Collaboration and connection make for a meaningful co-op experience
Meet Simran and Sarah
As co-op students on the Return-to-Work Services (RTWS) team, Simran and Sarah helped workers, employers, and health care providers develop and implement safe return-to-work plans for injured workers.
During their co-op term, Simran was a third-year student at Simon Fraser University, pursuing her Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology, while Sarah was working on her Bachelor of Disability Management at the Pacific Coast University for Workplace Health Sciences. In their roles, as co-op students, they were able to apply what they learned in school and acquire new skills and knowledge through their day-to-day work, collaborating and connecting with co-workers and stakeholders.
Maintaining a connection between the injured worker and their employer will help the worker in their recovery. When a worker feels that they’re still part of their workplace, it’s easier to talk about what the worker is able to do, and when — the RTWS team works to ensure injured workers are able to actively participate in their recovery and return to work. “I helped workers while a decision on their claim was pending. I was able to connect with people and helped them get the ball rolling by applying my knowledge of kinesiology and occupational health and safety,” said Simran. “Each day, I knew I was making a difference when I spoke with workers and proactively supported them through their claims journey.”
Sarah was motivated to apply for a co-op position at WorkSafeBC because of her previous experience at WorkSafeBC as a client services representative for a summer term. She found that role very rewarding: “When you speak with an injured worker, you can just hear that relief in their voice when you help them through their claim. It was an inspiring experience and actually changed the course of my career.” In fact, after her co-op term Sarah transitioned into a service coordinator role to continue her career at WorkSafeBC.
Collaboration and job-shadowing opportunities
Sarah and Simran appreciated the welcoming environment in the RTWS team, with co-workers and managers who were happy to share their expertise and involve Sarah and Simran in learning and problem solving. "It was a very collaborative team environment. If you had any questions or encountered situations where you needed assistance, you could reach out to anyone, and they were willing to work with you to solve problems as a team," said Sarah. "We also had the opportunity to shadow many other professionals and join calls with them to listen in on case conferences, which was an incredible learning experience."
Connections in a hybrid work environment
This was Simran's first experience working in a hybrid position, and she was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was to connect with her co-workers. "I loved how convenient it was in the virtual world. We had team members across B.C., and it was great that everyone was easily reachable on Microsoft Teams. You never felt alone, and there was so much flexibility working from home."
"At first, I wasn't sure what to expect, but I met so many more people from other departments than I did during the in-person orientation I attended years ago for my summer job. Using Teams, we always had a few chats going on, and there were people to ask questions if you got stuck or needed feedback," agrees Sarah.
Recognition and appreciation from peers
Another highlight was feeling that their contributions were recognized and appreciated. "It meant a lot to be appreciated by my peers. As someone who is younger and less experienced, it truly made me feel valued when an adjudicator or case manager reached out and complimented my return-to-work plan or appreciated my work. Feeling acknowledged and appreciated is a big deal when you're learning and new to the role," said Simran.
“I highly recommend co-op students apply to WorkSafeBC in an area that aligns with their interests. There is something for everyone here, and this work environment is truly unique and special. The support I received enabled me to grow and build my confidence in decision making," concludes Sarah.