We are now developing a new programme that lets students experience professional work during their studies.
The CO-OP Programme is a new formula for cooperation between science and business, which will enable the best students to start working during their studies and gain their first experience in the labour market. The Co-op Programme is a new formula for cooperation between science and business, which will enable the best students to start working during their studies and gain their first experience in the labour market. Our inspiration is the Co-op programme run at the University of Waterloo in Canada (https://uwaterloo.ca/future-students/co-op) whose representative is on the International Advisory Board of the IDUB programme.
The concept of the Co-op programme developed at the NCU bases on a few pillars:
1. The programme takes an elite approach and is addressed to the best students who meet the employer’s requirements. The offer of internships addressed to students in a particular field of study will be decided in each edition of the CO-OP programme depending on the interest and demand expressed by employers. As part of the CO-OP programme, the student applies for a job and undergoes a recruitment process at the NCU and the employer’s premises. The process involves assessing the student’s workplace competencies and the level of motivation to work in a given position. After completing the internship, the student receives a certificate of internship completing under the CO-OP programme.
The student is mentored in the organisation by a manager who provides training, assignments and guidance.
2. Job offers, which contain expectations towards candidates, are prepared by Employers. The work can take different forms. The employer may involve the student in processes or projects within the organisation or assign the student an individual project. The student is supported by a mentor who is a manager in the organisation and provides training, project work and guidance.
3. The University provides promotion of the programme and recruitment for it. The Careers Office disseminates job offers among academic community members, and the University faculties are additionally involved in the recruitment process. The Careers Office is responsible for matching students with the expectations specified by employers. It provides students with career counselling and diagnoses their level of social competencies. The student’s grade point average (minimum 4.0), results of the career interview and career aptitude tests, the student’s recognised social competencies, and the recruitment interview with the employer determine the outcome of the recruitment process.
4. The faculty ensures that students have time for professional work. The student may spend from three to five months on professional work during a semester following the organisation of the academic year at the University provided they have obtained the consent of the Dean for Individual Organisation of Studies (IOS) as laid down the Rules of Study. The internship may be pursued during the period free from classes. While gaining work experience, the student also obtains learning outcomes prescribed in the study programme (e.g. for selected courses from the study programme, work placement or general university classes).
5. The student is available to the employer for three to five months on a half- to full-time basis, depending on individual arrangements. During the internship, the monthly salary is paid to the student by the employer on the basis of a civil law contract, except for the salary for the first month in which the University finances it. The amount of the monthly salary is a minimum of PLN 3,000 gross per full-time job. The number of internships subsidised by the NCU is limited in particular editions of the programme. Several months of students’ work allows the employer to learn about their competencies and consider them for future employment.
The pilot edition of the CO-OP programme is planned for the academic year 2021-2022. The results of the pilot edition will give the programme a final shape.
EIRU Secretariat: +48 56 611 31 31, Gagarina st. 7, 87-100 Toruń
Career Office: +48 56 611 47 71, https://www.biurokarier.umk.pl/projekt-co-op.