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Gaining Real-World Skills: Aaron's Co-op Story at TechPlace

June 25, 2024

Hey TechPlace community! 

My name is Aaron Bareno, and I am currently a Grade 11 student as I write this. I’ve been honoured to work alongside the amazing TechPlace team these past few months as part of my Cooperative Education program at Corpus Christi Catholic Secondary School, through the Business Specialist High Skills Major (SHSM) program. It has been an incredible journey over the past five months, and this co-op placement has been more than just a job to me – it’s been a learning environment unlike any classroom, where I’ve grown both personally and professionally. 

I discovered TechPlace through my co-op teacher, Ms. Jurinic, who believed the position would align with my interests and pursuits. I immediately took an interest, as this role was targeted at students who are interested in business. As I made my way up the elevator for my interview, I didn’t really know what to expect – what was TechPlace like? What were the people like? All these worries melted away, when I saw Izzy (Daniel Kube’s dog) sleeping in the lobby area. Right then and there, I knew that this was the right co-op placement for me. 

TechPlace lives up to their name – it is truly where the best in tech connects. I was surrounded by passionate entrepreneurs, who offered amazing advice to help shape my future career path. My passion for graphic design and event planning was supported by numerous individuals, and the fruits of my work reflected that. In my short time at TechPlace, I designed numerous posters, ordered countless coffee pods, and spent days figuring out how to export hundreds of contacts from one website to an excel spreadsheet (I figured it out, thankfully), among other daily tasks. 

My biggest achievement during my time here at TechPlace? Planning and executing PathFinder, an event aimed at helping high school students with networking tips and career planning advice. Combining the issue of bridging the gap between classrooms and professional work environments with my passion for helping students, PathFinder came to life. On Wednesday, June 5, 2024, teachers, students, and TechPlace members all joined together for an evening of personal and professional development. It was an enriching experience for everyone, and I truly learned the arduous process it takes to plan an event. 

Thank you to both TechPlace and my school’s co-op program for the chance to make meaningful connections with inspiring individuals. The invaluable advice that I have received during my time here is something I will be truly grateful for as I pursue post-secondary education in the future.  

My advice for future co-op students? Two things – one is to take the co-op program, and two is to be curious and ask questions. Don’t be afraid to ask, whether it be clarification or advice. Take advantage of your time here, and just know that the connections you make now will last a lifetime. 

Aaron's headshot

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