Co-op Student of the Week

Week of June 21, 2021

Student: Leen Elshikh, Grade 12

Placement: Oakville Trafalgar Memorial Hospital

In the Complex Transitional Care (CTC) unit, I shadow a recreational therapist and her assistant. Together we work together on improving the cognitive ability and mental wellbeing of patients. Everyday we create activity booklets on a specific topic that include word searches, word scrambles, and coloring pages, all of which are designed to improve the motor skills as well as the cognitive functioning of patients. In addition to this, we also have group activities with multiple patients that give them a chance to participate in therapy while still gaining the social aspect of being around and conversing with others. These activities include arts and crafts, virtual travels, spiritual discussion, nail and spa day, and bingo.

The most important skills I have learned range from responsibility to patience. Working in a medical environment with exposure to patients and healthcare workers has provided me with vital skills that can be useful in any environment. For example, communication and patience are vital skills I have acquired while working with patients as most of them are not fully functioning cognitively and may suffer from dementia or short-term memory loss. However, these skills are crucial in life when dealing with strangers, co-workers, and peers. Other skills include reading patient charts and files. This is a skill I could not have gained early on if not for this Co-op placement. Therefore, I was able to gain access to useful skills that usually healthcare workers only gain with the start of their career.

My Co-op placement has aided me with my decision for my post-secondary pathway. Working in a field like medicine is extremely tiring. There is a lot of walking and continuous communication with patients and other health care workers. Most of these aspects are not usually highlighted when we think about medicine. Thus, doing my Co-op at the hospital has given me first-hand exposure to an environment I could possibly work in in the future.

Previous Co-Op Students of the Week

Week of June 14, 2021

Student: Hilary Oliver, Grade 11

Placement: Nature's NEAR

I am doing my placement at Nature’s NEAR. Nature’s NEAR is an environmental and outdoor education program run through the Halton District School Board for elementary and secondary students. Their mission is to show that you don’t have to travel far to find nature, and that nature is near. My main tasks and responsibilities have changed recently. During the first part of my placement there was a lot of planning and brainstorming where we came up with the main topic of our presentation which is birds. A little bit further into the placement was when I got into the research and creating portion of the presentation. This is when I along with my co-workers started working on our scripts, project presentation, working on our website and working on our breakout room activities. Now my average day is getting to present everything that we worked on during the first half of the placement. We present to two classes of either grade 4, 5 or 6 students every day.

At this placement I have been given the opportunity to enhance and improve upon a lot of important skills. I have had the opportunity to improve my presentation skills through our daily presentations. I have been able to improve my communication skills through communicating with my supervisor and my co-workers. I have improved my planning and brainstorming skills, as well as learning how long the brainstorming and planning process can be, if you want a super awesome presentation. I have also learned how to make curriculum connections. In this placement we had to relate our presentation to the grade 4, 5 and 6 curriculum which was very challenging at times.

Co-op has definitely helped me to make future pathways decisions. I have pretty much always wanted to be an elementary school teacher and this placement has really shown me that this is definitely the career I want to pursue in the future.

Week of June 7, 2021

Student: Madelyn Middleton, Grade 11

Placement: Burloak Tool & Die Ltd.

I am doing my placement in person at Burloak Tool & Die. Burloak Tool & Die is a manufacturing company with many diverse departments. Not only do they produce quality parts, they also machine their own dies. Dies are the specialized machine tools used in presses to cut or form metal, some are even used to stamp parts. My main task at my placement is assisting my coworkers on multi-step presses. When I get to work in the morning, I go to see the floor supervisor and he shows me the job I’ll be doing during my shift that day. Once there, he introduces me to the person I’ll be working with as well as shows me step by step how to do the task properly.

I have learned how important communication is. Because I work with other people on various presses, it is important for me to understand the task given to me. This can be somewhat difficult in a place like the press shop as the machines are very loud and we have to wear ear protection so that we don’t damage our hearing. As a work around for this issue, the workers have signals that mean certain things. One that they use when they want you to keep running the press while they do a quality check or fill out tags or paperwork is spinning their finger in the air. Learning about some of these signals has really helped me to understand the tasks better and is a way that makes it easier to communicate with my coworkers.

Co-op has helped me with my decision about post secondary options. Because I’ve been able to have this experience at my placement, it has given me a more well rounded idea of how engineering has many layers. I have seen how the parts are made which ultimately will help with understanding the designing process as well.

Week of May 31, 2021

Student: Caelan MacPhee, Grade 12

Placement: Trillium Health Partners

Throughout my limited time with Trillium Health Partners, I have engaged and interacted with several healthcare professionals who work at one of the three hospital sites associated with THP. I’ve been given the opportunity to explore many different careers within healthcare

through our career speaker series, who enlighten me about their role in the hospital, as well as the challenges and rewards that come with it. It is my role to actively participate in these conversations through formulating questions, and completing feedback surveys for the presenters. I’ve also engaged in reflective practice - something that is very relevant to

healthcare - in writing reflections that summarize my learning and takeaways from the day’s 2-3 career presentations. In addition, as my time is coming to an end at this placement, I will be giving two presentations to my peers, teachers and supervisor. I worked collaboratively with two of my peers to create an educational and detailed presentation on Canada’s approved COVID-19 vaccines, and worked independently and creatively to build a vision board that

targets goals for my future.

My reflective and communication skills have greatly improved with this placement. Whether through writing formal reflections, or conducting myself in a professional manner through email or interacting with healthcare workers, it has built my confidence in my writing. Reflecting on patient care is an exercise that was emphasized from students in our medical school panel, therefore I am starting to build these important critical thinking skills at a young age that I will continue to develop as I enter the healthcare system.

Before this placement, I had a very limited view on careers available in healthcare. However, this opportunity introduced me to many new roles such as a medical ethicist, wellness specialist, and physician’s assistant - people that are necessary in the hospital to provide quality patient care. I feel confident and comforted in knowing that these speakers have similar if not the same qualities and traits, passion for science and devotion to service that I possess. As I enter an undergraduate program in Health Sciences in the fall, I know I have many doors open to me for my future in healthcare.

Week of May 24, 2021

Student: Sydney Smith, Grade 11

Placement: Canadian Gap Year Association

I am doing a virtual placement at Canadian Gap Year Association (CanGap), a non-profit organization that supports families considering a gap year to have all of the resources they need to make it a purposeful one. The organization is changing its website platform and I have been involved in migrating the information from the current site to the new platform. Migration provides an opportunity to evaluate how the information could be better organized, laid out and represented to increase the impact that CanGap can have on families. The website’s audience is primarily parents of grade 11, 12 and PSE students who typically do the research and then pass along the website to their kids. CanGap’s goal is to market the website to the target audience and make sure that it provides enough information to help parents feel confident in CanGap.

The phases of this project include: Phase One: Researching CanGap’s existing website and Google Analytics. Phase Two: Create a new “wireframe” or plan for where all of the information should lie/be organized so that it creates the best flow for users. Phase Three: Learn Wix and Kartra platform basics Phase Four: Migrate the content, update and change marketing to fit target market needs. Phase Five: User Testing - get feedback on the site and ensure that all links are functioning.

The most important skills I have learned include identifying different demographics and target markets, market research, website graphic design, time management, responsibility, planning and organization, understanding how marketing affects consumer choice and gaining experience with Kartra, Google Analytics and Google Forms.

I learned that college and university are not the only post secondary pathway options right out of high school. Many students feel overwhelmed and undereducated in what post secondary offers and they can't figure out if school is the right step to take right away. I learned that there are A LOT of steps and skills that go into making a website. Going into this project I didn't think it would take much time and I thought I might need another project. Now in the process of designing and planning, I have realized just how much is involved.

Week of May 24, 2021

Student: Mohammad Jabsheh, Grade 11

Placement: Imperial Lifestyle Management

During my placement at Imperial Lifestyle Management, I have learned a great deal about the company, their goals, and their vision. The company specializes in managing the financial life of their clients who are mainly physicians. My main responsibilities include organizing client transactions, tracking their spending and gathering this information in order to build a plan to manage their money more efficiently. Adding to that, Imperial also focuses on helping their clients save money for a future goal, either retirement or a big purchase in the near future. I have spent a lot of time in the accounting department working with my colleagues to gather monthly statements from the client’s accounts, categorizing their transactions and building a plan that suits them best.

The most important skills that I have learned are time management and communication. In the accounting and finance industry, time and communication are considered to be very essential factors. During my time at Imperial, I always need to organize my tasks for the day before starting. Analyzing each client’s statements, taking notes, and reporting to the clients must be done in a timely manner in order to make sure the client is on the right track. Communication is also very important since communicating with clients to provide them with relevant information is done on a regular basis.

Co-op has given me the chance to get hands-on experience in the career that I am looking for in the future. It has also allowed me to experience work/life balance to some degree by giving me an idea of how things are going to be when I enter the workforce. Overall, this Co-op experience has given me the chance to test out a career and to help me make better informed post secondary and career pathways decisions.