In a busy week of events, CEE displays its leadership in developing talent for a complex future

By: Matthew King

The University of Waterloo’s Co-operative and Experiential Education’s (CEE) commitment to strengthening our employer and industry partnerships was front and centre during several events recently.

At the 2nd annual Employer Impact awards, Norah McRae, associate vice-provost, CEE helped recognize and honour co-op employers for their industry excellence and the opportunities they provide to students.  

“Our employers provide quality, work-integrated learning experiences as well as opportunities for growth, training and development to more than 25,000 University of Waterloo students each year” says McRae. “Through our strong employer partnerships, we continue to set the standard for work-integrated learning and ensure our students are successfully prepared to enter the future world of work.” 

Norah smiling on a video call
Remote video URL

That technological future was discussed during another event the same week called Beyond Digital. Accelerate with the skills you need. McRae, along with leaders from Microsoft Canada and RBC, and Vivek Goel, University of Waterloo president, discussed how co-op and work-integrated learning is helping prepare students for digital acceleration. 

“There has been a fundamental awakening in every industry, almost a collective revolt on the status quo of how things were done because of the capabilities embedded with digital acceleration and digital enablement,” said Kevin Peesker, Microsoft Canada president. “At the core of that, a fundamental transition in supply and demand. Demand for skills that are in short supply, and supply for those skills.” 

The demand for those skills and how CEE is innovating, including a focus on work-integrated learning for all students, was also a topic of discussion during the President’s Forum on Wednesday, October 6. 

As part of the panel discussion, McRae outlined how CEE is preparing students by developing more flexible forms of co-op and work-integrated learning opportunities, while also using our own data to better inform programming and understanding employer’s needs.  

 CEE is using this data to help students develop their skills through tools like the digital fundamentals course and innovations like the Waterloo Experience (WE) Accelerate program. These resources, as well as the Future Ready Talent Framework (FRTF), speak to the talents required to be successful in the future of work. 

The President’s Forum, panel discussion, and Employer Impact Awards each demonstrate how important employer and industry partnerships are to Waterloo as we lead the development of talent for a complex future.