Young Canadians often struggle to launch their careers, but overcoming barriers can be helped with the right programs, tools and resources.
According to RBC Future Launch’s latest Youthful Cities Urban Work Index, Saskatchewan and Manitoba are not just great places for young Canadians to live but have programs to help youth learn gain new skills, grow their networks, and get work experience.
Here are three organizations in Saskatchewan and Manitoba helping youth launch their careers with support from RBC Future Launch.
1. Saskatoon Open Door Society: Youth Employment Connections
“Our Youth Employment Connections (YEC) program helps students connect with employment and volunteer opportunities. We assist them with creating resumes and cover letters, interview preparation, networking opportunities, and mentorship,” says Eden Wilkinson, the society’s team lead for employment counselling.
“The program definitely has a big impact on our clients’ lives,” says Wilkinson. “We’ve helped our clients get hired and gain experience to help them become more employable in the future. This helps them get their foot in the door.”
The Saskatoon Open Door Society (SODS) is a non-profit agency connecting new Canadians with settlement and integration services, language training, employment support and community connections. SODS is often one of the first organizations many newcomers encounter when they settle in Saskatoon.
“We had a young Afghan girl participate in the program after she had recently immigrated to Canada,” he says. “She came here as a refugee with a traumatic background, but since arriving in Canada, she’s been really thriving. We’ve found her a part-time job, and she’s doing very well.”
Image: Youth Employment Services Manitoba visiting participants and volunteers; source: Prince’s Trust Canada
2. Prince’s Trust Canada: Get Into Banking
Prince’s Trust Canada partners with RBC and Youth Employment Services Manitoba on Get Into Banking, a 10-week employability program in Winnipeg.
After workshops on interviews, resume preparation, success in the workplace and more, the program provides a work placement paid internship with RBC. The work placement helps young participants see if a career in banking might be right for them.
Prince’s Trust Canada is King Charles’ flagship charity in Canada. In its work with youth, Prince’s Trust Canada helps young people between 18 and 30 get ready for work, find jobs, and build careers.
“What we’re seeing from our programs is young people gaining more confidence,” says Jennifer Lusby, the charity’s national manager of community and employer partnership development. “We hear that our participants didn’t always feel appreciated or acknowledged for their work before entering this program. So, we work at being supportive, and you can see how this helps them grow their confidence. RBC is a perfect partner in this because they’re great at acknowledging the hard work that participants do with ongoing praise and recognition.”
“To make sure the program is accessible, we provide bus passes throughout the whole program, as well as financial supports to cover the cost of groceries and business casual clothing for the workplace,” says Victoria Verhoek, project manager, youth employment at Prince’s Trust Canada.
The program has had a number of success stories, including one participant who has built a thriving career in financial services. “One of our 2018 participants is still succeeding in financial services five years later,” says Verhoek. “He recently recommended the program to his sister. I think that’s a really great testament to the impact of the program.”
Image: Regina Trades and Skills Centre participants built the North Central Family Centre a new wheelchair access ramp and deck leading into the building; source: RTSC
3. Regina Trades and Skills Centre
The Regina Trades and Skills Centre was created to help provide job training and programming to support local industries in need of skilled workers. RTSC primarily delivers programs aimed at young people aged 18 to 30 but can support those who are above that age range and need help retraining.
RTSC offers classes where students learn different trades and get access to work placement programs. RBC helps by extending work placements; this gives students more practical experience, helping improve their chances of employment. “It’s very valuable to extend those work placements because, without those extensions, fewer people would get employed at the end of the program,” said Brian Shankowksy, the executive director of the Centre.
The program also offers students opportunities to practice their trade on projects supporting local non-profits. “Students go out into the community and complete a project relevant to their training with a not-for-profit organization,” says Shankowsky. “So, for example, maybe the YMCA needs a deck. Maybe they need a parking pad. We did a roofing project for North Central Family Center one year, for example. It’s great work experience.”
Shankowsky has seen a number of students benefit. He believes this is because the Centre collaborates with local industries to ensure the jobs youth are training for are in demand. “Every year, we have approximately 200 students going through our programs with an employment rate of about 90% after graduation,” he says. “We’re helping anyone who has the desire to elevate their skills move into an area that they’ve really been interested in. For many, it’s a move from doing entry-level work that’s just a job to an actual career.”
The future of Saskatchewan and Manitoba youth
RBC is proud to partner with these innovative programs to help local youth get the career opportunities, skills, and support they need to become the next generation of local leaders.
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