Co-ops and internships

Our position

The next generation of Canada’s entrepreneurs, researchers and innovators require a broad set of skills to succeed in and contribute to the global economy. To meet this need, universities are equipping students with career-boosting learning experiences, such as paid co-ops and internships, research projects and mentorship programs. But more needs to be done. Universities support the call by the Canadian Business/Higher Education Roundtable for access to work-integrated learning for 100 percent of Canadian postsecondary students.


By the numbers

  • 80%
    of employers

    Four out of five employers surveyed say co-op and internship students are a source of new talent and potential future employees.

    Source: Leger Marketing employer survey for Universities Canada, 2014.
  • 56%
    benefit from hands-on learning

    More than half of today’s undergraduates benefit from experiential learning – such as co-ops, internships and service learning – as part of their university education.

    Source: Canadian University Survey Consortium, Graduating University Student Survey, 2018.
  • 25%
    growth in co-ops

    Enrolment in co-op programs at universities has jumped by 25 percent in recent years, from 53,000 students in 2006 to 65,000 students in 2013.

    Source: Based on data from the Canadian Association for Co-operative Education, 2006-2013.

“Work-integrated learning also improves economic access for minority groups, especially Indigenous Canadians and new Canadians… It’s a social leveller.”

Spotlight on

Universities Canada