In 2020, Canadian youth face a rapidly changing economy where technology will disrupt more than 25% of jobs in the next decade. Young Canadians also frequently encounter the “No Experience, No Job” cycle, where employers are reluctant to hire recent graduates. However, in addition to work experience, the Canadian marketplace is looking for candidates with strong “soft skills,” such as communication, teamwork, problem solving, critical thinking and leadership. The emphasis on soft skills creates an outstanding opportunity to help our youth.
In December 2017, IDRF launched Get Job Ready, an innovative national program designed to teach youth ages 18-29 on how to successfully navigate the job market. What started in a small room on the campus of the University of Calgary has transformed into a national program that has impacted more than 400 youth across Canada. Over a period of four days and multiple workshops, participants learn the following:
- Building a 5-star LinkedIn account
- Develop a Networking Strategy from one’s Dream Job
- Writing Resumes and Cover Letters
- Preparing for Job Interviews
- Financial Literacy
- Leveraging Social Media
However, our program is distinctive from other career programs, through active engagement and activities that remove youth from their comfort zones. Through group work, ice breakers, debates and leadership tests, our team identifies and assesses the following soft skills:
- Public Speaking
- Critical Thinking
- Problem Solving
- Social Cohesion
Upon completion, alumnus are encouraged to maintain connections with IDRF staff through LinkedIn and are provided with resume and cover letter support and job interview preparation to maintain positive relationships and bolster the long term impact of the program.
In 2 years, IDRF has trained 400 youth in Get Job Ready in Vancouver, Calgary and Toronto. Over 52% of our participants have found jobs and over 60% have been called for more than one job interview. Others have started to develop networking strategies as they continue with academic life and the majority of alumnus feel more confident and optimistic about their job prospects. Furthermore, they also feel more capable in the foundational soft skills the program builds and that employers emphasize.
Diversity and Inclusion
Throughout our 35-year history, IDRF programs have supported people across the world, irrespective of race, religion, gender or ability. Similar to the approach of many Canadian businesses across sectors that make diverse and inclusive workplaces a priority, Get Job Ready sessions bring together Canadian youth from different backgrounds to broaden networks, encourage social cohesion and develop empathy. A typical session will comprise of 20-25 youth.
IDRF encourages all individuals legally permitted to work in Canada between the ages of 18-29 to apply.