Conestoga news

January 29, 2024 5:54 AM

Job fair connects Applied Computer Science & IT students with employers

Employers and Conestoga co-op students were able to connect at the first Applied Computer Science & Information Technology job fair, held January 18 at the Waterloo campus.

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Conestoga students line up to speak with employers at the first Applied Computer Science & Information Technology job fair.

Employers used the opportunity to chat with hundreds of talented, workplace-ready students from Applied Computer Science & Information Technology co-op programs to look for future employees. Companies in attendance included Acceldata, Arctic Wolf, Definity insurance, Descartes Systems Group Inc., Enova Power Corp., Equitable insurance, Home Hardware, PEER Group and Rakuten Kobo.

Building relationships with local employers is key to ensuring students hired are the right fit, said Jim Edwards, dean of Applied Computer Science & Information Technology.

“Our ultimate goal is to educate students to be job ready on Day 1. And our curriculum is so closely tied with the employers needs that building that relationship is a natural continuance of what we do to ensure student success,” Edwards said.

The connections are overwhelmingly successful. Co-op students in computer science/software development were rated as exceptional or above average by 93 per cent of employers in 2019-2022.

The job fair is a new approach for the school to bring students and employers together at a large event. The school previously hosted a mix of events, such as a speed networking event and inviting an employer in to speak to students.

“The School of Applied Computer Science & Information Technology has quickly become a preferred destination for students, and events such as this are part of the reason why. Our thanks to Darren Pearson from the co-op office for his great initiative connecting students and employers through this event,” Edwards said.

The Talent Hub hosted the event for co-op students seeking their spring 2024 work term. This spring, employers can recruit from 12 Applied Computer Science and IT programs.

Conestoga has more than 4,000 students in 72 co-op programs in a broad range of disciplines from degrees and diplomas to trades. The college’s Co-op Employer Relations team assists employers with recruiting Conestoga talent, including events like the job fair and other activities where students and employers can connect face-to-face.

Conestoga students are always welcome at Arctic Wolf. The cybersecurity company based in Wisconsin with offices around the world including Waterloo hires at least two to three Conestoga co-op students a term, primarily from the School of Applied Computer Science & Information Technology.

“We have great success with the students,” said Hayley Stuckel, senior manager of university recruiting. “They do really well. The program aligns well with what we’re looking for.”

Being able to meet in person allows both the students and employers to get more insight into each other and if they’re a good match. “It goes both ways,” Stuckel said.

St. Jacobs-based Home Hardware fills co-op positions every term given an excellent track record with Conestoga students. Some students have returned more than once to work in different areas and with different projects, and Home Hardware has a high conversion rate of co-op students to employees.

“They have a lot of practical, hands-on experience. They’re really motivated and they have a strong base of knowledge,” said Noel Campbell, talent acquisition specialist, technology.

Equitable in Waterloo typically hires two to four Conestoga co-op students to join the insurance firm’s information technology teams each term.

“At Equitable, we have fostered a culture of growth and learning by empowering co-op students to become fully integrated into our workplace culture, take on real-world business challenges and make an impact,” said Rebecca Clarke, talent acquisition co-ordinator.

Conestoga’s School of Applied Computer Science & Information Technology, based at the college’s Waterloo campus, offers a 21st-century education that prepares graduates for exciting careers in the innovative world of information and communications technology. Project-based and work-integrated learning enables students to solve real-world problems and engage in new technologies that empower a professional journey in a rapidly growing sector.

To post a co-op job or learn more about computer science and information technology co-op, contact employer relations consultants Darren Pearson at or Sanjana Myakal at