Waterloo Experience (WE) Accelerate: An innovative option for first work-term students

co-op students working on project

If the COVID-19 pandemic has taught us anything, it's that being flexible and staying current with in-demand skills has never been more important as industries shift and change. That's why we recently analyzed over 74,000 job descriptions to identify the skills that employers want most - so we can help you develop them! 

We're collaborating with industry partners to offer an innovative work term option for undergraduate co-op students entering their first work term: our Waterloo Experience (WE) Accelerate program. This optional program will help you develop in-demand skills through content provided by industry partners and team-based project experiences – all while earning a flexible work term credit!

"This was my chance to gain the skills and experience employers are looking for and there are no prerequisites needed so I was able to start from zero."

-Aseel Osman, Faculty of Engineering student

Here’s a look at what you’ll gain from our WE Accelerate program:

  • Access to high-quality skill development content created by industry partners across multiple streams.
  • Practice what you’ve learned by working in teams to tackle real-life projects supplied and assessed by industry collaborators.
  • Networking, coaching and mentorship opportunities with participating industry collaborators.
  • Built-in career education to help you get the most out of your experience and leverage it in your future job searches.
  • Highly-flexible structure – complete WE Accelerate remotely from wherever you are located.
  • Experience that you can add to your resume and talk about with a wide array of future employers!
  • flexible work term credit to help you stay on track to complete your co-op degree (learn more about standard vs. flexible work term requirements and how many of each you need to graduate).

Currently, undergraduate co-op students across all faculties who are seeking their first work term and haven't yet found employment are eligible for this optional opportunity. 

You don’t need to be enrolled in a particular program to participate. This is a great opportunity to learn something new and develop the skills that employers want most while still earning a flexible work term credit!

“I thought WE Accelerate would be good to get some work experience with a cool company that would allow me to leverage myself to the market in the following work term.”

-Hannah Mccracken, Faculty of Arts student

Not sure if this program is a fit for you?

Not sure if this program is a fit for you? That's okay - the decision is completely up to you! You may be interested in different types of skills and career paths that are not currently being offered. Do, however, consider how you might be able to leverage the in-demand skills that ARE being offered in a wide variety of future co-op jobs. Careers are so often non-linear, and many people are surprised to hear about the interesting and varied paths that others have taken! Every experience is a stepping stone towards your future - they help you build skills and connections, test out career fields, and are opportunities to learn important lessons about yourself.

Here are some next steps that might be helpful when trying to make a decision:

  • Take a look at job postings that are of interest to you. What skills are they seeking, and how do those skills align with the WE Accelerate streams?
  • Talk to your co-op advisor or others you trust for support and advice.
  • Check out the decision-making resources on CareerHub.

We’ll continue to update this page as things develop. 
Stay tuned to learn more!

In the meantime, if you have questions about WE Accelerate, your eligibility for the program, or would like to submit any ideas for future offerings, please contact your co-op advisor.

Frequently asked questions

Below, you’ll find answers to questions asked by students during our WE Accelerate Virtual Information Day sessions. We’ll add new questions and update answers as the program continues to evolve!

Have a question that isn’t answered? Reach out to your co-op advisor!

FAQs: About WE Accelerate