1. the_sleuth's Avatar
    Co-op students ponder uncertain future at RIM

    WATERLOO Research In Motion has a tradition of keeping its co-op students, but soon-to-be graduates like Ali Farooq are worried theyre entering the company when its not in a position to offer full-time jobs.

    The Waterloo-based company announced Monday it would cut its global workforce by 2,000, or 11 per cent. That has co-op students, who fill RIMs offices by the hundreds each semester, wondering whether they have a future with the BlackBerry maker.

    Farooq, a fourth-year University of Waterloo student, will graduate from software engineering next spring. His fall co-op term is his last and, traditionally, the time when most engineering students find a permanent position.

    Because my family is here and I do want to live in Waterloo, if they do offer me a full-time position, I wouldnt hesitate to accept, said Farooq, who worked for RIM last semester as a software application developer. Hell return this fall as part of the software development team.

    From the stuff Ive been hearing, it doesnt look like theyre going to offer full-time positions to all their co-ops this time, he said.

    The recruiter who interviewed him for his co-op job dangled post-grad employment opportunities, but Farooq said that may have changed even in the few short weeks since his interview.

    He has friends on co-op terms at RIM who say their teams arent keeping anyone on, and he said hes noticed the companys co-op postings decrease by about five to 10 per cent during the past few years.

    A couple of guys in our class are going to RIM next term for the first time, said Mahmoud Adada, another fourth-year software engineer. The reason they took the job is because its their last term and they were hoping to be kept on.

    Theyre all worried about it now that they chose RIM, said Adada, who worked on a team developing for the PlayBook in his winter co-op team.

    I would have gone back, but Im actually doing a co-op term in Romania, which was something Im really interested in, he said. The group I was in was really good I had a friend working (on another team), and he didnt enjoy himself at all.

    Farooq also enjoyed his time with the company and dismisses concerns that have been raised about a poor work environment.

    If they want you to work on something, they want quick results, he said. Some people might think everything is done in a haphazard manner, but it really depends on what team youre working with.

    RIM still accepts 300 to 400 co-op students every four months, according to its website. But that appears to be down from 1,500 in 2008, just when the iPhone started to eat away at the BlackBerrys market share.

    Neither the University of Waterloo nor RIM would confirm exactly how many of those students come from the company co-founders alma mater, but the university said RIM is still its top co-op employer.

    In our conversations with RIM, theyve indicated to us they do not expect any changes to the co-op program and they are moving ahead on hiring their normal complement of co-op students for the fall, said Ellen Rethore, associate vice-president communications and public affairs at the University of Waterloo.

    If that confidence holds true, future co-op students, hailing from faculties as diverse as rhetoric and systems design engineering, can rejoice. But for the next graduating class of software engineers, the companys future is not quite so rose-tinted.

    I was also planning on applying to RIM when I graduated, said Adada, adding that his former manager had suggested he do so.

    But Im not sure whats going to happen anymore.

    acsanady@therecord.com

    TheSpec - Co-op students ponder uncertain future at RIM
    07-27-11 07:23 PM
  2. phonejunky's Avatar
    Well the inevitable is happening, let's all just hope for the families who rely on RIMS factories dont suffer from the companies downsizing (although we know it will happen). Fanboys and girls make excuses for this business but it is clearly evident they are suffering for hiring and entering a market they have not been successful in, in recent years (consumer market). Hopefully (as you see I keep saying hopefully cause I find it unlikely) that this new line RIM is releasing helps them greatly, if not more people will surely be laid off and co-op jobs will disappear.
    07-27-11 11:22 PM
  3. Zizzzzy's Avatar
    While I wont say this is a negative pushing type of article my first reaction is "oh please!"

    Now don't get me wrong, Co-op is a great tool for the next generation work force to get experience and helps many solidify confidence that they are working towards the correct field for them but there is never an obligation to give full time employment. Regardless of RIMs recent en-devours, they never could have sustained giving employment to every co-op that passed their way.

    While they were rapidly growing, employing individuals you have trained and had time to evaluate is definitely safer and more advantageous than external applicants in many cases.

    Now that RIM is facing tough times its only logical they wont be doing any mass hiring and will likely be more focused on acquiring more experienced talent groups (TaT).

    While this article is only trying to give another view of how RIM is so closely tied to education and economy of the area, its going to be easily spun to look like a negative on RIM for cutting back Coop opportunities in education.
    07-27-11 11:43 PM
  4. phonejunky's Avatar
    Because it is a negative there is no spinning that needs to be done. The actions speak for themselves. You even said it they're going through tough times and have to now be picky about who they hire. What needs to be spun to make that look bad?
    07-28-11 12:11 AM
  5. 01itr's Avatar
    Just to put this "earth-shattering" layoff into perspective for everyone. RIM had ~17,000 employees in February 2011. They had ~19,000 at the time of layoffs. So now RIM is back to the number of employees they had in February... Hardly the "end-of-the-world" scenario the media seems to be spinning.
    lunatyck and Spawn12 like this.
    07-28-11 07:56 AM
  6. Zizzzzy's Avatar
    Because it is a negative there is no spinning that needs to be done. The actions speak for themselves. You even said it they're going through tough times and have to now be picky about who they hire. What needs to be spun to make that look bad?
    You kind of missed my point, which was not so much that this isn't "not bad news" but how the media spins stories in a negative and provocative context to generate better exposure through controversy.
    01itr likes this.
    07-28-11 08:00 AM
  7. Zizzzzy's Avatar
    Just to put this "earth-shattering" layoff into perspective for everyone. RIM had ~17,000 employees in February 2011. They had ~19,000 at the time of layoffs. So now RIM is back to the number of employees they had in February... Hardly the "end-of-the-world" scenario the media seems to be spinning.
    Right. The recent layoffs (while related to the same cause) are not connected with less coop opportunities and less careers being given to those lucky enough to land a position at RIM for a term. Any company that is no longer expanding would have to stop being so generous with new positions, especially ones giving opportunities to the young work force.

    I guess its just the timing of this article in relation to the layoffs which makes it seem so borderline for me. Over all it really is not a negative article but many will read it as "yet another sign RIM is dieing"
    01itr likes this.
    07-28-11 08:09 AM
  8. brucep1's Avatar
    You kind of missed my point, which was not so much that this isn't "not bad news" but how the media spins stories in a negative and provocative context to generate better exposure through controversy.

    You just realize this now?
    01itr likes this.
    07-28-11 08:11 AM
  9. Zizzzzy's Avatar
    You just realize this now?
    Lol no not really, did I imply at all that this is a new revelation for me?
    07-28-11 08:16 AM
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