Cooperative Education, Work Experience, Job Shadowing, OYAP
Traditionally, cooperative education teachers have had more hands-on involvement with informing students about safety on the job than other teachers, because of their curriculum expectations requiring classroom safety instruction and their role in placing co-op students in workplaces. With new Ministry of Education initiatives such as Specialist High Skills Major and Student Success, other subject specialist teachers may become more involved with experiential learning. These Ministry of Education initiatives stress the importance of experiential learning opportunities for all students and particularly those who may benefit from learning experiences outside the traditional classroom environment.
With so many students going out to workplaces for job-shadowing and work experiences as well as co-op placements, the importance of assessing workplaces for safety and preparing students to work safely, as required by the Ministry of Education policy, is greater than ever. Fortunately there are a number of resources available, some designed specifically for co-op teachers or teachers involved in experiential learning. These resources will assist teachers in preparing classroom safety lessons and in effective assessment of placements to help ensure they're safe for students.
Resources for co-op teachers
There are a number of resources available for use by teachers in co-operative education and the Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program. All are free for use by Ontario teachers.
- Updated! A 12 page collection [PDF 488 kb; opens in new window] of teacher-friendly, classroom-ready interactive safety games, videos, posters and other safety awareness materials was assembled as an update to the Live Safe! Work Smart! resource for cooperative education, but is also well-suited to Career and Guidance, Technical education, and any teacher or subject area looking for fresh ideas to educate students about workplace health and safety and employment rights and responsibilities.
- Live Safe! Work Smart! Resources for Cooperative Education and other Forms of Experiential Learning
Resources from the Ministry of Labour
- Young and New Workers webpage was created by the Ontario Ministry of Labour to give young and new workers information about their responsibilities under the Occupational Health and Safety Act. It provides tips for employers on making the working experience a safe one for young workers and outlines five things inspectors will be looking for when they visit workplaces.
Additional selected resources
- Employing Young Workers tip sheets – the supervisor tip sheet is a perfect hand-out for placement employers while the young worker version reinforces basic safety information for students.
- iDrive is an excellent video to show if your co-op students will be driving during their assignments or need to drive just to get there. Produced and made available by the Ministry of Transportation, the video delivers messages specifically targeted at youth. At this time the video is no longer available as a new version is in production. Stay tuned for more information in the coming months. If you want to use iDrive in the interim, ask your colleagues if they have a copy of the original video. A number of copies were distributed to teachers when it was introduced.
- Lost Youth, a video available from the Workers Compensation Board of BC, tells the stories of four young people who sustained serious, life-altering injuries at work. The language is graphic and some of the sequences are disturbing, but many teachers find it hits home in the classroom. A sanitized version is also available. The two versions of the video are now available for download in formats for Windows and Macintosh computers and for the iPod.
- The Ministry of Labour provides the winning videos from their student video contest. Visit their site to download the student videos for classroom use.
Additional resources by industry
For those situations where you might need learning resources that go into considerable detail about particular industries where students might be placed, for instance construction or health care, there are resources available from associations free of charge or at minimal cost.
For example, some construction technology teachers use the video called “New on the Job” available from the Construction Safety Association of Ontario to help prepare students to go out to a construction site placement. Similar resources are available from other Safe Workplace Associations.