Co-op program

Last updated: November 16, 2021

The co-op program is one of the most successful ways of recruiting new talent into the BC Public Service. 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 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 4, 8 or 12 month auxiliary appointments to align with the post-secondary trimester system:

  • Winter: January to April
  • Summer: May to August
  • Fall: September to December

Eligibility criteria

To be eligible for the BC Public Service’s co-op program:

  • Co-op students must be registered in a recognized cooperative 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 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 (for example: each co-op work term is worth academic credit). Students who are not enrolled in a cooperative education program at their post-secondary institution are not 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 cooperative education program with an opportunity to gain practical work experience in the BC Public Service.


The process for hiring a co-op student is easier than many other hiring options within the BC Public Service. Hiring managers are encouraged to use the Co-op Hiring Manager Handbook (PDF, 835KB) 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 (IDIR restricted) for a list of recognized cooperative education programs, along with the post-secondary institution contacts.

The co-op program offers 2 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 BCGEU Collective Agreement (PDF, 3.7MB).

Check out the salary look-up tool for the most up to date salary information.

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 4 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's co-op job site and follow the application instructions listed in the job posting:

If your post-secondary institution is not 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 BC 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, 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 support them through their co-op journey.