this learning opportunity.  Students spend most of their time at the workplace, after completing their job search, health and safety training, and job readiness exercises in the co-op classroom setting.  As well, students reconvene throughout the semester to modify their learning plans, set new goals and have the opportunity to reflect and expand upon their "on the job" learning experiences.

Expanded Co-op Opportunities

As a result of the province's Student Success strategy, we are able to offer you expanded co-op opportunities. You are now able to apply two co-op credits toward compulsory graduation requirements.

This broadens opportunities for experiential learning and gives you a chance to start working and testing career options. These credits are applied to your 18 compulsory credits required for graduation.

Along with this change comes a move to develop stronger partnerships between education, business, and community organizations – the goal is to increase the number of co-op and job placement opportunities for students. 

Contact your high school's guidance department to get more information about co-op courses available.

What is the Difference Between Co-op and the Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program (OYAP)?

Co-op OYAP
Career driven, career exploration and development Industry/employer driven, developing skilled workers
Credits earned in stand alone co-op course, or tied to any subject the student has or is currently taking Ideally, credits are tied to tech subjects/experiences to maximize student learning about industry
Follows the Cooperative Education Curriculum (2018) Follows the Cooperative Education Ontario Curriculum (2018) and the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development policies and guidelines
Students sign a Workplace Education Agreement (WEA) with the employer or placement partner Students sign a Work Education Agreement (WEA) with the employer and an OYAP Participant Application Form
Students must have a Co-op Student Learning Plan OYAP participants must include competencies from the Trade training standard in their Co-op Learning Plan
Students are co-op assistants, not registered apprentices, earning credits towards secondary school diploma OYAP participants earn credits toward their diploma and apprenticeship hours/skilled trades competencies; OYAP participants can be registered as true Ontario apprentices
Co-op is a mandatory component of the SHSM program to earn the SHSM seal The apprenticeship pathway through OYAP is recognized in every SHSM sector.