By: Micaela Kelly (she/her)

Celebrating work-integrated learning (WIL) month

Arup believes a sustainable future starts now. Through a global collective of designers, engineers and sustainability consultants, Arup works across multiple markets with the goal of supporting sustainable development.   

In Toronto, Arup focuses on applying a sustainability lens to the transportation and building sectors. The organization contributed to the new terminal at Toronto Pearson International Airport and led the design of two new subway stations for the Toronto Transit Commission.

Within Canada, the organization hires more than 10 Waterloo co-op students each term. Students work in roles such civil engineering intern, program and project management intern, and sustainability consulting intern. Arup had distinguished itself as a standout student employer. The company received the first ever Co-operative and Experiential Education (CEE) Employer Impact Award for Impact in Interdisciplinary Recruitment

Group of Arup co-op students and staff

In conversation with Arup

Olivia Cotreneo (she/her), recruitment co-ordinator at Arup, discusses how hiring co-op students provides value to Arup.  

How does hiring University of Waterloo co-op students help with your recruitment and talent strategy?

The Waterloo co-op students we hire help to lay the base of our talent strategy and funnel into many of our full-time permanent graduate opportunities. These students provide considerable value to our culture and to our projects on a continuous basis.

How do you ensure a successful co-op work term for your organization and the co-op student?

We provide a significant amount of support to co-op students through extensive supervisor trainings, check-ins with co-ops throughout their internships and our buddy program.

Olivia Cotreneo

Olivia Cotreneo
Recruitment co-ordinator at Arup

Our buddy program pairs co-op students with recent graduates to provide networking opportunities and support from peers who were recently in their shoes. We also provide a robust internship program that involves a site visit, networking opportunities with leaders, and a case study assignment aimed at improving presentation, collaboration and technical skills.

What is the biggest benefit of hiring co-op students?   

For us, the biggest benefit is having a significant amount of support year-round to assist our team on various projects. We will often ask our students what they are interested in working on and assign them projects and tasks based on that.  

Students are the foundation of our talent strategy. We have students working in multiple departments across Arup. They come with different skill sets and fresh perspectives.


Arup staff working on a bridge
Four co-op students working on site on an Arup project
Woman crossing a bridge

Students take the lead at Arup  

Renée Hinton (she/her), a second-year Architectural Engineering student, worked with Arup in fall of last year. Hinton shares the valuable experiences she has gained at Arup and through work-integrated learning. 

Renée Hinton

Renée Hinton
Architectural Engineering student

What was it that first attracted you to a co-op term at Arup?

What attracted me initially to Arup was the opportunity to work on major commercial and industrial projects, which have significant bearing on local economic and social development. Arup bids on major infrastructure projects on a global level and builds international teams to work on these projects.

Due to the scale of the projects, even as a co-op student, you can have a significant impact on our built environment. Arup also places a huge emphasis on sustainable development and environmentally conscious design. There are so many opportunities for knowledge sharing within Arup and their projects.

What were some of the tasks or projects you worked on?

As a program and project management intern, I had the opportunity to work on major infrastructure projects across Canada and the United Kingdom. I worked in new development for Maritime infrastructure, performing commercial management tasks and developing technical advisory deliverables. I assessed asset performance and CapEx projects for existing ports.  Many of the tasks were given to me based on my expressed interest and initiative. I had the opportunity to build a commercial dashboard for a multi-million-dollar project to automate financial forecasting, tracking and invoicing.

What have you found to be most beneficial about participating in a WIL program?

The greatest benefit to the co-op program is understanding where you fit into the workplace and where you want to be in the future as a professional. This co-op opportunity has shown me how much I enjoy project management and commercial management, which allows me to direct my studies to suit this field.

Gaining relevant job experience puts you ahead of other new grads in the industry and secures connections with strong companies that you could potentially use to get a job in the future.