Cooperative Education

What is Cooperative Education (COOP)?  

Cooperative education provides secondary school students with a wide range of rigorous learning opportunities connected to communities outside the school. It is designed to recognize and respond to the diversity of Ontario’s student population, and it can engage all students. In cooperative education, students learn in safe, culturally responsive environments in the community, and they are actively involved in determining what they learn, how they learn, when and where they learn, and how they demonstrate their learning. Participation in cooperative education can lead to transformational change, engaging students in unique experiences that they will remember throughout their lives.

Cooperative education promotes the acquisition and refinement of skills, knowledge, and habits of mind that support education and career/life planning and fosters positive attitudes towards learning that help students become independent, lifelong learners. Cooperative education contributes substantially to a comprehensive education and career/life planning culture by focusing on: helping students acquire skills and knowledge related to the community experience; providing opportunities for students to inquire and reflect on their experiences in order to gain a greater knowledge of themselves and their opportunities and a growing understanding of how they can shape their future and providing personalized experiences to meet students’ particular learning and motivational needs.

Participating in cooperative education can be a powerful tool for helping students to understand the value of postsecondary education and to capitalize on the possibilities and pathways available to them. Cooperative education can also support students in making meaningful community connections in the longer term, helping them to realize their potential as individuals, to participate in a highly skilled workforce, and to be active, engaged, and compassionate citizens.

Cooperative Education programs include a full-semester, half-day work placement in the community with a school-based classroom component to earn between 2-4 co-op credits. (Up to a maximum of 2 co-op credits can now be used as part of the 18 compulsory credits required by students to earn their diploma.)

The classroom component of co-op helps students: prepare for the work placement; make connections, regularly throughout the semester, between experiences in the workplace and the learning in the subject to which the co-op credit is related; reflect on and analyze their experiences in the workplace.

The placement component of co-op provides students with the opportunity to: expand and apply the knowledge and skills learned in a school subject in a workplace setting.

Students enrolled in Co-operative Education:

  • are regularly monitored and assessed by their Co-op Teacher
  • are covered under the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board through the Ministry of Education
  • earn high school credits and valuable work experience

New to the cooperative education program is Hour Republic, this is a software package that tracks, manages, students volunteer and cooperative education hours. (

What is the Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program (OYAP)?   

The Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program (OYAP) is a School to Work program that opens the door for students to explore and work in apprenticeship occupations starting in Grade 11 or Grade 12 through the Cooperative Education program. Students have an opportunity to become registered apprentices and work towards becoming certified journey-persons in a skilled trade while completing the requirements for their Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD).