Future-proof employers

An employer and a co-op student working together

Our staff work with our employers to create rich, quality learning experiences within the workplace. By engaging with our extensive employer network to share research findings and best talent management practices, we help empower employers to build resilient and innovative organizations.

Goal: Future-proof employers

Every student experience creates an opportunity for our employers to harness the power of the students’ enthusiasm, academic excellence and thirst for learning.

In fact, in 2019, Deloitte reported that employers realize $2 in economic gains for every dollar they invest in Waterloo co-op students. Through an initial short-term commitment, employers can train and evaluate students for specific skills and identify talent that they may want to hire full-time someday.

Even in the midst of a global pandemic, thanks to the strengths of our student talent and the quality of our service and relationships, many of our employers maintained their student hiring commitments and moved student work online. Others doubled down on their hiring to help create better online learning environments, online marketing or even launch online stores.

We continuously strive to enhance relevance in our academic programs by working closely with faculty colleagues to discuss the curriculum and the changing needs of the workplace. When employers need talent with the latest understanding and experience in emerging new areas of work such as AI, advanced manufacturing, alternative energy, they recruit Waterloo students.

To ensure that both our students and our employers have an excellent experience, we provide tools and resources for our employers based upon our research.


  • Engage with our employers to strengthen relationships as we work together to meet their current needs and build their talent pipeline
  • Deepen our understanding of our employers to provide them with flexible, innovative ways to recruit and engage with students while respecting diversity, equity, accessibility and inclusion.
  • Recognize our employers’ exceptional workplace contributions to our student’s learning
  • Seek ongoing input from our employers to build upon our reputation for an exceptional employer experience
  • Equip our employers with insight from our data and research and provide them a toolkit of best practices for their talent management from recruitment of new talent to upskilling their existing people
  • Discover labour market growth opportunities through dialogue with our employers, sharing of information and research
  • Leverage our employer networks and our own understanding of WIL towards life-long learning
Marcelo Cortes headshot

Marcelo Cortes, CTO and Co-founder of Faire, taps into co-op talent to build regions latest billion-dollar business. Read more about Marcelo Cortes

Cheri Chevalier headshot

Cheri Chevalier reflects on her career path form co-op student to Global Director at Microsoft. Read more about Cheri Chevalier

Things move so quickly, and the pace of innovation is so high that we need people who can think critically, react, solve problems and have that high level of intelligent agility and adaptability that will enable them to be successful in any role.

Cheri Chevalier (BA ’95), Worldwide Sales Leader for Marketing Solutions, Microsoft

In Macleans magazine, April 2019