By Jane Vaughan
I did my Co-op in a secondary school just outside of Limerick City and it was the best six months of work ever. For many co-op is the first real experience of the working world, the first opportunity to prove yourself and show that you are capable of many things.
Co-op allows you to work in pretty much any field you like for Arts and Humanities students. The university can organise where and who you work for if you want them to or else you can organise it yourself. I organised it myself as it is a much faster process because the college have an enormous amount of other placements to organise each year.
To organise your own, you send out your CV to the places that you’d be interested in working for and then you might get called for an interview and you continue this process until you have secured a placement. If you do have UL getting you your placement it’s important to know that you have to accept the first job offer you get. Some Co-op placements are also not permitted to pay you. Because mine was a secondary school they did not have to pay me.
You learn so many valuable skills while on co-op such as, time management, people skills and teamwork skills. You get to experience a real working environment and all the pros and cons that come with it.
While Co-op is a break from college work for six months it does means you have to fill out a report at the end of it all. I’d suggest you begin this early enough and add in points as you go on in your placement because if you leave it until the week before it’s due it will become awfully painful.
The best piece of advice I could give you for your co-op is choose some place you’d really like to work in and not the place that is easiest to secure.
Jane Vaughan is in her fourth year studying English and History at the University of Limerick. She is 22 and from Limerick. You can read her personal blog here and follow her on Twitter at @_PaulaJane.