Effective communication with co-operative education students helps build and maintain a successful program. While a manual or Web site can provide students with comprehensive information, having them sign an agreement ensures they are all aware of your expectations for their participation in co-operative education.
Your agreement might outline academic requirements students must meet, indicate the minimum number of work terms and clarify that the institution must approve positions. You might also include information about co-operative education fees, such as the payment schedule, refund policies and a statement that co-operative education fees are not a placement fee.
It is helpful to state your program's expectation that students attend workshops, check job postings and submit work reports. You can also emphasize the importance of honouring commitments to employers and explain the consequences of missing interviews or accepting a job offer from one employer after having been matched to or accepting a job offer with another. Outlining expectations about maintaining confidentiality and following ethical guidelines can help shape later discussions on appropriate business conduct.
The document might conclude with a statement that the institution is not liable if students do not find employment, or for agreements established or breached with employers such as salary and benefits. Give students a copy of the agreement as a reminder and keep a copy in their file.
Communicating your expectations as the start is fair to co-operative education students and invaluable for co-operative education staff.