Access Student Talent Program

Four students sharing a desk and collaboratively working on a laptop.

Do you have work that needs to get done but you don’t have the staff to do it? Or have a project that you need help with on a short term basis? If so, then perhaps a post-secondary student could help with your current talent challenges, enable more productivity and provide you with a source for innovative ideas!

The Greater Kitchener-Waterloo Chamber of Commerce (GKWCC) has partnered with the Business + Higher Education Roundtable (BHER) to continue helping small businesses connect with post-secondary students through the Access Student Talent program. Students from our educational partner schools – Conestoga College, University of Waterloo, and Wilfrid Laurier University – are available for a variety of work-integrated learning opportunities including co-op work terms, capstone projects, field placements, in-class projects, apprenticeships, and others! We provide FREE one-on-one advisory support, education, and connections to our local post-secondary school partners to help you get started.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why should my business participate?

Students can bring immense value to your organization by providing you with the opportunity to:

  • add temporary resources to your organization that will enable you to be more productive
  • access innovative ideas that students bring
  • raise awareness of your organization and industry
  • build a strong talent pipeline

How will the Chamber help my small business connect with post-secondary students?

One of our team members will talk with you about your business needs and answer any questions you have about working with post-secondary students. Based on your needs, we will research the work-integrated learning (WIL) options that you may have available to work with students from one of our educational partners – Conestoga College, the University of Waterloo, and Wilfrid Laurier University. If there are WIL options that you are interested in exploring further, then we will connect you with the appropriate post-secondary school(s) representatives and continue to be available to answer your questions throughout the process.

What are the ways that my business can engage with a post-secondary student?

There are a number of different work-integrated learning opportunities available that connect businesses with students. Some of those opportunities include field placements, capstone projects, co-op work terms, in-class projects, practicums, apprenticeships, and more.

Learn More

Resource page for Businesses

About the Program

Opportunities for Businesses

Testimonials from businesses

Hear from businesses about their experience working with students!

Learn more about the Access Student Talent Program and hear from KW Habilitation, a not-for-profit organization, as they talked about the benefits to employers and students when working together through work-integrated learning and how students were able to support their organization.

What local organizations are saying

“From start to finish, working with the students was an exciting and valuable experience for our small business! The students took on the project with a high level of professionalism, and created marketing projects that were not only interesting but included realistic recommendations that our business could implement immediately. Not only did the outcome exceed my expectations, but the process also was not labour intensive for us as a business. I would highly recommend it to any small business that wants to add some creativity and fresh ideas to any facet of their business.”

Corrin Bleskie, Human Resources Consultant, H2R Business Solutions Inc.

“I was continuously impressed by the knowledge that the student brought to the table, and the dedication they displayed to resolving any issues that we encountered. The student displayed sharp analytic skills and was able to revamp our SEO which successfully increased traffic to our web site, social media platforms, and client contact rate. I would highly recommend working with this program as it is indeed an asset any company would be fortunate to work with.”

Pattie McLean, Owner, Today Tomorrow Ayr

“The students we’ve been connected to through the Access Student Talent Program helped us get new perspectives and ideas to move our initiatives forward. It is also an opportunity for us to begin building relationships with people who represent our future community leaders and prospective volunteers.”

Scott Verhoeve, Executive Director, Business & Education Partnership of Waterloo Region

“I wanted to share how pleased I was to work with students this year. I had the pleasure of working with two groups of students who brought their own knowledge and ideas to two unique challenges.

The group that assisted me with Habitat For Humanity ReStore had the challenge of adding an online e-commerce portal to our existing brick-and-mortar stores were. They were able to quickly identify the key issues we faced and creatively provided a number of solutions that we were able to incorporate as we launched our new online stores.

I also worked with a talented group that assisted me with pivoting my personal business selling sports equipment at tournaments and festivals into an online store. Their suggestions reflected the products and services I offer, embedded the unique features and benefits I bring to the marketplace, and helped me to creatively include both aspects into my new online store.

I would gladly participate in this project again and look forward to re-connecting with this class in the future.”

Tom Bileski, ReStore Procurement, Habitat For Humanity Waterloo Region and Founder, Lax Coach Locker

In Partnership with and Funded in part By

Business and Higher Education Roundtable Logo

Our Educational Partners

   Conestoga College Logo University of Waterloo Logo  Wilfrid Laurier University Logo


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.