The case for Co-op and Internships for students in food

Anyone who knows a student or recent grad will know that the age old problem, “no work experience, no job. No job, no work experience” is as much an issue for graduates today as ever before. However employers still bemoan the fact that it is very difficult to attract and retain great talent. The food industry in all it’s guises is no stranger to this scenario and yet a quick search of a range of small and medium sized organizations’ websites produces a dearth of such student opportunities.

So what are the advantages of offering co-op/internships?

  • Allows a student to showcase their talent to you, with no long term hiring commitment
  • Projects that are being done “off the side of someone’s desk” can be given to a dedicated person with no other responsibilities
  • If you are manufacturing products that are to appeal to Millennials, then hiring one might provide some interesting insights
  • Your organization will gain valuable exposure among the students’ peers which will benefit you in future hiring rounds
  • There are a variety of financial incentives (such as the Co-operative education tax credit in Ontario) which may result in very minimal cost to your organization.

Many larger organizations (Labatts, Maple Leaf Foods, Sobey’s to name a few) use Co-op opportunities as part of their global recruitment strategy. It builds brand awareness and a pipeline of young, talented and “pre-tested” graduates for their entry-level jobs.

Below I have included links to a number of other articles that provide advice to companies thinking about hiring a co-op student, as well as a more comprehensive list of the funding opportunities available within and beyond Ontario’s borders.

Engaging Millennials early really is the key to success in long term recruitment initiatives and co-op and internships are a great opportunity to do this.

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