I did my first co-op at Angiotech Pharmaceuticals as an Analytical Chemist. My second co-op was at a joint venture between Ford and Daimler called Automotive Fuel Cell Cooperation (AFCC) where I did Catalyst Research for hydrogen fuel cells. That co-op job directly led to me work for AFCC for 10 years. Currently I am still in the fuel cell space and am the Commercial and Manufacturing Manager at Illuming Power Inc, a fuel cell start-up in Vancouver.
Co-op was integral to my career. My first job at Angiotech Pharmaceuticals made me realize analytical chemistry wasn’t a good fit for me. My second co-op job led directly to my 15+ year career in fuel cells.
Co-op provides much needed practical experience in the workplace, which will give co-op students an advantage over people with equivalent credentials, but no experience. It can teach you as much about what you don’t like as it can about what you do and can help you make decisions on your path forward. Take a risk in the jobs you apply for, you may be surprised at the things that come of it.