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Supporting Co-op students for over 16 years

December 22, 2008

Barbara Fetherstonhaugh, owner of Pete's Tent and Awning, and Camosun's Troy DunningCamosun College’s co-op department recently presented View Royal businesswoman Barbara Fetherstonhaugh with a certificate and token of appreciation for her long-term support of the college’s co-operative education program.

Fetherstonhaugh, owner of Pete’s Tent and Awning, started hiring Camosun business co-op students 16 years ago. Pete’s Tent and Awning, which was established by Fetherstonhaugh’s parents in 1967, manufactures custom awnings, boat covers and other canvas products, welds their own frames, and also offers repair work.  The demand for the services of Pete’s Tent and Awning is a balance of residential and commercial work that varies with the economy.

Why hire co-op?

Hiring co-op students has many benefits for both employer and students. As Pete’s Tent and Awning is a seasonal business with 75% of the work being done over the four summer months, Fetherstonhaugh appreciates having the ability to hire capable short term help for that extremely busy time. Camosun's co-op department takes care of advertising the position, accepting applications and arranging for interviews for candidates, thereby freeing up valuable time for Fetherstonhaugh to carry on with the demands of her business.

“Co-op students are tireless – they are expecting to work hard and to learn, and they bring great energy and a positive outlook to the business.  The learning curve is shorter,” says Fetherstonhaugh. 

Students benefit

Co-op students get the opportunity to learn extensively in a small business with a variety of work, which helps prepare them for future positions in all kinds of businesses.  Fetherstonhaugh typically hires accounting students who often go on to receive an accounting designation. “Co-op students offer great opportunity to the business, as they bring current knowledge and business practices along with proficiency in the latest software, says Fetherstonhaugh. She finds the co-op students well-prepared with a good base knowledge of the skills required in business. She frequently witnesses how the “light goes on” for students when they are practically applying the knowledge learned in the classroom.

Courtney Linge was in the first year of her business program when she completed a co-op work term at Pete’s Tent and Awning. Although Linge had a good understanding of the content in the classroom, she found it challenging to apply her knowledge in the real world.  Linge credits Fetherstonhaugh for clarifying all the accounting aspects of the job for her and helping her to develop a huge variety of accounting skills. “Barb is a wonderful boss! I could never say enough good things about her. She knows her business and really cares about all her staff,” says Linge.

Alyssa Chan, currently in the final year of her Bachelor of Business Administration, says that she is very grateful to have completed her first co-op work term at Pete’s Tent and Awning.  “Barb is a great employer, always cheerful, very open and helpful. I learned a ton of basic skills that are all extremely useful. I use my bookkeeping skills every day I work, so it was definitely a very worthwhile co-op work term,” says Chan.

Looking for a great co-op hire?

For more information about how your business can benefit from co-operative education visit us online.

Last updated: January 2, 2009 12:29 pm

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