Co-operative Education and Work Experience Programs

Cooperative Education and Work Experience Programs are designed to provide community related experiences for students in senior grades. Both programs require students to engage in health and safety training prior to starting the community portion of the experience. For more information on each program, continue reading.
Cooperative Education (co-op) provides secondary school students with an opportunity to acquire skills and knowledge related to a community placement. 

Courses in Cooperative Education

Course Name Grade Course Type Course Code* Prerequisite
Cooperative Education Linked to a Related Course (or courses) Same as grade(s) of related course(s) Same as grade(s) of related course(s) Same as grade(s) of related course(s) None
Creating Opportunities through Co-op 11 Open DCO3O None
Individual schools determine the appropriate course for the students upon course registration.
* Co-op linked to a related course does not have its own course code. The teacher determines the course that the student is currently or has previously taken that is most related to the co-op experience. This course code is the basis for the co-op tie-in code (Eg. ENG4C as a two-credit co-op credit will be ENG4CC2).
Experiential learning graphic: Participate. Reflect. Apply. What? So what? Now what? Local. National. Global. Onsite. Blended. Virtual.

Goals of Cooperative Education

  • Students will develop a reflective habit of mind to derive meaning from their experiences.
  • Students will develop the ability to apply their learning to influence decisions and actions in various aspects of their lives.
  • Students will develop the skills, knowledge, and habits of mind required to become competent and confident education and career/life planners.

Experiential Learning as the Foundation for Cooperative Education

Students will work through the experiential learning cycle while participating in co-op in order to fully immerse themselves in the experience. Students will participate in the experience, reflect on their learning and then apply that learning to education and career/life planning.
AMDSB supports students in all five pathways through cooperative education and work experience programs. Each secondary school in Avon Maitland DSB has a unique timetable based on student selection. Students and parents should consider their education and career/life planning early in secondary school in order to maximize pathways programming and opportunities available to them.
Sketch style infographic illustrating pathways from AMDSB student to apprenticeship, college, community, university, workplace

Course Details

Length: Full Term (semester). 2 Credit: Half Day. 4 Credit: Full Day.
Credit: Each credit must be scheduled for a minimum of 110 hours per credit.
Description: The co-op program encompasses a Classroom Component as well as a Community Component.
Key Elements: 


  • Individualized Student’s Cooperative Education Learning Plan (SCELP)
  • Mandatory pre-placement health and safety training
  • Monitored by co-op teacher throughout term
  • Integration of planned learning throughout community portion of co-op by teacher
  • Students utilize experiential learning cycle to fully engage with experience
COVID-19 related changes: Students will participate in cooperative education experiences using the quadmester model. Placements must be within Huron and Perth counties. In rare and unique situations, placements outside of the district will be considered, subject to the AMDSB approval process. Contact your local cooperative education teacher for more information. 


Cooperative Education Placements

Strong community partnerships are essential to providing students with rich and relevant work experience opportunities and cooperative education placements. AMDSB is always looking for community partners interested in becoming involved in our experiential learning programs for students - including work experience and cooperative education.

Employer Responsibilities


Cooperative Education Work Experience
Perform a pre-placement safety checklist with the co-op teacher
Adhere to health and safety guidelines in the specific sector
Work with the student and teacher on the student's Cooperative Education Learning Plan (SCELP) in order to provide rich learning for the student.
Confirm the student’s attendance and daily activities by signing a weekly log sheet  
Provide two performance appraisals throughout the term  
Support student learning by allowing the student to participate in course work through integration days and culminating activities.  

Differences and similarities between Cooperative Education and Work Experience Programs

Cooperative Education Work Experience
Both experiential learning programs require that the students complete health and safety training prior to starting the community portion.
Both experiential learning programs require that the students complete health and safety training prior to starting the community portion.
Students are ambassadors of their school while out in the community
Students are required to complete a learning plan with the support of the school staff member and the placement supervisor
Students who participate in co-op have an opportunity to earn credits toward their OSSD or OSSC. Students who participate in work experience do not earn credits.
Students in co-op will attend the placement every day for the duration of the semester or quadmester. Students who participate in a work experience leave their scheduled class at school to obtain experience in the community without credits being earned. Students in a work experience program will work with their teacher and the placement supervisor to determine how often the student is attending the placement.