Highlights from the 2018/19 fiscal year

May 1, 2018 to April 30, 2019 (Source: IAP/WaterlooWorks)

Co-operative education is a hallmark of excellence at the University of Waterloo. What started with a cohort of 74 students in 1957 has grown to more than 22,000 today. Not only have we grown in numbers during this time, we're evolving to bring work-integrated learning to all students in any plan. With co-op as a foundational value in the University’s history and development, it’s no wonder nearly seven out of ten Waterloo students were registered in a co-op program in fall 2018.

A driver of economic impact

$525 Millionin additional returns for companies who hire Waterloo co-op students in 20182019 Economic Impact Report by Deloitte

A driver of enrolment growth

According to the 2018 Incoming Student Survey, 72% of incoming undergraduate students would not have accepted their offer without co-op. The University has more co-op students than the next four largest post-secondary co-op institutions – combined.

icon representing co-op students22,461undergraduate co-op studentsenrolled as of fall 2018

Icon representing student enrollment increase.17%co-op enrolment increase in the last 5 years (fall 2014- fall 2018)
Icon representing co-op students6,800+students available for hireevery term

Take a look at the interactive chart below to see a breakdown of University of Waterloo enrolment over the last five years across multiple data points.

Icon representing co-op employment rate.97.6% co-op employment ratean increase of 1.5% since 2014/15
icon representing first work term rate95.5%first work term employment ratean increase of 4.8% since 2014/15
Waterloo students are future ready

Take a look at the interactive charts below for a breakdown co-op employment rates over the last five years.

Full-time paid work terms, alternating with study terms, enable students to deepen their learning in their fields of study, develop transferable skills that will help them in careers and throughout their lives, and enhance their ability to learn quickly and comprehensively.

icon representing work terms21,800+work terms an increase of 24% since 2014/15
Icon representing international work terms 3,200+international work terms in 60+ countries
icon representing first work terms4,800+first work termsan increase of 29.5% since 2014/15

Take a look at the interactive chart below for a breakdown of the top countries our co-op students work in.

Icon representing total earnings$285+ Million in student earnings, with average co-op earnings of$12,400 per work term in Canada

Employers travel from all over the world to recruit Waterloo students. The size and scale of Waterloo's co-op program require an unparalleled level of support from staff and faculty partners.

Icon of desktop computer with webpages open 27,000+jobs posted
Icon of paper and pencil1,200,000+co-op job applicationsan increase of 26% since 2014/15

Icon of two people interviewing at a desk99,000+interviews 63,900+ in-person, 22,900+ over the Web, 12,700+ over phone
Icon of two speech bubbles indicating conversation52,000+combined interactions with students, employers and staff by our Information Centre and Help Desk staff

The University's employer network stretches around the world. Co-op support staff are strategically located across Canada to offer support to employers and students no matter where they are. 

Icon of a group of professionals1,500+new employers
Icon of a name badge with photo ID7,100+active employers with an average of 2,100 employers hiring per term

Icon of a thumbs up95.1%of co-op students received ratings of very good to outstanding from employers
8.4/10average rating students gave their work term experience90.8% of students gave their work term a rating of 7 or higher

Co-operative Education is part of the Co-operative and Experiential Education (CEE) portfolio. The success of our co-op students is dependent on the power of this portfolio that includes Centre for Career Action, WatPD, Waterloo Centre for Advancement of Co-operative Education and CEE Services. Together, these units equip and empower our students to develop their talent for a complex future. 

Centre for Career Action (CCA) provides client-focused career education for all Waterloo students, alumni and employees. Through individualized career advising sessions and audience-tailored workshops and conferences/events, CCA offers support for career development, employment search and further education preparation, as well as co-op process supports to students in their first recruitment term. CCA expanded its reach to support 9,500+ students through teaching assistants and peer leaders across campus - 194 student-staff were trained extensively to provide in-person résumé, cover letter and interview supports to their peers. 

Icon representing drop in consultations6,500+students accessed drop-in career or co-op consultation services
icon representing workshops and events11,300+participants in workshops and events
icon representing career advising2,500+Students attended individual career advising sessions

Beyond in-person services, CCA’s CareerHub provided helpful online resources to more than 17,000 Waterloo users last year. This content ranged from guidelines for how to make a career decision to tips on how to be an entrepreneurial employee, and this year included newly-developed information for international students seeking employment in Canada.

Icon representing online workshops17,000+University of Waterloo community members accessed CareerHubaveraging 4 minutes 58 seconds per pageview

Learn more about CareerHub

CCA supports student wellness and inclusion through a variety of strategic initiatives. In 2018-19, CCA led the implementation of a small service pilot between CCA, Co-op and third-party recruiter Specialisterne Canada to explore providing neurodiverse students access to co-op or graduating jobs through interview-free processes.  

specialisterne logo

University graduate survey data shows that Waterloo co-op grads enjoy better career success than graduates from other Ontario universities.

Icon depicting one in five people92%of Waterloo co-op grads are employed 6 months after graduationcompared to 89% of Ontario graduates

Ontario University Graduate Survey of 2016 graduates

Icon of pencil and ruler crossed96%of co-op grads employed 6 months after graduation worked in positions related to skills they acquired at Waterloocompared to 79% of Ontario graduates

Ontario University Graduate Survey of 2016 graduates

Icon of money bag82%were earning at least$50,0002 years after graduation compared to 45% of Ontario graduates

Ontario University Graduate Survey of 2016 graduates

One of the most successful programmes in the world for students spending part of their degree working in industry.

Times Higher Education 
World University Rankings

icon representing number of accredited co-op programs120+accredited co-op programs
Icon representing people engaged by WATCACE3,700+people engaged by WatCACE in research related to co-op
icon representing WATPD20,800+enrolments in 15 WatPD courses

icon representing number one rankingRanked #1in Canada for employer-student connections

QS Graduate Employability Rankings 2020

icon representing light bulbCanada's most innovative university for28 years in a row

Maclean's Magazine

Icon representing awardsRanked #1in Canada for Experiential Learning

Maclean's Magazine

Check out our print-friendly snapshot of the Annual Report.