Waterloo Experience (WE) Accelerate: An innovative way to access student talent this spring!

co-op students working on project

We know from recent research done with over 74,000 work-term job descriptions that employers across all industries are looking for students with digital skills to help transition the way they do business. That’s why we’re offering our innovative Waterloo Experience (WE) Accelerate program – to give you more ways to connect with our tech-savvy students who can help fill your talent pipeline!  

WE Accelerate is a robust alternative to a traditional co-op work term for first work term students. The program combines future-ready, in-demand skill development content (co-created with industry collaborators) with team-based project experience and employability development content.

If you don’t have the capacity to hire a student for a traditional 8- to 16-week work term, this is a great way to harness our students’ bright minds for shorter projects.

This spring, students will be enrolling in WE Accelerate skill streams and accessing skill development content provided by our industry collaborators. Here's a look at what students will be learning:   

Stream Industry collaborator(s) Skills students will develop
Digital Bootcamp None • Website design for desktop and mobile  
• Search engine optimization (SEO) 
• Content, email, and video marketing  
• Office productivity software (optional) 
Modern Web Application Design Manulife • Web application development 
• Front-end and back-end design 
• Continuous operation planning for web apps 
• Building a microservices backend 
Brightspace Training D2L (Desire2Learn) • Developing course material
• Building assessments and grading learners
• Communication and engagement

Do you have projects that require digital expertise?

We are seeking projects from employers that align with the skills above to help our students apply what they’ve learned. Each project will be assigned a team of approximately five students who will help tackle the problem your organization has provided across a 5 week span from June 27 - July 29, and should involve approximately 120 hours of work per student (approximately 25 hours per week). 

In return, we ask that you guide the students through your project, provide them with feedback and assess their performance at the end of the project to help them keep learning. We also encourage participating employers to provide a small award for each student's work on their projects, if possible.

By taking part in this offering, you’re not only gaining our students’ digital skills and cross-disciplinary creativity on the projects you provide – you’re also investing in student talent to help the next generation of graduates prepare for the future workforce!

Timeline and what to expect

WE Accelerate work term begins
Career programming (part 1) May 24 - 30
• Students complete onboarding and career curriculum (part 1).
• Approximately 25 hours during this first week, with approximately 10 additional hours of career programming throughout.
• 1 hour of synchronous content daily, with all other content provided asynchronously.
Skill development programming Beginning May 31
• Students 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 24 - July 29
• Students complete industry collaborator projects in teams and receive feedback.
• Approximately 120 hours of project work (approximately 25 hours per week) across a 5 week span (from June 24 - July 29).
• Industry collaborators will complete a Project Evaluation Form and assign individual ratings OR an overall rating for each project team (up to the employer's discretion).
Career programming (part 2) August 2 - 8
• Students complete career curriculum (part 2) and final summative reflection.
• Approximately 25 hours. 
• Timing depends on when the project ends (last possible week for completion = August 2-8).

How our students can help support your projects

The University of Waterloo and other organizations across the globe have hired co-op students to assist with both small- and large-scale projects. Here are a few examples of projects that our students have supported in the past:

Stream Project examples
Digital Bootcamp
  • Revamping website pages, incorporating new plugins, creating e-commerce stores, and conducting external research to create new content.
  • Creating websites using site developers such as Wix and WordPress, and utilized HTML & CSS for front end web development.
  • Using Search Engine Optimization (SEO) optimization techniques to enhance their digital presence and completed keyword research for targeted advertising.
  • Organizing/visualizing data with Microsoft Office and interpreting web analytics.
  • Designing Inbound Marketing approaches, setting up blog posts, creating promotional videos, and content management (with HubSpot).
  • Auditing an organization’s online presence, implementing brand guidelines, and enhancing the steps in the company’s customer journey.

Please note: Mobile websites and/or mobile applications are not suitable projects for students in the Digital Bootcamp stream.

Modern Web Application Design
  • Build web applications from the ground up with Node.JS back-ends and React front-ends.
  • Improve front-end web application features and styling for improved user experiences.
  • Develop proofs-of-concept for application data queries using GraphQL.
  • Integrate new application features using publicly available APIs to enhance web application functionality.
  • Draft conceptual sketches, build wire frames, and develop front-end and back-end code.
  • Conduct test-driven development and QA-related testing.
Brightspace Training
  • Developing course materials within Brightspace for first-year Engineering courses, including videos, modules, and other resources.
  • Building assessments within Brightspace, including quizzes, question banks, and reflective discussion prompts.
  • Implementing best practices for communication and engagement within Brightspace.
  • Applying principles of universal course design, copyright, accessibility, and other important online teaching and learning considerations.

If you have questions or a project that can use some digital expertise this spring, connect with your Account Manager to learn more about WE Accelerate
and how to take part!

If you haven't hired with us before, you can contact hire.talent@uwaterloo.ca and a Business Developer will reach out to answer your questions.