Work Learn Program

Build skills and grow your professional network, right here on campus.

Overview and purpose

The Work Learn Program supports and subsidizes meaningful work experiences on campus that offer current UBC students the opportunity to develop your professional skills and learn in a work environment. From these experiences, you will gain  mentorship opportunities, an expanded network, ownership and responsibility of work, self-awareness and reflection, as well as a chance to apply your knowledge in practical settings while progressing with personal learning goals.

What is a Work Learn position?

There are many different kinds of Work Learn positions.  Examples include Aboriginal Admissions Research Assistant, Project Assistant to the Division of Inner City Medicine, Oral Microbiology Project Assistant, Arena Operations Staff, Informal Learning Space Steward, Shelving and Circulation Assistant, UBC Farm Marketing and Education Assistant, and many others. You can expect Work Learn positions to provide you with an opportunity to work in a professional environment while achieving your own learning goals, building a professional network and supporting  your development of professional skills.

What makes a student eligible?

All current UBC-Vancouver students are eligible. For the purposes of this program current UBC students are defined as students who are currently registered in credit courses at UBC-Vancouver and have a valid UBC student number. A student must be registered in courses in the term(s) they hold a Work Learn position. All students (domestic and international) must have a valid Social Insurance Number (SIN) before they can be paid by UBC. 

Please note: Students are only eligible to hold one Work Learn position at a time.

Domestic students

Undergraduate students

Summer Term (May - Aug)

Registered in courses in the previous term (Winter Term 2) OR registered in summer courses (in either Summer Term 1 or 2)

Winter Term (Sep - Apr)

Registered in courses in both Winter Terms 1 & 2 to be eligible to hold a Work Learn for the full duration of the winter session.

Additional conditions:

Students are only eligible to hold one Work Learn position at a time. Students are not eligible for Work Learn positions when research is based on their own thesis work. Students are not eligible to hold a Work Learn position in the same term they are holding a co-op position, NSERC Undergraduate Student Research Award (USRA), or Canada Summer Job.

Graduate students (Masters or PhD)

Summer Term (May - Aug)

Either registered in courses or registration continuing and paying tuition fees. Graduate students on a leave of absence are eligible to hold a Work Learn position.

Winter Term (Sep - Apr)

Either registered in courses or registration continuing and paying tuition fees. Graduate students on a leave of absence are eligible to hold a Work Learn position.

Additional conditions:

Students are only eligible to hold one Work Learn position at a time. Students are not eligible for Work Learn positions when research is based on their own thesis work. Students are not eligible to hold a Work Learn position in the same term they are holding a co-op position, NSERC Undergraduate Student Research Award (USRA), or Canada Summer Job.

Students in professional or diploma programs

Summer Term (May - Aug)

Registered in summer courses (in either Summer Term 1 or 2)

Winter Term (Sep - Apr)

Registered in courses in the term(s) they hold a Work Learn position

Additional conditions:

Students are only eligible to hold one Work Learn position at a time. Students are not eligible for Work Learn positions when research is based on their own thesis work. Students are not eligible to hold a Work Learn position in the same term they are holding a co-op position, NSERC Undergraduate Student Research Award (USRA), or Canada Summer Job.

Unclassified students

Summer Term (May - Aug)

Registered in summer courses (in either Summer Term 1 or 2)

Winter Term (Sep - Apr)

Registered in courses in the term(s) they hold a Work Learn position

Additional conditions:

Students are only eligible to hold one Work Learn position at a time. Students are not eligible for Work Learn positions when research is based on their own thesis work. Students are not eligible to hold a Work Learn position in the same term they are holding a co-op position, NSERC Undergraduate Student Research Award (USRA), or Canada Summer Job.

Visiting students

Summer Term (May - Aug)

Registered in summer courses (in either Summer Term 1 or 2)

Winter Term (Sep - Apr)

Registered in courses in the term(s) they hold a Work Learn position

Additional conditions:

Students are only eligible to hold one Work Learn position at a time. Students are not eligible for Work Learn positions when research is based on their own thesis work. Students are not eligible to hold a Work Learn position in the same term they are holding a co-op position, NSERC Undergraduate Student Research Award (USRA), or Canada Summer Job.

Graduating Undergraduate and Graduate Students

Eligible only for the academic term directly following the completion of your courses (regardless of your graduation date).

Students who finish their courses in the summer term (August) and graduate in the fall (November) will be eligible to hold a Work Learn in Winter Term 1 only.

Students who finish their courses in Winter Term 1 (December) and graduate in the spring (May) will be eligible to hold a Work Learn in Winter Term 1 and Winter Term 2 only.

Students who finish their courses in Winter Term 2 (April) and graduate in the spring (May) will be eligible to hold a Work Learn in the Summer term only.

Additional conditions:

Students are only eligible to hold one Work Learn position at a time. Students are not eligible for Work Learn positions when research is based on their own thesis work. Students are not eligible to hold a Work Learn position in the same term they are holding a co-op position, NSERC Undergraduate Student Research Award (USRA), or Canada Summer Job.

International students

Undergraduate students

Summer Term (May - Aug)

You must: 

  1. Have a valid study permit, and
  2. Be on a "scheduled break", or
  3. Be "full time for immigration purposes". 

You must also have a valid Social Insurance Number (SIN), which in some cases can take weeks to obtain.

Winter Term (Sep - Apr)

You must:

  1. Have a valid study permit, and
  2. Be "full time for immigration purposes". 

You must also have a valid Social Insurance Number (SIN), which in some cases can take weeks to obtain.

Additional conditions:

Students are only eligible to hold one Work Learn position at a time. Students are not eligible for Work Learn positions when research is based on their own thesis work. Students are not eligible to hold a Work Learn position in the same term they are holding a co-op position, NSERC Undergraduate Student Research Award (USRA), Work Learn International Undergraduate Research Award (WLIURA), or Canada Summer Job.

If you are graduating, please see the "Graduating Undergraduate and Graduate Students" section below for additional conditions.

Graduate students (Masters or PhD)

You must: 

  1. Have a valid study permit, and be "full time for immigration purposes". You must also have a valid Social Insurance Number (SIN), which in some cases can take weeks to obtain

Additional conditions:

Students are only eligible to hold one Work Learn position at a time. Students are not eligible for Work Learn positions when research is based on their own thesis work. Students are not eligible to hold a Work Learn position in the same term they are holding a co-op position, NSERC Undergraduate Student Research Award (USRA), or Canada Summer Job.

If you are graduating, please see the "Graduating Undergraduate and Graduate Students" section below for additional conditions.

Exchange or visiting students

You must have a valid study permit and be a full-time student in the term(s) you hold a Work Learn position. See UBC's definition of "full time for immigration purposes" to learn more.

You must also have a valid Social Insurance Number (SIN), which in some cases can take weeks to obtain.

Additional conditions:

Students are only eligible to hold one Work Learn position at a time. Students are not eligible for Work Learn positions when research is based on their own thesis work. Students are not eligible to hold a Work Learn position in the same term they are holding a co-op position, NSERC Undergraduate Student Research Award (USRA), Work Learn International Undergraduate Research Award (WLIURA), or Canada Summer Job.

Graduating Undergraduate and Graduate Students

You are eligible to work only for the academic term directly following the completion of your courses (regardless of your graduation date):

  • If you who finish your courses in the summer term (August) and graduate in the fall (November), you are eligible to hold a Work Learn in Winter Term 1 only.
  • If you finish your courses in Winter Term 1 (December) and graduate in the spring (May), you are eligible to hold a Work Learn in Winter Term 1 and Winter Term 2 only.
  • If you finish your courses in Winter Term 2 (April) and graduate in the spring (May), you are eligible to hold a Work Learn in the Summer term only.

Additional Requirements:

  • If you completed program requirements and your program completion letter is not yet available, you are considered by UBC to be “full time for immigration purposes” and are still eligible to work unlimited hours on campus.
  • If your letter of completion is available, you must meet one of the following scenarios:
    1. Have a valid study permit and have applied for a  work permit (such as a post-graduation work permit, or PGWP) within 90 days after completing your program at UBC.
    2. Have an official letter of acceptance into a new academic program and have a valid study permit or applied to extend your study permit when the old study permit was still valid. 
    3. Have some other form of authorization to work in Canada. 

Important: If you have questions about your eligibility, please speak with an International Student Advisor

Students are only eligible to hold one Work Learn position at a time. Students are not eligible for Work Learn positions when research is based on their own thesis work. Students are not eligible to hold a Work Learn position in the same term they are holding a co-op position, NSERC Undergraduate Student Research Award (USRA), Work Learn International Undergraduate Research Award (WLIURA), or Canada Summer Job.

What makes an employer eligible?

Employers within the Work Learn Program are faculty, staff, and affiliates with UBC-Vancouver Payroll accounts with which to pay the student(s). Employers pay your full hourly wage as you incur hours. 

For more information on the employer side of the Work Learn Program, please see our Faculty & Staff Work Learn page.

Work Learn FAQ

How much do these positions pay?

Work Learn positions are part-time and must fit within the rates as outlined in the Position Classification Guide. When employers submit their proposal for the program, they choose a wage from the Position Classification Guide that matches the level and type of work outlined in their proposal.

Winter 2019 Position Classification Guide

What are the maximum number of hours I can work?

There are two sessions of the Work Learn program:

  • Summer session runs from May 1 to August 31; you can work a maximum of 20 hrs/week and 300 hrs total (note that Office/Library Worker positions are limited to 10 hrs/week and a maximum of 180 hrs for the session - see the Position Classification Guide above for more details)
  • Winter session runs from September 1 to April 30; you can work a maximum of 10 hrs/week and 300 hrs total

Keep in mind that the weekly and total hours are maximums - not all positions will offer the maximum number of hours. Employers request how many hours they anticipate they will need for each position in their proposal to the program (and are approved for a certain amount), and this number can vary greatly; be sure to inquire how many hours the employer actually needs you to work when you are interviewing for a position so that you can budget your time and finances accordingly. Please ensure the hours reported on your timesheets are accurate and reflect the hours worked for that particular period.

How can I apply for Work Learn jobs?

All jobs within the Work Learn Program are posted on CareersOnline; you will be applying directly to the employer through whichever means they have indicated in the posting (most positions can be applied for directly through CareersOnline).

How can I create my own Work Learn job?

You can create your own Work Learn job by connecting with eligible faculty or staff members and asking them if they might be willing to hire you. Make sure you have a good idea of what you are looking for in a position and try to match it up to a need that you see that a potential supervisor might be willing to hire you to fill. Also, be sure that you know and understand the parameters of the Work Learn program, in particular from the supervisor's perspective, so that you can give this information to your potential supervisor. You and the supervisor would still need to meet all program requirements and meet the same deadlines as other program participants, and the supervisor would need to submit a proposal for funding within the program (note that the proposal timelines for supervisors are very different than the job application timelines for students). This can be a great option for students who can see opportunitities for work in areas of campus that may not have considered hiring a Work Learn student in the past.

A safe and respectful working environment at UBC

The best work environment is one where civility, diversity, opportunity, and inclusion are valued. Learn about how UBC provides a safe and respectful environment for faculty, staff, and student employees:

Resources for Students

Online Courses:

Land the Perfect Job with LinkedIn

Did you know that 93% of recruiters look through social media profiles of candidates before hiring? Work Learn is offering free registration to all students in Work Learn for an online course about to how to maximize LinkedIn profiles called ‘Land the Perfect Job with LinkedIn. This course is created by former LinkedIn employees and  covers how employers search for candidates, as well as how to do research on companies and professional networks, which will be especially helpful to any student staff who are graduating soon.

Enroll in this LinkedIn Masterclass offered FREE to all UBC Work Learn students. Register here

Other Resources:

 1. Have a specific resume and cover letter for each job you apply to. Generic cover letters rarely get looked at, so find particular jobs you are interested in and make sure to mention why you are interested in that particular job, as well as the skills and experience that would help you be successful in that position. Click here for more resume/cover letter tips.

2. Ensure you have a valid study permit and a SIN number. A social insurance number (SIN) is necessary for working in Canada. Visit the Government of Canada website for information on how to obtain a SIN if you do not already have one. If you have any questions about working while you are a student, visit International Student Advising as soon as possible.

3. Prepare for your interview. A little preparation goes a long way in job interviews. Be sure to read the position description carefully and be prepared to speak to why you are interested in the job, as well as what you hope to learn. Anticipating what questions you might be asked will help make you feel more confident for your interview. 

Work Learn student stories

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