Volunteers have served to support the development of co-operative education in Canada and the service our members provided to the CAFCE demonstrates their dedication and professional commitment to the advancement of co-operative education.
The CAFCE Board of Directors recognizes and appreciates the active members whose support, effort, and initiative have fostered the development of co-operative education in Canada through the CAFCE Association. CAFCE also recognizes the support that each college and university gives to the members in order for them to pursue this service, and we also extend our appreciation to the institutions for this consideration.
Serge Gagnon, Kiewit / Ganotec - Why would an employer volunteer at CAFCE? On a personal level, it is a great opportunity to make new friends and have fun! The friends I have made while volunteering at CAFCE for the past 10 years are people I really enjoy spending time with. It is a place where we share our different business practices & benefit from our diverse experiences. The Co-operative Educators are genuine people who care about their profession, their students and employers. On a professional level, it is a great place for networking with co-operative education professionals and gain a better understanding of their needs and those of the students they care for. Ultimately, it is great way for the employer to gain access to the best co-op students and eventually hire the best new graduates with great co-op work experience. We volunteer at CAFCE not only for our own personal interest, but also to help co-operative education continue its legacy to provide our Youth with the best related work experience and prepare them to successfully take on the challenges they will face in the workplace tomorrow.
Andrea Giles, University of Victoria - Volunteering for CAFCE committees or other initiatives is an excellent way to learn more about Co-op Education in Canada as well as meet new colleagues across the country. In a country as large as Canada, it is national organizations like CAFCE that help to reduce distances and increase relationships by reminding us of our similarities rather than our differences. Through CAFCE, institutions and individual members can build partnerships on a national scale.
Karen McCargar, Wilfrid Laurier University - Volunteering with CAFCE has enabled me to connect with colleagues in many valuable ways. Along with exploring common issues, sharing best practices and comparing helpful statistical data, I have developed some great friendships!
Shani Pearson, Mount Saint Vincent University - Volunteering for CAFCE was rewarding both on a professional and personal level. I had the opportunity to develop leadership skills, gain project and event management experience, and develop confidence while contributing to my professional association. In doing so, I made lifelong friendships and developed a national network of colleague. As a volunteer association, CAFCE members are the association and will is only as strong as its members.
Carmen Poulin, University of Ottawa - Volunteering to CAFCE has given me the opportunity to learn more about the profession of co-operative education and to better serve my own institution’s students and employers. For very little effort and time on my part I have not only made professional contacts throughout Canada but most importantly I have made life long friends with other volunteers and for this I am most grateful. The benefits of volunteering far outweigh the time commitment and I encourage all CAFCE members to put their name forward for a committee and to lend a helping hand!
Mausi Reinbold, Mount Saint Vincent University - As a volunteer member of CAFCE, I've grown both professionally and personally. I have received plenty of professional development and networking opportunities through my activities on the Accreditation Council as MSVU's representative, Co-chairing the CAFCE National 2004 Conference, Executive Member of CAFCE Atlantic, and as a CAFCE Board Member. I am able to apply these experiences, best practices and lessons learned to my career as a co-operative education practitioner.
Volunteering opens up an opportunity to network with experienced members from across Canada as well as providing an opportunity to develop new friendships and be a mentor to new members. I enjoy my work with CAFCE as it really is a win-win situation for all volunteer members involved. CAFCE is about volunteering and members get out of the association what they are willing to put into it. I look forward to many more years of working with CAFCE.
Joanne Thomas, University of Victoria - My main contribution to CAFCE has been through the CAFCE Accreditation Council – initially as a member and the as Chair for two years. I found this to be a very rewarding experience to connect with representatives from other Co-op institutions, to engage in stimulating discussions regarding Co-op standards, and to help move forward initiatives that promote the concept of Co-operative Education. Serving on Accreditation Review teams has helped me to link up with other Co-op practitioners across Canada and to understand better how other institutions administer their co-op programs, often tapping into the best practices of others. I would encourage everyone to serve as a reader on a review team – it is not onerous and there is much to be gained.
Kathy Verspagen, Mohawk College - Networking opportunities through the Canadian Association for Co-operative Education provided both personal and professional growth for me in my time as the Director of Co-operative Education and Graduate Employment at Mohawk College and also resulted in gains for the College’s staff and students. Co-operative Education is the best tool—for students to experience their chosen field within a monitored learning framework; for employers to make strategic investment in short-term and long-term staffing while directly impacting the curriculum and therefore skill set required within their environment; for academic institutions to facilitate real-life working scenarios contributing to the success of their students while ensuring their curriculum and programming meet the test in real-life situations. CAFCE provides professional development opportunities that highlight best practices and continually looks at ways to improve its services to members. Canadian academic institutions in particular but also employers are well advised to take advantage of the many contacts and opportunities available through CAFCE and its members.