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The Talent Pipeline | University of Waterloo
With Tammy Kim-Newman—Business Developer & Account Manager, Employment Relations, Co-operative & Experiential Education, University of Waterloo
As one of many post-secondary partnerships, IBAO’s recently connected with the University of Waterloo’s co-op program to help bring new talent to the broker channel. UWaterloo is home of the world’s leading co-op education program and Canada’s largest student talent pool with over 21,000 active students.
QS Graduate Employability ranked Waterloo Canada’s number one school for connecting employers to students. Macleans ranked them number one for experiential learning. They’ve helped over 7,100 employers identify and recruit the skills they need for their business to thrive. Their students alternate between study terms and work terms to graduate with a degree and up to two years’ relevant work experience in their field.
What are the benefits of hiring a co-op student?
It’s an investment in your business. Most organizations see a return of $2 for every $1 invested in hiring Waterloo co-op students. Students offer innovative, digital-first perspectives. They’re the extra hands a business needs to advance a project and provide fresh perspectives and energy. They’re capable of driving advancement by applying technical skills and new technology. Employers can hire for four or eight-month work terms. Student talent can start working with you quickly with shorter recruitment cycles and work terms can be in-person or remote. It’s a risk-free way of evaluating potential roles and new hires.
Which programs do students typically enter the insurance industry from?
Our top academic programs for the insurance industry are from math, business/finance and technically focused disciplines like Actuarial Science, Financial Analysis and Risk Management, Accounting and Financial Management, Honours Mathematics, Computer Science, Statistics, and Economics. Students have also played an important role in business and operational support positions like Human Resources, Digital Marketing and Communications. For potential roles students are well suited for, you can visit the Business and Finance Industry page of our website.
What tax credits are available?
Waterloo co-op students are paid by their employer for co-op work terms. Several funding programs like the Government of Canada’s Student Work Placement Program (SWPP) can cover 50–70% of wages for full-time post-secondary students. Funding can be combined with the Ontario Co-Operative Education tax credit, which is refundable. The tax credit is available to employers who hire students enrolled in a co-op education program at an Ontario university or college. Large corporations can claim 25% of expenditures, up to $3,000 per work placement. Small businesses can claim 30% of expenditures, up to $3,000. Hiring a student has never been more affordable.
What new initiatives did Waterloo undertake during the pandemic?
We quickly moved to an online model with remote co-op work terms. We partnered with industry leaders including Shopify, Vidyard, Kiite and Deloitte to create a free suite of Digital Skills Fundamentals courses to introduce fundamental concepts of digital marketing, web design, cybersecurity, video marketing, e-commerce and sales. We moved to remote interviews to make it easier for employers and students to connect and adapted our interview process to include six recruitment cycles—making the turnaround time faster to hire a student. We shortened co-op terms of 8-16 weeks of full-time work to accommodate employers who didn’t have the financial capacity or business need for a traditional four-month student hire during the pandemic. We also recently launched the Waterloo Experience (WE) Accelerate program where students in project teams apply their skillsets to help tackle business problems for an organization.
How can IBAO Members optimize co-op talent within their brokerage?
We often hear that finding talent is one of the industry’s biggest challenges. Hiring co-op students is a low-risk, affordable way to build your current and future workforce. By attending our session on hiring co-op students, you’ll learn more about the roles students can play in your brokerage and the impact they can make in this rapidly changing, digital environment. If you’re unsure of how to get started, we’ll review the recruitment process with you. We’ll also share information about federal and provincial funding resources that exist for hiring students. Whether you’re a seasoned pro hiring students or you’re brand new to the idea, we’d love to help you find the best talent possible.
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