Okanagan College launches new accessibility initiative

Students face co-op barriers

Okanagan College has launched an accessibility initiative and survey to provide extra support for students who face barriers obtaining work.

The new co-op initiative, run by members of the Student Services team, received funding from the B.C. Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills and Training to give students the chance to gain job experience in the workplace.

Organizers sent out a survey to all eligible students to better understand students' ideas, thoughts and experiences around barriers to co-op.

The survey closes Friday, July 24, and responses will be kept anonymous. Okanagan College employee Leslie Munro will be managing the data in order to identify tools, resources and student needs. 

“In relation to students with accessibility needs, although there can be many exceptions, overall the research shows that working-age adults with disabilities face many barriers in the Canadian labour market,” says Munro.

“Co-op provides the opportunity for students to understand and solve problems, navigate barriers and learn about available supports in the workplace while in a protected environment.”

She's hoping students will respond positively to the survey completion request, so her team can gain as much insight as possible into how best to support students.

“It’s important for students to participate because we want those who will be affected by any enhancements to inform us on the changes they actually need and want.

“No one organization can do everything and there are a lot of community organizations doing a lot of great work in different areas, such as supporting those with mental health concerns, learning disabilities, chronic health concerns just to name a few.”

The program started in January 2020 and will conclude by the end of March 2021. For more information on co-op opportunities through Okanagan College, visit the webpage

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