This is a continuation to our previous article on Volunteering titled Why volunteering is essential to job search in Canada. This article attempts to clarify the difference between Volunteering, Co-op placement and Internship in Canada.
Volunteering is described as an unpaid activity where someone gives their time to help an organization or a cause. It is of benefit for both parties involved and does not involve financial payment. Volunteering is usually done on a part-time basis depending on the availability of the volunteer and the organization need.
When deciding where to volunteer think about these aspects:
- environment– creative, philanthropic, medical, people focused, technical, financial, media, etc.
- time commitment
- what do you bring to the organization and the role
- what do you want out of the experience
- what kind of people do you like to work with
- is this strictly for fun or charity, or is it to further your career growth
Co-op or Co-operative placement is usually associated with a course or certification offered by an education institution or employment centre offering a job related program. Co-op allows you to apply concepts learned in class during paid work terms. At the end of the placement, you will have not only a certification that indicates you participated in a CO-OP program but also work experience in your field of study and a network of valuable contacts. All of these factors will contribute to helping you find a job more easily after the course completion. You can find more information on this topic on Settlement.org
An Internship is a professional working position that is typically offered to students or inexperienced workers. It enables the intern to gain valuable work experience and on-the-job training, while providing the employer with an enthusiastic worker.
Some internships are paid positions, while others are unpaid. Both allow you to work within an organization to gain first-hand experience about a particular industry or field of work. Internships help inexperienced workers get involved in the workplace, and can sometimes lead to permanent positions.
Since internships are full-time positions, watch out for unpaid internships. While they vary from province to province, there are sets of rules governing how internships must be run. These rules are designed to protect interns, ensuring their internship helps spur their career. Most provinces ask that any unpaid internship be a requirement for a formal education program, offering practical learning experiences.
Whether it’s Co-op placement or paid internship or volunteering work – any of these can be excellent means for a newcomer to show that they have the skills necessary for potential job opportunities in their field.
Resources to find Volunteering opportunities in Canada:
United Nations Association in Canada
Environmental volunteering: goodwork.ca
British Columbia & Alberta: govolunteer.ca
Ontario: Ontario Volunteer Centre Network
Paid Internships: careeredge.ca