Co-op@CUHK boosts students’ career readiness by providing placement
The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) hosted the Annual Ceremony of the Co-operative Education Programme (Co-op@CUHK) on 24 February to celebrate the remarkable outcomes of its inaugural year. The first cohort of students achieved significant improvements in professional competencies and career readiness after completing full-time, full-pay, full-credit placements, while corporate partners identified promising talents well-suited to their organisations. Industry partners, members of the university and students attended the event to commemorate the occasion.
Co-op@CUHK offers a novel approach to learning by combining classroom instruction and extended hands-on experience. Students undergo pre-placement training before being matched with employers for full-time, full-pay, full-credit work placements lasting six to eight months.
CUHK Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Rocky S. Tuan said, “CUHK is determined to support students’ career development by providing them with valuable placement opportunities through Co-op@CUHK. Despite the impact of the pandemic, the programme has achieved remarkable results, delivering a triple-win outcome for employers, students and the University. We will continue to promote the programme and work with our corporate partners to nurture young talents, while encouraging students to realise their full potential, maintain a learners’ mindset and give back to society.”
Workplace assessments were also conducted during the two work terms that helped students identify their core competencies and areas for improvement. The assessments covered eight areas, ranging from professional presentation and communication skills to achieving work goals and objectives. The rising scores of students in the second assessment showed that CUHK students maintained a positive learning attitude and strove to achieve continued excellence in the workplace, and these qualities were highly valued by employers. Nearly half of the students have received full-time or part-time offers, showing that they fulfilled if not exceeded the expectations of employers.
Wilbert Averil, a year-5 economics student, who had placement at the Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation, as a marketing officer for InnoAcademy, was praised by his employer: “He learnt fast and was efficient and innovative. He went from not knowing much about social media marketing to managing our social media pages with well-crafted content that delights and inspires our target audiences over just a couple of months.”
Corporate partners joining Co-op@CUHK come from a diverse range of industries, including banking and finance, construction and real estate, logistics, healthcare and the non-profit sector. The placements provided students with a wide variety of opportunities to pursue personal and professional growth. Students who took part in the programme cherished the experience, saying that it helped them learn about the workplace and set career goals.
Jade Lau, a year-5 psychology student who completed a placement at Johnson & Johnson Medtech, said: “Thanks to the co-op programme and the invaluable workplace experience it provided, we’ve transformed ourselves and become more confident, capable and proactive. We all grew tremendously as a result of this programme and are now prepared to enter the professional world.”
Co-op@CUHK has also been a success for employers. It has attracted a slew of new corporate partners: more than 100 of them in the second cohort, for 2022-23, offering over 600 placement opportunities, and nurturing young talents for an ever-evolving society.
Professor Isabella Poon, CUHK Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Vice-President (Education) said, “We hope to join hands with more corporate partners to offer students additional work placement opportunities in order to meet their high demand. This will help students’ transition to the workplace and help employers identify and capture the best and brightest talents early. We will also expand the programme to non-local partners.”
For more details about Co-op@CUHK, please visit: https://coop.cuhk.edu.hk/.