Small businesses give coop students room to grow

Carter van Veen Co-op Student

Small businesses give coop students room to grow

18 March, 2019

* Celebrating Co-0p Week 2019 *

For new graduates, transitioning from the classroom to the workforce can be intimidating — but for Carter van Veen it’s just another day in the office. After completing a co-op work-term at Orbis Communications, the recent Mohawk College graduate is starting a permanent position on the team as Junior Developer.

Carter credits Orbis’ small size and warm office culture for making him feel at home from the very beginning. “I loved it right away. I got to see how a close-knit company worked, and it made me feel hopeful for the workforce as my co-op term ended.”

Like Carter, Nathan Costa got his start at Orbis as a co-op student. Now with 8 years under his belt, Nathan has been instrumental in the development of the Orbis platform and a valuable mentor for co-op students and new graduates. At the time of his placement, Orbis was even smaller which gave Nathan the unique opportunity to sharpen his skills while gaining hands-on exposure to real customer projects.

“Working at a small business was an incredible experience as a co-op student,” says Nathan. “Being that there were so few developers at the time, it was trial by fire. I had to learn things I had barely touched during school or just never heard of before. It gave me the opportunity to really get involved with the product line and to learn how things were actually done in the real world.”

But it’s far from a sink or swim environment. Committed to an open–door–policy, Orbis thrives to create a student experience that promotes imaginative thinking while facilitating the opportunity for students to consult seasoned experts in their field of study.

“The emphasis has been on doing things correctly and learning how to make specific choices. I feel comfortable asking questions and making suggestions,” says current Orbis co-op student Evan Mulrooney. “And there’s something really cool about being able to work on a page and know that customers will interact with it — I don’t know if students at bigger companies always get to experience that.”

Recognizing that Canada is a world leader in work-integrated-learning, particularly with co-operative learning, Orbis plans to join the national conversation along with their stakeholders during Canada’s Co-op and WIL Week on March 18-22, 2019.

“Co-op students play a meaningful role in the success of our team,” says Emily Eley, who is Executive Director at Orbis Communications. “We have the benefit of working with some of the brightest and innovative next generation talent. As our company grows it’s important to us that we continue to provide co-op students with tangible learning experiences to instill confidence in their abilities as they prepare to enter the workforce.”

By Jeni Riddell – Customer Relationship Manager

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