Waterloo Experience (WE) Accelerate: An innovative option for your Spring 2022 work term

A group of young employees working together on their laptops

We're working with industry collaborators 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 collaborators and team-based project experiences – all while earning a flexible work term credit! 

“WE Accelerate was wonderful. You learned skills, you practiced them and went out to try it out in the real world. That is probably the most crystal clear idea I have had of work-integrated learning.”

- Julian Lucido, Faculty of Math 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 collaborators 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 senior co-op students and 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!
  • A 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).
  • A $1,000 award for completing the program (learn more).

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!

WE Accelerate streams being offered in Spring 2022

Stream Industry collaborator(s) Enrollment cap Skill development
Microsoft Azure Artificial Intelligence Microsoft Flexible • Introduction to AI and its application across industries
• Azure Fundamentals content and certification
• Azure AI Fundamentals content and certification
• Design Thinking
Modern Web Application Design Manulife 50 • Web application development
• Front-end and back-end design
• Continuous operation planning for web apps
• Building a microservices backend
• Note: We recommend familiarity with basic coding principles for participants in this stream.
Brightspace Training D2L (Desire2Learn) 25 • Developing course materials
• Building assessments and grading learners
• Communication and engagement
Innovation Concept / Velocity 50 • Innovation thinking
• Problem analysis content via the Problem Lab
None 50 • Website design for desktop and mobile
• Search engine optimization (SEO)
• Content, email, and video marketing
• Office productivity software (optional)
light bulb with gearsProject Component

Each stream will also have a project component where students will work in teams of five to practice what they learned by tackling real-life problems and projects provided by industry collaborators. Each project will take about 120 hours to complete, and industry collaborators will assess your approach to the project using a Project Evaluation Form with an Overall Rating that will show up on your work term record. 

arrows in a circle iconSynchronous time commitment

Each stream will have varying synchronous time commitments. It is STRONGLY recommended that you attend all live sessions. Some streams may include mandatory sessions or examinations.  Students will also need to find time each week to meet with their team lead and work together with their group members to complete several team-based activities. You’ll learn more about the synchronous commitments associated with your assigned stream before the opt-out deadline.

Hear directly from our industry collaborators

Watch the recordings of the student and industry collaborator panels from the WE Accelerate Virtual Information day

Timeline and what to expect

WE Accelerate opt-in/opt-out period 
WE Accelerate Virtual Info Day Wednesday, April 6
• Industry collaborators discuss their streams and former students discuss their experience during our WE Accelerate Virtual Information Day event.
• Opt-in form will go live in WaterlooWorks following the event.
Deadline to opt-in Friday, May 13 at 4:00 PM (EDT)
• Deadline to opt-in and indicate your streams of interest.
Streams assigned Monday, May 16
• After registration closes on Friday, May 13 at 4:00 PM (EDT), students will be sorted into streams based on preference (first-come, first-served) and enrollment caps. 
• We’ll ensure you know which stream you’re in before the opt-out deadline of Friday, May 20 at 9:00 AM (EDT).
Deadline to opt-out Friday, May 20 at 9:00 AM (EDT)
• After this, we expect you to commit to WE Accelerate as you would any other work term as there are limited spots available.
WE Accelerate work term begins
Career programming (part 1) May 24 - May 30
• Complete onboarding and career curriculum (part 1).
• Approximately 25 hours during this first week, with approximately 10 additional hours of career programming to occur throughout.
• 1 hour of synchronous content daily, with all other content provided asynchronously.
Skill development programming Beginning Tuesday May 31
• Complete skill development content provided by industry collaborator(s).
• Approximately 100 hours, with varying degrees of synchronous content depending on the stream.
Project experience June 27 - July 29 (exact timing will depend on the stream/project)
• Complete industry collaborator projects in teams and receive feedback.
• Approximately 120 hours of project work to be expected across 3-5 weeks (all projects to be completed by July 29).
• Please note: the hours to complete your project work will be determined by the project provider, with the expectation you are available.
• Industry collaborators will complete a Project Evaluation Form and assign individual ratings OR an overall rating for each project team (up to the employers discretion).
Project evaluation form deadline (for employers): Friday, August 5, 2022
Career programming (part 2) August 2 - 8
• Complete career curriculum (part 2) and final summative assignment (due August 8).
• Approximately 25 hours.

 "I was excited to start my project experience because the skill development portion of WE Accelerate prepared me."

- Allen Tian, Environment student

Next steps to sign up

Thank you to all those who attended our WE Accelerate Virtual Information Day event! In case you missed it, recordings of the sessions will soon be posted on our WE Accelerate webpage. Be sure to check out the FAQ section to address any questions that we didn't have time to answer during the sessions.   

Now that you’ve had a chance to hear from our industry partners, we invite you to sign-up for WE Accelerate by filling out our opt-in form on WaterlooWorks by Friday May 13 at 4:00 PM (EDT). In this form, you’ll indicate your interest in the skill streams, and we’ll use this information to assign students to streams on a first-come, first-served basis as each stream has different enrolment caps based on how many students each industry partner can accommodate.

Not sure if you want to commit? Even if you choose to opt-in to reserve your spot, you can opt-out of the program if you change your mind any time before Friday, May 20 at 9:00 AM (EDT).

Follow the steps below to opt-in by Friday, May 13 at 4:00 PM (EDT):

  • Login to WaterlooWorks and select “Submit a form."
  • Complete the form below:
    • Category: Waterloo Experience (WE) Accelerate Program
    • Sub-category: Opt-in – WE Accelerate (5026)
  • After completing the opt-in form, you’ll be assigned to a stream on a first-come, first-served basis depending on how you ranked your streams of interest. We’ll let you know which stream you’ve been assigned to sometime after the deadline to opt-in (Friday, May 13 at 4:00 PM EDT) but before the deadline to opt-out (Friday, May 20 at 9:00 AM EDT).
  • Please note: You do NOT need to complete an Arrange Own Job form or search for additional part-time work on top of WE Accelerate - just submitting the opt-in form and completing the components of your assigned stream is enough to get you co-op credit! 

If you change your mind, follow the steps below to opt-out by Friday, May 20 at 9:00 AM (EDT): 

  • Login to WaterlooWorks and select “Submit a form.”
  • Complete the form below:
    • Category: Waterloo Experience (WE) Accelerate Program
    • Sub-category: Opt-out – WE Accelerate (5027)
  • If we receive your opt-out form by the deadline of Friday, May 20 at 9:00 AM (EDT), we'll remove you from the program. 
  • After this deadline, we expect that you will be committed to fulfilling the requirements for your stream to earn your co-op credit. WE Accelerate is a work term credit, so withdrawing from it after the deadline is considered leaving a work term early and may involve consequences. Please contact your co-op advisor for more details. 

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.

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

FAQs: Opting-in or Opting-out

FAQs: What to expect once you're enrolled