The following are proposed steps for a Co-ordinator to follow if they receive a request to post a position about which they have concerns.
1. Clearly and precisely identify the nature of your concerns and write them down.
2. Determine if these concerns are primarily with respect to the learning opportunities identified or primarily related to the work environment [safety, moral, ethical, etc.].
3. If your concerns are primarily related to the quality of the job tasks/learning, you may want to consider the following questions to help determine whether the position has “educational” value:
- Are the required job duties or tasks relevant to performance in your discipline area (consistent with either an entry level, junior, intermediate, or senior position)?
- Do the job tasks allow the students to develop skills and knowledge they already have and /or gain new skills and knowledge relevant to their discipline area?
- Does the position have some opportunity for progression of learning throughout the work term?
- If the job has limited discipline specific skills/knowledge development potential, are there other opportunities for gaining employability relevant skills and knowledge that would benefit the student’s overall career development?
- Is the employer at all interested in your discussions regarding the student learning aspect of the co-operative education model?
4. If the position is not deemed to have “educational value” for students, you may want to refuse the position or re-work it with the employer in order to improve that aspect of the posting.
5. If your concerns relate more broadly to the nature of the work environment you may want to:
- check with other internal Co-op programs to see if they have posted with the organization before (and if so, what were the results)
- check with other post secondary co-op programs in your discipline area to see if they have posted with the organization before (and if so, what were the results)
- check with the BBB to see if any complaints have been registered against the organization
- ask yourself whether your concerns are based upon your personal biases which may not be shared by all students
- check with the PM and /or Director re their thoughts
6. If your concerns are primarily based upon your personal preferences vs. more objective issues of safety (e.g. known harassment, known illegal operations, known unethical conduct etc.) you may wish to allow students to self-select for the job based upon their personal preferences. In this case you may wish to post as much additional information on the posting as possible (websites, etc.) and encourage the student to make an informed choice regarding applying to that posting and work environment. Ensure that any additional information you post is vetted with the potential employer.
e.g. "As this is a new (and unique?) Co-op employer we encourage you to research the company thoroughly and make an informed decision regarding your application. Check out their website at: www.etc"
7. If you decide NOT to post:
i. document why not
ii. inform the Program Manager and Director in writing
iii. contact the employer
iv. review as required