Building for the Future: How Perkins&Will Works with Carleton University’s Co-op to Hire the Next Generation of Architects and Designers
The Co-operative Education program at Carleton University provides invaluable learning for both students and organizations. Carleton University’s Architecture & Design students have the opportunity, through the Co-op program, to obtain practical experience in their field of study while using the knowledge and skills they have gained in the classroom.
Through Co-op, students can work with employers such as Perkins&Will (Ontario Practice – Toronto & Ottawa), a leading architecture and design firm. This allows students to build their professional network, learn from industry experts, and gain valuable insight into the industry.
“In general, the students that join our team have a sense of entrepreneurial curiosity,” says Marie Nguyen, Senior Architect Associate at Perkins&Will. “Since the business workflow and the ecosystem around architectural services is not explicitly experienced in academia, our students crave understanding of the construction industry.”
The Co-op program understands that students hunger for more experience in the field, and this is something that can only be obtained outside the classroom. Through this program, students may work on projects, participate in meetings, and shadow mentors, which can help them to understand the day-to-day operations of the firm.
According to Marie, “Our students are an integral part of the studio culture; therefore, we always make sure that they are fully onboarded to their project and project team.” This work experience is how they will develop the skills and qualities needed to succeed in this industry.
In addition to mentorship, Co-op programs provide students with the opportunity to be recruited for full-time positions after graduation. By hiring Co-op students for 4, 8, 12, or even 16-month work terms, Perkins&Will are able to observe students’ performance and skillsets and assess permanent hiring potential. The employer can also evaluate a student’s work ethic, communication skills, and ability to work in a team setting, which are essential qualities in new graduate hires.
“We’ve had good experiences with boomerang employees,” says Marie. “A few of our permanent team members had their co-op journey with us and returned after graduating or during the summer.”
For employers, Co-op programs offer a chance to recruit and train the next generation of professionals. Over the years, Perkins&Will have been a committed employer to Carleton University and have nurtured and developed the next generation of architects and designers, as, according to the employer, “Co-op students from Carleton University bring a refreshing approach to design and critical thinking.”
Co-op hiring has allowed the firm to gain a fresh perspective and new ideas from students who are studying the latest theories and concepts in the field.
“Co-op students are essential and valued colleagues in our studios. While our design teams develop concepts and technical drawings based on their experience and knowledge, co-op students bring fresh, fun, and innovative ideas from their academic exploration and the culture of testing concepts in architecture school,” adds Marie. Additionally, it has been a cost-effective way for employers to explore new projects or fill short-term staffing needs, not to mention the potential funding resources available to help offset costs.
The Architecture & Design Co-op program at Carleton University provides a valuable opportunity for both students and employers. Through mentorship and development, students are able to gain real-world experience, while employers have the opportunity to identify and nurture potential future employees. It is a win-win situation for both parties and helps to bridge the gap between education and industry – which is essential for the growth and development of the profession.
For more information on how to recruit and hire co-op students from Carleton University Co-operative Education, please feel free to contact us directly. We would be happy to discuss how our program can benefit your organization and connect you with talented and motivated co-op students.