Co-operative Education Policy

Co-operative Education Policy

1.0             POLICY

OF:                       The Royal Alberta College
(hereinafter shall be referred to as “the college” and/or as “college” and/or “The Royal Alberta College)

The Royal Alberta College supports the development and implementation of Co- operative Education as an educational model based on measured market demand and identified program needs and requirements. Co-operative Education programs shall be designated and approved as either mandatory or optional program components.

Co-op students will be governed by the policies and regulations of The Royal Alberta College as well as the policies, regulations, and requirements of employers.


2.1     Co-operative Education programs have the following outcome objectives:

  • Students will develop and refine employability
  • Students will gain understanding of career opportunities in their field
  • Students will learn about the realities of the workplace

2.2      This policy aligns with national standards as established by the Canadian Association for Co-operative Education (CAFCE).


3.1        “Co-operative Education Program” as defined by CAFCE means a program which alternates period of academic study with periods of work experience in appropriate fields of business, industry, government, social services and the professions in accordance with the following criteria:

  • each work situation is developed and/or approved by the co- operative educational institution as a suitable learning situation;
  • the co-operative student is engaged in productive work rather than merely observing;
  • the co-operative student receives remuneration for the work performed;
  • the co-operative student’s progress on the job is monitored by the co-operative educational institution;
  • the co-operative student’s performance on the job is supervised and evaluated by the student’s co-operative employer;
  • the time spent in periods of work experience must be at least thirty per cent of the time spent in academic

3.2 Employability skills are defined as those personal management and teamwork skills required of employees in the modern

3.3 There are two types of program structures for Co-operative Education programs from which to select:

3.3.1 Co-op programs with more than one work term period integrated into the overall program giving students exposure to more than a single type of work environment in their field of studies.

3.3.2 Co-op internship programs with one work experience period where students receive an in-depth exposure to one employer organization.

3.4 Co-operative Education requires a three-way partnership between the student, the employer, and the college.

3.5 Co-operative Education programs must satisfy specific criteria in order to meet accreditation requirements established by the CAFCE. This policy, therefore, is necessarily distinct from the Work Integrated Learning Policy.


4.1 Roles and Responsibilities

4.1.1 The Alberta Licensee Authority of the college is responsible for this policy.

4.1.2 The College is responsible for:

  • complying with accreditation and recordkeeping standards
  • providing adequate resources to Co-op programs
  • providing a range of services and resources to employers and Co-op students (marketing, scheduling, recruitment, training, supervision, and evaluation)
  • developing and delivering pre-employment training sessions and curriculum that meets appropriate standards
  • publishing detailed Co-op procedures and practices, in alignment with this

4.1.3 Co-op Students are responsible for:

  • successfully completing a pre-employment training program
  • exercising ethical workplace conduct
  • setting goals for learning in collaboration with faculty members
  • conforming to all conditions and rules of the Co-op placement including employer policies and regulations
  • maintaining employer confidentiality
  • participating in work-site visits
  • completing a written report for each work

4.1.4 Employers are responsible for:

  • providing an orientation to the workplace
  • providing a supervisor for the Co-op student
  • participating in worksite visits
  • liaising with the College
  • refraining from recruiting Co-op students to permanent positions before students successfully complete the program
  • assisting the final evaluation of the student’s work

4.2 Development and Approval

4.2.1 The College is required to work with employers to develop appropriate Co-op placements and must approve them based on the following criteria and conditions:

  • the Co-op student is engaged in productive work rather than merely observing
  • the Co-op student receives remuneration for the work performed
  • the Co-op student’s progress on the placement is monitored by the College program
  • the Co-op student’s performance on the placement is supervised and evaluated by the student’s Co-op

4.2.2 Approval to administer and implement a Co-op program will follow enacted policies.

4.2.3 The College will credit previous work experience for a maximum of one work term, provided it is approved by the program and Work Integrated Learning Co-ordinator as a suitable learning situation that satisfies educational requirements. In order to be eligible for approval, the previous work experience must have included a work term report and evaluation and have been followed by a study term

4.3  Eligibility and Admissions

4.3.1 To be eligible to participate in a Co-operative Education program, students must normally be accepted as full-time students in a Co- operative education program and are required to maintain satisfactory standing in their academic

4.3.2 Prior to the start of the Co-op placement, students are required to sign a declaration stating that they have read and understood the responsibilities to both the employer and the

4.3.3 All Co-op students will be assessed a non-refundable Co-op fee collected at the time tuition fees are

4.3.4 Each Co-op program is required to publish the following:

  • a description of the Co-op placement and approval processes
  • the dates when student and employer reports are due
  • the details of assessment processes and criteria
  • student expectations and requirements during work terms
  • details of the student appeals

4.3.5 The College will facilitate the assignment of students in work placements. (The College cannot guarantee participating students Co-op employment, because labour market conditions are variable and beyond the institution’s)

4.3.6 If required international co-op students must have a work authorization from Citizenship and Immigration Canada to undertake off-campus work terms (This is not subject to off-site practicums as referred to in the work integrated policy)

4.4 Grading and Graduation

4.4.1 The failure of a student to report to, and appropriately participate in, a Co-op placement will result in a failing grade for the work term.

4.4.2 Any student who leaves a Co-op placement without approval will receive a failing grade for the work term and may be prohibited by the Chair from continuing in the Co-operative Education

4.4.3 Each Co-operative Education program requires a specific number of Co-op hours be satisfactorily completed in order for students to graduate with a credential with a Co-op designation (a minimum of 30% of time spent in academic study).

4.4.4 Students cannot normally register in more than one course while enrolled in Co-op

4.5 The College reserves the right, at any point during the Co-op employment, to remove a student from a situation in which students, clients, or other individuals are placed at risk, or when the student engages in behaviour that is contrary to the professional requirements of the work placement. The decision may be appealed according to College policy. However, the student will not remain in the Co-op during the appeal.