Agents of Discovery, a Kelowna based education technology platform, has been a Co-op employer and community partner for the Interdisciplinary Co-op Education program since 2019, hiring 9 students over the past 2 years, studying across multiple disciplines – Management, Science, Arts, and Human Kinetics. With students gaining diverse experience through their work on writing projects, web development, graphic design and business development, the integration of students within this dynamic and growing organization has resulted in positive support for Agents of Discovery and transformative learning experiences for the students.
Below, Agents of Discovery shares how they have incorporated Co-op work integrated learning into their recruitment practices.
Please tell us a bit about Agents of Discovery.
Agents of Discovery is an educational mobile gaming platform that uses augmented reality to get youth active. We empower educators in all sectors to turn the whole world into an engaging, fun, and safe learning environment. Educators use our online platform, the Mission Maker, to design their own games. These games (Missions) are then published to the Agents of Discovery app and available from the App and Play stores. Missions are free to play and, once downloaded, do not require WiFi or a data connection.
What are some of the valuable ways co-op students have made an impact in your organization?
It would be tough to nail down just one or two! One of the notable ways that co-op students have helped us is through enhancing our social media, website, and graphic design work. Many students are doing pretty sophisticated stuff on their own time, and can parlay those skills into helping advance our educational mandate. They have also played several key enabling roles – helping management and senior technical staff operate more effectively. It is great to see how quickly these students can meaningfully contribute to the workplace.
“Co-op introduced me to new opportunities beyond my classroom learning experiences. As a Human Kinetics student, my Co-op work term at AoD gave me the opportunity to step out of my domain and gain hands on experience in sales, marketing, and business administration. I have learned and gained valuable professional skills that sets a foundation for my future working career.” – Meagan Shea
What are some examples of projects co-op students have worked on in the past?
Co-op students have done everything from writing projects to web development to graphic design to business development tasks. There really are not many aspects of the company they have not touched on. Sometimes they have brought a real creative filter. One co-op student, for instance, has helped produce a large range of engaging promotional videos involving several of our partners. Co-op students can also help with things that go a long way towards making sure the organization runs smoothly, for instance, another co-op student helped coordinate our presence at a US virtual conference, while managing some of the potential stakeholder outreach work associated with that event.
What first led Agents of Discovery to consider partnering with UBC Okanagan Interdisciplinary Co-op? What keeps you returning to the Co-op program for ongoing recruitment?
We were first approached by a member of the UBC Okanagan Co-op program back in the Winter 2019 term. We decided that it would be interesting to see how the program worked, and really have not looked back since then.
There are lots of reasons we keep returning. First and foremost, the calibre of the students is high. We have found our hires to be hard working, diligent, and capable. Second, we like the check-ins with Co-op program staff, as they tend to keep everyone on the same page and working towards clear goals. Related to that is the Co-op office – they are a great group to work with, and are always friendly and support of our recruitment processes. Finally, the wage subsidies are a big help.
You’ve consistently hired a diverse talent pool featuring students from multiple degree programs as well as students from international backgrounds. How has this diversity complemented the team and contributed to the ongoing development of your organization?
Diversity in the workplace and in particular, the leadership of women, are integral values at Agents of Discovery. As just one example of the many honours AoD has received, the CEO and Founder Mary Clark was recognized as 1 of 50 female leaders in STEM (through receiving the Inspiring Fifty Canada Award). Moreover, 40% or more of AoD’s workforce has historically consisted of females – comparatively with only 19% females in entry-level roles and 16% females in senior roles for the technology industry as a whole. This figure is a reflection of the team’s collective effort towards supporting females in the technology sector. The diversity of students in the Co-op Program has continued to enrich our workplace diversity and is a reliable source for us to continue to tap into up-and-coming student talent from diverse experiences and educational backgrounds.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
We are a big fan of the Co-op education program!
If you are a prospective student, community partner, or alumni and want to learn more about getting involved in the Co-op program, please do not hesitate to reach out to the Co-op Program Office at firstname.lastname@example.org. More information for community partners can be found here coop.ok.ubc.ca/partners.