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Co-operative Education

img co opCo-operative Education is a philosophy of learning that is based on a partnership between the institution and its external stakeholders (industry) whereby the common objective is to provide the student with an enhanced learning experience in a workplace.

In essence, this is a three-way partnership in which the students alternate academic study with periods of work experience, during which they apply their learning in real-life situations under the supervision of experienced mentors in the work place as well as the guidance of academic staff from the institution. The work that is covered during this period is monitored and assessed according to requirements set out by specific departments. This type of learning is called experiential learning.

The role of the Co-operative Education Unit

  • Establishing of strategic partnerships that result in the creation of experiential learning opportunities for students in the work place.  We collaborate with employers, youth organizations, national and international bodies, and all other interested stakeholders on matters relating to student employment.
  • Ensuring that the Co-operative Education policy is implemented appropriately across the institution
  • Ensuring that matters that affect the function of co-operative education and experiential learning, institutionally, are addressed
  • Managing information pertaining to co-operative education
  • Marketing (in collaboration with Marketing and Communication) the experiential learning program

How does the experiential learning program work?

  • Partnerships are created between the institution and industry
  • Work stations are sourced through discussions between relevant representatives from the institution and industry.  These discussions centre around the ability of specific workstations to meet the training requirements as specified in learner guide documents for specific programs
  • Recruitment processes are initiated by the industry player in co-operation with a staff member from the institution.  Where needed, interview facilities are made available on campus.
  • During the time that the students are with the organization, they are treated as regular employees or employees-in-training. They are required to record their progress in logbooks that are signed by their supervisors or mentors, as well as submit regular assignments, projects, etc  to the Co-op Coordinator as they learn to integrate their learning with the actual work
  • Co-op Coordinators also visit them to monitor and assess their progress
  • Periods of placement vary from 3 to 12 months depending on the requirements of specific programs.

Benefits of a Co-operative Education Partnership for employers

  • Periods of integrating learning and work equip the student with pre-qualification experience, thus enabling employers the opportunity to recruit work-ready graduates
  • Students who respond well to the work environment can be retained as full-time employees on completion of their training periods
  • Each discipline has an Advisory Committee.  Employers of our students have the opportunity to be members of these committees which communicate the needs of industry to the institution.  Through membership in these committees, industry helps to shape the training that the students receive at the institution

Benefits of a Co-operative Education Partnership for students

  • This is the student’s opportunity to integrate their learning with real-life work situations.
  • During this period, students have an opportunity to demonstrate their abilities to potential future employers
  • Presented with challenging tasks, students are able to develop to their highest potential
  • Work experience is often the determining factor in whether or not new graduates find employment.  CPUT students, through Co-operative Education, often have the work experience at completion of their academic studies

Who to contact

Prof Joyce Nduna
Director CE and WIL

Tel: 021 959 6810