Highlights from the 2019/20 fiscal year

May 1, 2019 to April 30, 2020 (Source: IAP/WaterlooWorks)

Co-operative Education started with a cohort of 74 students and has grown to more than 23,000. The end of the 2019-2020 fiscal year collided with a global pandemic creating unpredictable challenges for our students in an ever-changing and complex world of work. To support our students and employers we created more flexible pathways, moved all co-op interviews and services to a digital landscape, introduced bulk hiring opportunities and leveraged additional funding to create more jobs.

A driver of economic impact


bag of money and bill$525 Millionin additional returns for companies who hired 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.

Three people23,017undergraduate co-op studentsenrolled as of fall 2019
Person with a growing graph20%co-op enrolment increase in the last 5 years (fall 2014- fall 2019)
Three people7,000+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.

Person with resume and a checkmark97.32%co-op employment rate
Handshake with people in the background93.9%first work term employment rate

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.

Computer desk22,400+work terms an increase of 27.5% since 2014/15
globe and briefcase3,400+international work terms in64 countries
two people in suits4,700+first work termsan increase of 28.4% since 2014/15

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

Piggy bank$295+ Million in student earnings, with average co-op earnings of$12,700 per work term in Canada

Computer with resume29,000+jobs posted
Resume with a gear1,260,000+co-op job applicationsan increase of 32% since 2014/15

Two people sitting at a desk99,000+interviews 62,500+ in-person, 24,700+ over the Web, 12,000+ over phone
Conversation bubbles38,000+combined interactions with students, employers and staff by our Information Centre and Help Desk staff

Three people representing professionals1,600+new employers
Person with two conversation bubbles with people in them7,100+active employers with an average of 2,200 employers hiring per term

Thumbs up associated with people94.8%of co-op students received ratings of very good to outstanding from employers
Conversation bubbles depicting positive reactions8.4/10average rating students gave their work term experience91.4% 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 the Centre for Career Action (CCA), Work-Integrated Learning (WIL) programs, Work-Learn Institute (WxL) and CEE Business Services. Together, these units equip and empower our students to develop their talent for a complex future. 

The 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, the 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. 


Calendar showing events6,000+students accessed drop-in career or co-op consultation services
Person presenting to others12,500+participants in workshops and events
Two people speaking to each other2,100+Students attended individual career advising sessions


Beyond these direct-to-student services, CCA expanded its reach to support an additional 9500+ students through teaching assistants and peer leaders across campus: 194 student-staff were trained extensively to provide work search supports (e.g., resume critiques) to their peers.

The CCA’s CareerHub also provided helpful online resources to more than 16,500 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.


Laptop with mouse16,500+University of Waterloo community members accessed CareerHubaveraging 4 minutes 24 seconds per pageview

Learn more about CareerHub

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

Five people representing one in five92%of Waterloo co-op grads are employed 6 months after graduationcompared to 89% of Ontario graduates

Ontario University Graduate Survey of 2016 graduates

Computer screen with globe and graduation hat96%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

Money bag and bill82%were earning at least$50,0002 years after graduation compared to 45% of Ontario graduates

Ontario University Graduate Survey of 2016 graduates

Hand holding a pencil and hand holding a lightbulb123accredited co-op programs
profile page on computer21,700+enrolments in WatPD courses

Top three rankingRanked #1in Canada for employer-student connections

QS Graduate Employability Rankings 2020

First place awardRanked #1in Canada for Experiential Learning

Maclean's Magazine Reputational Rankings 2020