From the employer’s perspective
Taylor Poulin, Software Engineering Manager
For Taylor Poulin, the primary benefit of technology-services company Camis’s robust experiential learning program is clear – a healthy supply of skilled talent to feed the company’s recruitment pipeline.
The company, which hires several University of Guelph Computer Science students at a time on four and eight-month co-op placements, says about a quarter of the staff it recruits full time are former co-op students.
The tasks assigned to the co-op students, in areas such as programming and quality assurance, are meaningful and important and require a strong level of knowledge in its tech stack.
Poulin says students bring great value to his workplace because they are not already set in their ways; he likens them to “clay we can mould to fit our needs.”
[Students are] clay we can mould to fit our needs.
The most important qualities he looks for in hiring students are an openness to learning new things; the ability to communicate effectively with co-workers; and the capacity to retain the knowledge they’ve acquired.
Another benefit of providing experiential learning opportunities is that it enhances an employer’s reputation as a good place to work, as well as an organization that has strong ties to the local community, Poulin adds.
From the student’s perspective
University of Guelph
Computer Science undergraduate Aysu Gundogan says her four-month co-op placement at Guelph employer Camis was “a great experience.”
The third-year international student from Turkey was tasked with debugging and doing configuration on some of the software products developed by the company, which specializes in solutions for campsite registration management. She was given meaningful assignments, which was “significant, in that I could see how to use the things I’d been learning in school in real life.”
She says the placement also helped build her communications skills – an asset that is always in demand by employers, and one that Aysu sees as especially valuable, given that English is not her first language.
I learned all the jargon and saw how people communicate in the workplace, and it really helped my communication skills.
Aysu also enjoyed Camis’ workplace culture, which made her feel welcome and enhanced the overall experiential learning experience. She is hoping to parlay her knowledge and skills into a full-time job in Canada after graduation.