Supervisor's Guide

Tips and tools for deriving the greatest benefit from your project involving a co-op student

co-op work-term Supervisor: An appealing role
Mission: Integration, guidance, monitoring the learning process, and evaluation

Before the co-op work-term

Planning the co-op student’s duties

  • Establish a clear, diverse and stimulating mandate.
  • Ensure that there is adequate work to be done for the length and level of the co-op work-term.

Preparing for the arrival of the co-op student

  • Inform the co-op student of the following:
    • The beginning and ending dates of the co-op work-term;
    • The time when the co-op student is expected to report for work;
    • The individual who the co-op student should meet with upon arrival on the first day;
    • Dates when the company is closed, if applicable.
  • Prepare the necessary reference documents.
  • Provide the co-op student with a welcoming environment:
    • Ensure that all of the members of the team are informed about the co-op student’s arrival and mandate.
    • Prepare the workstation and the equipment required to carry out the project (borrowing a co-worker’s computer or other items may become inconvenient for either the co-op student or the co-worker).
  • Identify a member of the team who will be responsible for supervising the co-op student.

Beginning of the co-op work-term

Welcome and integration

  • Introduce the co-op student to the entire team upon arrival, and show the co-op student around the premises.
  • Meet with the co-op student in order to specify the tasks to be accomplished.
  • Ensure that the co-op student understands your expectations, the working hours, and the dress code to be respected.
  • Monitor the progress on a weekly basis in order to ensure that the co-op student is on the right track.

The co-op student will be more highly motivated if the mandate is clearly defined and diversified and if the co-op work-term involves the integration of new concepts.

During the co-op work-term

Visit from the co-op work-term Coordinator

  • Be prepared for a meeting between the Coordinator and the co-op student.
  • Fill out the form for assessing the co-op student. You will receive an e-mail during the co-op work-term, inviting you to fill out this form online once the co-op work-term has been completed.

Relationship between the co-op work-term Supervisor and the co-op student

  • Your presence and availability should be more pronounced during the first weeks of the work-term, and should diminish somewhat as the co-op student becomes more autonomous.
  • Keep your co-op student informed with respect to the level of performance:
    • If it is satisfactory: let the co-op student know that you are satisfied, and provide encouragement and motivation;
    • If improvement is required: evaluate and adjust the level of guidance, the goals and the tasks to be accomplished, as required, and inform the Coordinator if there is any misconduct or deficiency in terms of competency on the part of the co-op student.
  • Answer the co-op student’s questions in order to maximize learning and the quantity of work completed;
  • Clearly inform the co-op student with respect to your expectations;
  • Increase the co-op student’s responsibilities gradually, according to the progress made.

A Supervisor who is attentive to the needs of the co-op student and who provides an appropriate level of explanation and instruction will obtain better results. The desire to pass your knowledge on to a co-op student and to provide guidance is essential.

Requirements for being a co-op work-term Supervisor

There are many different supervision styles, but guiding and evaluating a co-op student requires certain basic qualities and competencies, including the ability to listen to the student and the willingness to share information by asking the student questions and encouraging discussion.

The co-op work-term Supervisor must be able to evaluate the co-op student in a constructive manner, taking care to recognize accomplishments and progress while pointing out areas where improvement is needed.

Conflict management

Don’t wait!

The majority of co-op work-terms run smoothly. Most co-op work-term Supervisors and co-op students are very satisfied with the results.

However, there are times when difficulties arise, such as personality conflicts, misunderstandings with respect to the tasks to be accomplished, mandates that never get off the ground, co-op work-term Supervisors who are not available, co-op students who have improper attitudes, difficulties in learning, etc.

These situations can be caused by a variety of factors, such as differences between the co op student’s profile and the requirements for the position; unexpected changes to the mandate; the departure of colleagues leading to the co-op work-term Supervisor assuming excess responsibilities; excessively high expectations on the part of the co-op student with respect to the co-op work-term, or sometimes excessively high expectations on the part of the co-op work-term Supervisor with respect to the co-op student.

If a problematic situation arises, it is your responsibility to inform the Coordinator immediately.

The Coordinator will arrange to meet with you in order to find a satisfactory solution for both parties.

The Coordinator’s role may involve providing support or even acting as a mediator.

End of the co-op work term

  • Meet with the co-op student to discuss the assessment of the co-op work-term that you will be sending to the Coordinator.

The team from the Service de l’enseignement coopératif (Co-operative Education Department) would like to thank you for the trust that you have demonstrated, and we remain available to assist you at anytime.

Please feel free to contact us. We will be delighted to answer all of your questions.