About the Program

About the Access Student Talent Program

The Greater Kitchener Waterloo Chamber of Commerce (GKWCC) has partnered with the Business + Higher Education Roundtable (BHER) to help connect small businesses with our local post-secondary schools – Conestoga College, University of Waterloo and Wilfrid Laurier University. The Access Student Talent program makes it easier for small businesses to engage with a student for work-integrated opportunities in a variety of low or no cost ways.

Our Goal

The Access Student Talent Program was created to help connect businesses with local post-secondary students. With talent recruitment and retention being a commonly mentioned pain point for many small businesses, we are here to help. Our team will research the options that you have for working with students based on your business needs and we will connect your business with the appropriate representative at our partner educational institutions.

Work-Integrated Learning

Work-integrated learning is an umbrella term that describes the different opportunities businesses have to work with students. Businesses can work with students in a variety of ways including:

  • Co-op work terms
  • Field placements
  • Capstone projects
  • Practicums
  • In-class projects
  • Part-time project work
  • Apprenticeships
  • …and many more!

How We Help Businesses

In the first year of the Access Student Talent pilot, we learned that there a number of reasons why small businesses were not working with students. We aim to break down those barriers and encourage our small business community to get connected with local student talent. Some of those barriers included a lack of time, not knowing the different ways that businesses can work with students, and not knowing how to connect with the post-secondary school. Through the Access Student Talent program, we talk with businesses about all of the options that are available to work with students; we do the research on the options that a business has for working with a student based on their business needs; we provide one-on-one advisory support; we connect businesses with the right people at the post-secondary school(s) based on which options they are interested in exploring further.

With up-to-date knowledge and skills, students are a great low/no cost solution to your current talent needs. Engaging with students also builds your future talent pipeline and decreases your future recruitment and training costs. Finally, students are an untapped source of temporary employment that can drive productivity and help your business show good quarterly results. Find out more about how your business can work with students today!

Interested in learning more?

We would love to hear from you! Fill out our contact form to be connected with Allison Mitchell, Program Manager of the Access Student Talent Program. Our team will then connect you with the appropriate contact to help your work with students.