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REF NO.: 198

SUBJECT: Memorial University thanks employers for helping students hit the ground running
DATE: March 24, 2004

Every year, scores of Memorial University students graduate with both a degree and a wealth of valuable work experience. Students emerging from the university’s co-operative education programs are ready to hit the ground running thanks to the many employers who participate by providing them with challenging work experiences outside the classroom. This week, Memorial University is celebrating National Co-operative Education Week by hosting a reception for employers to acknowledge the importance of on-the-job learning for students and the vital contribution employers make to the program.

This school year, over 500 employers from the public, private and not-for-profit sectors in Newfoundland and Labrador have provided Memorial’s co-op students with over 1,600 challenging work experiences.

Co-operative education is a practical learning process where students alternate between academic and work terms to apply their classroom learning to real-world experiences and to bring their real-world experience back into the classroom. "Through co-operative education our students acquire practical career experience which can enrich their university education and help them gain a foothold in the job market," said Dr. Abraham Ross, interim director, co-operative education and academic experiential education. "At the same time, I believe our employer partners also benefit from the co-op relationship."

“For a small business like ours, co-op students make all the difference,” said Inge van Ulden, owner of Wallnuts. Her business employs students from Memorial’s Human Kinetics and Recreation programs. “I am always surprised at how quickly the students learn and how much responsibility they can take on. With their help, I can feel comfortable that my clients are well-served so I can focus on the business issues.”

In the other side of the relationship, co-operative education gives students a competitive edge in securing jobs in today’s tough marketplace. “The computer science internship program has given me the opportunity to work with the latest wireless technology,“ said Chris Stuckless, a computer science student employed at Consilient. “You just can’t get this kind of learning in the classroom. I now have experience and a job offer when I graduate.”

A reception will be held to recognize employers on Wednesday, March 24, from 4-6 p.m. in the Junior Common Room, R. Gushue Hall, located on Memorial’s St. John’s campus. The event is being co-ordinated by the Co-operative Education Services Centre (CESC), which fosters and supports the development of co-operative education on Memorial University’s St. John’s campus. National Co-operative Education Week runs from March 22-26 and is being celebrated at more than 85 colleges and universities across Canada.

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