Since joining Akelius Canada in 2016, Jeffrey Huang, (BAcc ’10) has been responsible for hiring 21 co-op students from Brock University.
For his willingness to go above and beyond to advocate for his alma mater, and provide opportunities for students, Huang has been named this year’s recipient of the Brock University Alumni Co-op Employer Award.
It was one of a series of awards handed out by Brock’s office of Co-op, Career and Experiential Education team, as well as Alumni Relations recently.
“Being a Brock alumnus, giving back is very important to me,” Huang said. “Brock has provided me the knowledge to succeed in my professional life, so I want to provide the same to its future students.
“When hiring from Brock University, we know that all the candidates are very strong both from a knowledge perspective and also personality/attitude/professional perspective,” he said. “We have interviewed and hired students from other co-op programs, but their quality of work cannot be compared to Brock students.”
Huang initiated the recruitment engagement between Akelius and Brock. Many of the 21 co-op hires he was responsible for had extended work terms, and many were international students with little or no Canadian work experience. Huang made a conscious effort to discover their potential and provide them with an opportunity.
He said many international students bring a different perspective as a result of their work experience from their home countries.
“Being an international student, it can be extremely challenging to get your foot in the door,” said Huang. “I have first-hand experience with this. And my wife, who was a Brock international student, had a really hard time finding her first job.”
Huang said, in his experience, international students have “great work ethics and attitude.”
“Not only do they complete their work on time with great quality, but they are always willing to learn more and take on more responsibilities,” he said. “One thing I have noticed from being a manager is that you can teach your staff many things, but you can’t teach them attitude.”
Tess Sun (MBA ’18), a former co-op student now working full time at Akelius, said Huang “provides an exceptional student work term experience term after term.”
“More than half of the co-op students land full-time jobs after their terms here,” Sun said. “Not only does Jeff create a successful learning opportunity and supportive working environment, but he leads by example, showing team spirit, caring and professionalism. Being an outstanding mentor, Jeff offers tremendous help to our career path and professional designation as well.”
In addition to the Huang’s award, other awards were also handed out:
- Non-profit — Canadian Mental Health Association (Niagara Branch)
- Small and Medium Enterprises — Norgen Biotek
- Large organization — BDO
These selected organizations have made outstanding contributions to Brock’s Co-op Education program through the consistent employment of Brock co-op students, providing quality co-op work term experiences including training and mentorship opportunities for our students, as well as their on-campus engagement in initiatives such as networking simulation events, employer panels and recruitment fairs.
Our employers’ on-the-job coaching and mentoring are essential to help guide and develop students as they advance through their years of education. The Outstanding Co-op Supervisor recognition is a student-driven award to formally recognize and thank their work term supervisor for their effort and contribution towards creating a positive and valuable work term learning experience. Despite the challenges of 2020, more than 1,200 Brock co-op students completed a quality work term successfully. In all, 55 co-op supervisors are being recognized for their exceptional contribution to Brock co-op students’ on-job development and growth.
“We want to thank our employer partners for their continuous commitment and generous support of our students’ professional development and growth during this ever-changing environment,” said Julia Zhu, Associate Director, Co-op Education at Brock.