Kelley Mitton is a senior project manager, who also has a master’s in adult education. She was hired by Brandon University to set up a Co-Operative Education program (CO-OP) for BU students. This type of program is in many other universities in Canada and is something the Government is interested in seeing in more universities. They see a value in experiential learning and are creating 10,000 positions in Canada for co-op programs. Students interested in learning more about co-op programs in general can visit: http://www.cewilcanada.ca/
Kelley is extremely passionate about helping students develop the skills they need to pursue a profession and be a great employee. She wants to help students learn the foundational skills such as adapting to change, being flexible, relationship building, self-awareness, to have a growth mindset, and to come back from the bad days at work and not dwell on them. She would also like to help students identify and market their strengths and find the areas they would like to further develop to be the best employee they can. She currently sits on the Workforce Development Committee for the Brandon Chamber of Commerce and is networking with businesses to develop co-op placements.
So, who can apply? If you are a 4-year degree, or 4-year degree with honours student in Applied Disaster and Emergency Studies, Biology, Computer Science, Chemistry, History, Sociology, Environmental Science, Physics and Astronomy, or Geology you can apply for the program. You must also be registered full time in the semester before, and after the co-op program. Each department will have its own requirements you will have to meet to apply for the program. Applications go to Kelley, who then looks them over and makes final decisions.
Once accepted to the program, students will begin by doing Professional Development. This will include guest speakers, experiential learning workshops, resume and cover letter building, interview practice and more! Another part of the professional development will be networking with local businesses which is such a great opportunity for students. Then, the student finds a work placement. The work placement can be in Brandon, a home town, or even abroad for international students. Students find their own placement that will then need to be approved by Kelley. Students can enrol in the program for three work terms (which would be three summers).
So why is this program an awesome opportunity? First, you get paid! You are also getting the chance to get your foot in the door with a business you’re interested in, and a possible future career, while gaining experience. You also get the chance to use the theories being taught in the classroom. You come back after the program with actual work experience which will benefit you in your classes. It also offers students the opportunity to learn workplace lessons. You can learn how to dress appropriately, how to communicate with coworkers, and how to be punctual. These are all skills you will need when you finish school to begin your career. It also lets you test drive your career. You can learn if it’s something you love as much as you thought you would.
Kelley is holding an information session on February 6th, in the free slot. It will be in room 215 of Clark Hall. If you think the co-op program sounds like an awesome opportunity (which it is) come out and get more info! Any questions, Kelley’s email is: firstname.lastname@example.org