How flexible are flexible work terms?
Each opportunity brought forward will be examined on a case-by-case basis. Flexible work terms are student driven so what makes sense for one student does not automatically mean it will be approved for another student. The student must provide a convincing rationale as to why the opportunity is of interest, what they expect to get out of the opportunity and how the opportunity aligns with their personal career goals. That said, there are minimum criteria that the opportunity should follow.
What is the criteria for a flexible work term?
Approving flexible work terms will be done on a case-by-case basis. What makes sense for one student might not automatically make sense for another student. The student must submit a convincing rationale for why the flexible work term is of benefit, what they hope to get out of the opportunity and how it aligns to their individual career goals. Other items that will be taken into consideration are: Is the work more than 420 hours? Does the opportunity fill most of the work term? Does the student have a supervisor who can complete the evaluation? Is the student being compensated? If not, does the opportunity meet the alternative remuneration framework? Does the student have room in their sequence to take a flexible work term? If a student has questions about a specific opportunity they are interested in, they should contact their co-op advisor.
What are some examples of flexible work terms?
We do not have many examples to share yet as the flexible work terms are being piloted. The intention is that we can learn what opportunities students are interested in. So far, we can see that students are interested in combining two work experiences over the co-op work term.
What is an example of a job that was not approved?
When a Flexible work term job is not approved, it usually due to one of three reasons.
The most common reason is that the rationale provided by the student as to why they wish to pursue a flexible work term (rather than a standard work term) is unclear.
The second major reason is that the proposed work experience makes it difficult to meet certain basic requirements to allow evaluation and assessment for credit. For example, if there is no supervisor to supervise the student and complete the performance evaluation then the flexible work term would not be approved. Alternatively, an experience may be too short to allow for meaningful evaluation.
Finally, a flex term might not be approved if a student has already completed a flex term and/or would not have enough work terms available to meet standard work term requirements (depending on which academic calendar requirements the student is following).
Are flexible work terms mandatory?
Flexible work terms are not mandatory. Beginning with the incoming class of 2018, a student must complete three standard work terms (which are mandatory) and then have the option of completing standard or flexible work terms for their additional work terms required by their program. Current students can complete only one flexible work term.
Is a flexible work-term credit the same as a regular co-op credit?
A flexible work term and standard work term will appear the same on your transcript, academic record and co-op work history. The type of work terms will be tracked by co-operative education in order to ensure that during the pilot current students only complete one flexible work term.
Will a flexible work-term credit look different on the transcript?
There is no visible difference on the transcript or co-op work term history between a standard work term and a flexible work term.
Are flexible work terms advertised in WaterlooWorks or are they all Student arranged jobs?
Flexible work terms will all be student arranged jobs as the intention behind flexible work terms is that they are student driven.
Can a flexible work term be 8 months long?
During the pilot, a student is limited to one flexible work term credit. It would be difficult to imagine an eight-month work term requiring a flexible credit, but students are encouraged to speak with their student advisor about what they are considering. Beginning with the incoming class of 2018, students can do flexible work terms during an eight-month work term, as long as they can meet the requirement of completing three standard work terms.
Does this program target first-year students or upper-year students?
Any student is eligible to take advantage of flexible work terms. Flexible work terms work well for first work-term students but also for upper-year students who want to do something different. Previously, some senior students would take a work term off to do something different but in this case would be able to get credit for it.
Will flexible work terms inflate the employment rate?
We are examining reporting flexible work terms employment as a separate category in order to have an accurate picture as to how they affect the employment rate.
Can a student apply for jobs in WaterlooWorks that are unrelated to their program?
Yes, students already had the ability to apply for jobs in WaterlooWorks that are unrelated to their program.
If a student brings a flexible work term opportunity forward will they get banned from WaterlooWorks?
In general, all co-operative education rules and regulations still apply to flexible work terms. Students bringing forward their own job opportunities are already possible through these processes – flexible work terms just expand the pool of jobs that can be considered for credit.
What does ‘no extended breaks or time off’ mean if 420 hours are the minimum required hours?
Breaks and periods off were not the intention of flexible work terms. If students are only working 420 hours and the rationale provided supports such a work term, they will be advised to fill the rest of the work term with skill development activities.
Is a flexible work term limited to two employers or can students work for more?
Generally yes, a flexible work term is limited to two employers.
How is an evaluation recorded when the student works for two employers?
We will collect a performance evaluation from both of the employers, but a single evaluation will be recorded in the system Numeric and overall evaluations will be entered based on averaging the values submitted in both evaluations (weighted by the period of time spent working with each employer) and the comments from both evaluations will be entered into WaterlooWorks.
How can a student complete their work-term report after a flexible work term if the subject matter isn’t applicable?
In most cases, there are provisions for students to choose a different topic or complete an independent study when their work-term content is unrelated to their program. If the student has any questions they should consult with the faculty advisor.
If a student has issues with their supervisor during their flexible work-term will they still get the same support from Co-operative Education (CE)?
Yes, all students will be given the same support by CE.