Host an Intern or Co-Op Student
HOST AN INTERN OR CO-OP STUDENT
In the Province of British Columbia, the word 'internship' refers to a paid trainee experience, while the word 'practicum' refers to an unpaid academic work placement. The word 'internship' on this page should be read to mean 'practicum' for all hosts in BC.
Each year, more than 500 students find their internship placement through an Experience Education program. Students intern in dozens of different fields, in Victoria, Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, and New York City.
While most students are placed with an existing host company, nearly a third are placed with new host companies - either those that apply through our website or those that we recruit for a specific student. As a prospective host company, you have a lot to gain from hosting an intern or co-op student.
A rewarding experience
Interns and co-op students come to work with enthusiasm, motivation, and infectious energy. Nearly every company that hosts interns (and you can see some of these in the testimonials in the sidebar) talks about how they are challenged by them, by their hunger for more and more projects, and their desire to learn and experience as much as they can at the company. Interns bring a new perspective - not just on your day to day work, but on your staff relations, on your industry, and on projects you've had on the back-burner.
Interns do take up staff time, even if unpaid, they consume resources - there is an opportunity cost. But what they return to you and your staff, in terms of energy and commitment makes it all worth it.
The best and brightest
Internships and co-op placements are restricted to people with good grades, who go to class, and who - by the very act of signing up for an internship program - show their serious-mindedness and career focus.
Security and clarity
There are stories in the news all the time it seems, about unfair and unethical internship programs. We read about companies getting sued by former interns. We know that no one sets out to break the rules - but when the rules aren't written down anywhere, it can be hard - and we understand why some companies have had problems.
We help you avoid those problems. We've read the rules, we've talked to lawyers, to employment standards branches, to provincial and state bureaucrats. We have invested a great deal of time and money on learning how to structure an internship program so that it is within the letter and spirit of the law.
When you host a student through Experience Education, you can be certain that the placement meets all the requirements of provincial and state law, that it meets federal immigration requirements, and that you are creating a legitimate and rewarding learning opportunity for a student.
unpaid Internships, Stipend Internships, and Co-Op Placements
When you sign up to host an intern or co-op student, you access students from all three programs. These programs, their duration, and the expectations on you differ significantly:
These are short-term work experiences of 400 hours or less (done over 16 weeks or less), in which a student works and trains at your company. They work directly under a supervisor in their desired field, they job shadow, participate in projects, and gain exposure to many aspects of your business. These students work in non-essential roles, and cannot do the work of an employee. However they are eager and welcome to join in on 2nd tier projects that give them a better idea of your sector - projects such as introducing new quality control measures, looking at impact of new regulations on your business, investigating best practices, supporting a one-off project, conducting market research, and more.
Stipend internships start at 400 hours and go as long as 960 hours. Students in stipend placements go a step beyond unpaid interns and do more hands on work - though they still cannot take the place of an employee, and still must have an on site supervisor in their field. In order to ensure these longer-term internships are open to students at all income levels, we ask host companies to pay students a weekly stipend - or 'honorarium'. Experience Education invoices companies for this stipend and pays students on your behalf - with a portion of the stipend fees collected by Experience Education being used to help offset program costs.
Co-Ops differ from internships in that they are jobs. Co-op hosts pay students minimum wage or above, and place them in an entry-level position connected to their field of studies. Co-op students are able to contribute to productive work, and fill a role that could also be filled by an employee. Experience Education co-op students are generally doing 'capstone' placements - these are work experiences done at the end of their programs of study. Many of these students will be looking for full-time work at the end of their co-op terms, and where possible, choose to remain with their co-op hosts long term.
Experience Education hosting guidelines are set by federal and provincial regulations, and in part by our partner institutions. To be eligible to host an intern or co-op student, your business must meet the following minimum requirements, and be open to a site inspection by an Experience Education staff member:
- Your company must have been in business for at least 1 year
- The intern to on-site employee ratio cannot be greater than 1:5
- Your company must be registered with your jurisdiction's workplace insurance body or provide proof of exemption
- The company must be located in a safe, transit accessible location
- The company cannot be in a private residence or mixed-use 'live-work' building
- The primary language of the workplace must be English (or French if in Quebec)
- The company must have a website that shows your current address
Once you determine if your company is eligible to host an intern or co-op student, you must ensure that each placement meets the following requirements:
- The student must be provided with a workspace and computer
- There will be an on site supervisor in the student's field of studies
- The company will agree to a training plan, to help orient the student to their work site
- The host supervisor will complete a monthly report on the student's progress, and a more detailed final report
- The company agrees that any disciplinary issues, including dismissal, will be done in accordance with Experience Education's Conflict Resolution Policy
If a stipend-paid placement, companies must meet all of the basic requirements listed above, as well as:
- The host company will pay a stipend fee of $275 per week
- Commission or incentive payments are not permitted
If a co-op placement, companies must meet all of the basic requirements, as well as:
- The host company will pay the student minimum wage or above
- Commission or incentive payments are not permitted
How can I host an intern or Co-Op Student?
We want to make it easy for you to host an intern or co-op student. Here's the process from start to finish:
- Read the eligibility and placements requirements on this page to make sure you qualify to host a student
- Fill out the form at the bottom of this page
- EE staff will review your form, research your company, and schedule a call with you to discuss hosting students.
- When we have a student that matches your company profile, we will contact you with their resume. If you're interested in the resume, we will arrange an interview between you and the student. For new companies, an EE staff member will typically escort the student to the interview and conduct an onsite inspection at this time.
- If the student passes the interview, we work with you to draft an Internship Placement Agreement (or Training Plan) describing the placement.
- The student starts their internship.