The Co-op Program has been, and continues to be, one of the most successful ways of recruiting new talent into the BC Public Service; around the organization, nearly 1,200 regular employees started their careers through this program.
The Co-op Program provides post-secondary students with a work placement in government that allows them to explore the public service and to expand their skills by working on projects that augment their field of study. Under the Co-op Program, the nature of the work is aligned with the student's academic discipline, and significant emphasis is placed on training, learning, development, growth, support and mentoring.
Co-op work terms are typically four, eight or twelve-month auxiliary appointments, as they align with the post-secondary trimester system (Winter: January - April; Summer: May - August; Fall: September - December).
In order to be eligible for the BC Public Service’s Co-op Program, co-op students must be registered in a recognized co-operative education program at a post-secondary institution. Students enrolled in a recognized co-op program outside of B.C. are eligible for the Co-op Program. Although co-op employees who are participating in the Co-op Program are BC Public Service employees, the co-op component of a student's degree forms part of their formal education (i.e., each co-op work term is worth academic credit). Students who are not enrolled in a co-operative education program at their post-secondary institution aren't eligible for the Co-op Program with the BC Public Service.
The Youth Employment Program is an alternative employment program that provides students, not registered in a co-operative education program, with an opportunity to gain practical work experience in the BC Public Service.
The process for hiring a co-op student is quicker and easier than many other hiring options within the B.C. Public Service. Hiring managers are encouraged to use the Co-op Hiring Manager Handbook (PDF, 635KB) to assist with navigating this process. Hiring managers are encouraged to post co-op opportunities at all participating post-secondary institutions with related academic programs. For hiring managers looking to post a co-op opportunity, check out the Co-op Connect Hub for a list of recognized co-operative education programs along with the post-secondary institution contacts.
The Co-op Program offers two employment options depending on the level of schooling of the co-op student:
- Level 1 is for students working towards a diploma or bachelor’s degree
- Level 2 is for students working towards a post-graduate degree
For more information about the program, please refer to Article 34.2 in the B.C.GEU Collective Agreement (PDF, 3.7MB). Check out the Salary Look Up Tool for the most up to date salary information for the Co-operative Education Training Program.
Pacific Leaders Tuition Grants for Co-op Employees
Students who complete a co-op work term with the BC Public Service may apply to the Pacific Leaders Tuition Grants for Co-op Employees program. Under this program, co-op employees may be reimbursed up to a maximum of $1,000 per four-month work term under the BC Public Service’s Co-op Program to cover the cost of their co-op work term tuition fee.
For students interested in finding a co-op job with the BC Public Service, check your post-secondary institution co-op job site and follow the application instructions listed in the job posting:
- British Columbia Institute of Technology
- Camosun College
- Capilano University
- Douglas College
- Kwantlen Polytechnic University
- Langara College
- North Island College
- Okanagan College
- Selkirk College
- Simon Fraser University
- Thompson Rivers University
- University of British Columbia - Arts
- University of British Columbia – Business
- University of British Columbia - Engineering
- University of British Columbia – Forestry
- University of British Columbia – Kinesiology
- University of British Columbia – Land and Food Systems
- University of British Columbia - Science
- University of British Columbia (Okanagan)
- University of Northern British Columbia
- University of the Fraser Valley
- University of Victoria
- Vancouver Island University
If your post-secondary institution isn't listed above, check your institution’s co-op job site to see the co-op opportunities available to you.
Co-op Program and Resource Office
The Co-op Program and Resource Office is a new corporate resource within the Public Service Agency for any and all employees interested or engaged in the Co-op Program with the BC Public Service. The office was launched in May 2017, born out of our corporate plan, Where Ideas Work (PDF, 2.6MB), as one of the ways in which the organization is looking to replenish the workforce, better reflect the citizens we serve, incorporate a variety of perspectives and backgrounds to enhance both creativity and innovation, and solve problems more effectively.
The Co-op Program and Resource Office organizes events, and provides information, resources and tools to co-op employees, supervisors and hiring managers to help support them through their co-op journey.