Celebrating excellence in experiential education: PEY Co-op turns 40

PEY Reception
Representatives of IBM receive the “Employer of Distinction” award from Tom Coyle, Vice-Dean, Undergraduate (fourth from left) and Roger Francis, Director, Engineering Career Centre (far right) at the inaugural PEY Co-op Recognition Reception. (Photo: Dhuoi Chang)

More than 180 students, professors, alumni and industry partners gathered to celebrate 40 years of excellence in experiential education at the inaugural Professional Experience Year (PEY) Co-op Recognition Reception.

The event, held Feb. 28, 2019 in the Great Hall of University of Toronto’s historic Hart House, honoured those who have been instrumental to the success of the program. Awards were presented in categories including Student of the Year, Employer of the Year and for advancing Equity, Diversity and Inclusion.

PEY Co-op is U of T Engineering’s flagship work-integrated learning program. Students who have completed the third year of their undergraduate degree programs have the opportunity to work at leading companies around the world for up to 16 months.

More than an internship, PEY Co-op is a full-time position with a competitive salary to match. Participants are empowered to apply their engineering competencies to industry challenges while making valuable connections and strengthening their professional development. Many return to complete their degrees with job offers waiting for them after graduation.

Today, the number of companies that partner with U of T Engineering on PEY Co-op has risen to more than 100, ranging from dynamic startups to multinational corporations such as IBM and General Motors. In the most recent cohort, more than 850 engineering students chose to participate, representing 70 per cent of those eligible. The average salary was more than $49,000 and the highest was more than $89,000.

Employer of Distinction Award
Roger Francis, Director, Engineering Career Centre, presents an Employer of Distinction Award to a representative of AMD. (Photo: Dhuoi Chang)

“PEY Co-op is a model for experiential engineering education in the 21st century,” said Cristina Amon, Dean of U of T Engineering. “We have achieved many significant milestones over our first 40 years, and we look forward to evolving the program as we continue to prepare the next generation of engineering leaders to excel.”

“IBM has had a longstanding tradition of investing in talent and skill development in Canada, and we’re very proud of this tradition,” said Jeff Heath, senior software development manager at IBM, which was named an Employer of Distinction at the event. “Congratulations to the PEY Co-op Program on 40 years, and we look forward to the next 40 years and beyond.”

The complete list of awards and award winners is:

Student of the Year

  • Ognjen Kelec (MinE 1T8 + PEY)

Employer of the Year

  • Safran Landing Systems

Mentors of the Year

  • Dominic Bergeron, BA Group
  • Dennis Merino, BiblioCommons

Employers of Distinction

  • AMD
  • IBM

Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Employer Recognition

  • AMD
  • IBM
  • Nuology
  • Procter & Gamble
  • Security Compass
  • The Toronto Transit Commission
  • Ultimate Software Group


Article originally published at U of T Engineering News. By Tyler Irving. March 4, 2019.