Brock’s Co-op, Career and Experiential Education department helps students navigate journey from campus to real life

Co-op, Career and Experiential Education director Cara Krezek. Photo credit: Brock University/The Brock News


As post-secondary institutions return to school this month, the Co-op, Career and Experiential Education (CCEE) department at Brock University is eager to support students in realizing their professional goals. Cara Krezek currently serves as director of CCEE. 

“It’s been great to see the school buzzing with students,” Krezek shared in a recent interview with The Niagara Independent. “This is the most normal start-up we’ve seen in quite a number of years.” 

CCEE is an innovative interdisciplinary department, which combines hands-on learning, career-coaching and the co-op component of academic programs, in a single division. “When CCEE came together in 2015, it was the first merger of its kind in a Canadian university,” Krezek explained. “We’ve changed the way that institutions operate, bringing career education right into the classroom.” 

Krezek has been intricately involved in CCEE since the beginning. She was an original architect of the program, who then became its inaugural director, which is a role she has continued to the present day. “I was actually working in HR at Brock, doing organizational design, and then the Provost asked me what I thought about bringing together these (three) areas,” Krezek described. “I did the background research, had various meetings with all the key players, and worked with our great people to make the merger happen,” she furthered. “I wasn’t at first planning to be the director, but as it turned out, I ended up taking on the role.” 

CCEE, which serves thousands of Brock students every year, has a specific mandate that is central to all operations. “Our purpose is to help navigate the journey for students and employers,” Krezek explained. “We help students, as it relates to their studies, to respond to the changes in the labour market, and also ensure that employers have local talent.” 

As 2023-24 takes shape, there are a number of initiatives that Krezek and her colleagues are excited about. “We’re trying out some new events this year,” Krezek shared. “We’re running some virtually, while also returning to a wide range of in-person opportunities post-pandemic, which is fantastic,” she added. “In addition, we’re working to enhance employer engagement strategies, and helping them to identify the different ways they can collaborate across our campus.” 

“We’re also launching a campaign for graduating students; responding to employer needs, student engagement, tagging opportunities and preparing young professionals to enter the workforce.” 

While the pandemic years were immensely challenging, Krezek believes that CCEE has emerged from the crisis with great vibrance. “Like everyone, we were impacted by Covid. Fortunately, our team has been using Microsoft Teams for many years, so we were able to continue our strong collaboration,” she explained. “We worked hard with our employers to facilitate opportunities for our students to complete their work-terms remotely, so that they didn’t lose their experiential learning opportunities.” 

Even as restrictions have lifted and in-person options have returned to prominence, there continue to be various remote positions, as well as virtual career-coaching choices for students to select from. “We’re continuing to be more flexible, agile and responsive to the needs/preferences of our students and employers”, Krezek stated. “Hybrid appointments, virtual interviews, and online jobs are continuing to be offered.” 

“Our students love flexibility.” 

Krezek also shared some key tips that students can keep in mind as they embark on their career journey. “Take manageable risks, explore opportunities, learn what you like/don’t like, and remember… where you start isn’t going to be the same place you ultimately end up.” 

Your donations help us continue to deliver the news and commentary you want to read. Please consider donating today.

Donate Today


  • Politics

  • Sports

  • Business