Co-operative Education and Work-Integrated Learning (CEWIL) Canada has gathered its board members and leaders from across the country to assess the situation regarding work-integrated learning (WIL) placements, including co-op work terms, for both the current term and for the upcoming Spring/Summer term which typically starts on May 1st. In almost 50 years of leading WIL in Canada, through various economic disruptions and world events, we have not experienced anything quite like the impact of COVID-19 on our institutions, students and on our industry and community partners.
To help navigate these uncertain times, CEWIL is providing recommendations and best practices of our members. Importantly, we remind our members to follow their institutional/organizational guidelines, public health and governmental directives first and foremost. We also understand that the various types of WIL have different considerations and that individual student and organizations differ as well. We are offering the following recommendations simply to assist in providing guidance in this uncharted territory.
CEWIL Canada recommends that employers and community partners who have offered/going to offer a student a placement for the upcoming spring/summer, consider the following alternatives to cancelling the upcoming WIL opportunity;
- allowing the student to work for home if their organization can support this practice
- consider moving the start date of the work term to June 1st, 2020 to allow for time to pass and a more fulsome assessment of the Canadian landscape regarding COVID-19.
We recognize the value that work-integrated learning has for both our students and our industry partners and we are hoping to mitigate potential losses in these meaningful experiences for students
CEWIL is also recommending that students connect with their institutions directly to receive updates on directives for current and future work terms/placements.
Many of our institutions and employers have already moved to virtual forms of interviews, job fairs and other on-campus employer/community engagement as a best practice. We encourage the practice of using phone, video or other platforms to conduct interviews and further face-to-face interactions with industry.
As the situation evolves, CEWIL will continue to host an on-line meeting of directors and managers from institutions or organizations who would like to be engaged in an on-going basis. We will share our collective wisdom and best practices and support each other as a community of practice. In the spirit of collaboration, we welcome non-member leaders of institutions/organizations to these meetings. For information regarding these scheduled meetings, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.