Co-op Student of the Year

Connor McCormack was named Okanagan College’s Co-op Student of the Year recently. Standing next to him is Jared Cook.

For fourth-year Okanagan College student Connor McCormack, the past eight months spent at accounting firm MNP have affirmed his career choice in more ways than one. So much so that his time in the downtown Kelowna office earned him Okanagan College’s Co-op Student of the Year award recently.

MNP, known for its accounting and business consulting, took McCormack on as a co-op student earlier this year.

“My co-op experience 100% confirmed that accounting is for me,” he says. “Not only did it solidify the career choices I’m planning to make, but it also gave me valuable insight into the lifestyle and what to expect from the work-life balance and routine.”

McCormack was one of many students and employers celebrated at the End of Summer Social, presented by the Student, Graduate and Co-op Employment Centre. Employer of the Year was awarded to the Regional District of the North Okanagan (RDNO).

Winning the award came as a “bit of a shock,” says Connor.

“It means a lot to me to win this award. It instills a lot of confidence in my abilities that my efforts were recognized.”

Faye Craven, MNP’s human capital co-ordinator, says that “Connor exceeded all expectations with outstanding performance both technically and in soft skills.”

RDNO has employed Okanagan College students for many years and consistently delivers a supportive environment to explore and address environmental issues that relate to their career aspirations.

“We value our partnership with Okanagan College,” says Stephen Banmen, RDNO’s general manager of finance. “We have subsequently hired a number of our co-op students based on their performance, work ethic and quality education, and will continue to do so in the future.”

For students, co-op presents them with a unique opportunity to step outside the classroom and experience work from a relevant perspective. For employers, the gain can be exponential in training young employees, bringing fresh insight to a workplace and potentially hiring students once their term is over.

“We hope this event showed the value of taking part in a co-op, and that the time spent in a work-integrated learning environment is invaluable,” says Alison Beaumont of the college’s Student, Graduate and Co-op Employment office.

“These partnerships enable our students to enhance their education in ways that complement their time in the classroom. It’s a win-win for everyone,” Beaumont said.