5 Better Together: Supporting First Year Co-op Students through a Collaborative & Engaging Approach


Jasmine Bassi & Sheila Ashwell, University of British Columbia

Creating a comprehensive training program for new co-op students can make all the difference in how they feel about their co-op experience and their readiness for their co-op journey. In 2015, the UBC Arts Co-op Program created and implemented an advising strategy and policy, which is a framework to provide students with the skills and confidence they need to approach their job search and first co-op work term. Within one year, the program saw a 30% increase in the number of students that found a work term. But we couldn’t do this alone! Our student association, senior students, alumni and employers play a big role in working alongside us to facilitate the learning that takes place in their first year. They play a large role at our pre-employment training conferences (a three part series), which includes everything from reviewing student applications in group format, participating in networking sessions and panels, and providing feedback to students during group practice interview sessions.


Jasmine Bassi, University of British Columbia

Jasmine’s role in the office is to support current co-op students through advising, liaise with employers looking to hire co-op students, plan conferences and professional development sessions, conduct site visits with employers and students on work terms, and support the Arts Co-op Students’ Association. In her last position, Jasmine worked as a First Year Experience Coordinator at UBC’s Centre for Student Involvement and Careers. Her role was to coordinate the University’s orientation program, Imagine, for over 7,000 students. She has experience in managing and developing student teams, training thousands of leaders, planning events, and leading committees across campus. Jasmine is a big supporter of co-operative education, having completed three work terms with the Arts Co-op Program, including two with the Arts Co-op office. She was highly involved with the Arts Co-op Students’ Association as an undergrad, along with various leadership positions across campus. Undergraduate Degree: B.A., Political Science and Sociology (UBC) | Masters in Higher Education

Sheila Ashwell, University of British Columbia
As the Associate Director, Sheila oversees the Undergraduate Arts Co-op program, including the direction and development of the prospective co-op student recruitment process, and pre- employment training/advising services offered to students. Sheila has been working in the career education and employment services field for over 2 decades. Starting with youth in the Vancouver School Board, she moved on to recruitment services, employment coaching, and workshop delivery with the Centre for Student Involvement and Careers at UBC, and has spent the last 15 years actively involved in the growth and development of UBC’s Arts Co-op Program.
An alumna of UBC’s Psychology Program, along with a M.Ed. in Counselling Psychology, Sheila understands the value of an Arts degree, and is passionate about helping students see how they can apply their Arts degree in the workforce.


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