Opportunity starts HERE
You’ve almost certainly heard the old trope. A student goes to university, gets an arts degree, and can’t find work in their field. They end up just scraping by, working in coffee shops and living with their parents.
Alan Rottenberg, an Ottawa-based philanthropist and venture capitalist, saw how hard it was for his sons and their friends to find an employer willing to invest in them as recent graduates. Rottenberg, an arts grad himself, decided to do something about it.
Two years ago, Rottenberg initiated the Queen’s Career Apprenticeship program in partnership with the Queen’s University Faculty of Arts and Science and Kingston Economic Development Corporation. Eligible employers post one-year jobs for new graduates, and Rottenberg funds the first four months of their salary. The longterm goal is that these apprentices would be retained for full-time positions once the apprenticeship is over.
“Apprenticeship gives the employee a chance at success and gives the employer a chance to instill their culture and performance expectations into someone at an early stage,” he says. “For many of the employer participants, the funding was an attraction to get them in the door but now they have the proof of its success.”
Benefits by Design (BBD) was one such employer that signed up. The group insurance company took on two Queen’s students as operations specialists in 2019.
“We just offered one of these students a full-time position in sales, and we hired one Queen’s student who completed an apprenticeship with us last year into a business analysis role,” says Dawn-Marie Parslow, a director with BBD. “A lot of recent graduates don’t think about working in insurance, so this program has given us the chance to expose students to the opportunities in our industry.”
“We know the value of this community and what it has to offer, and keeping the talent here is a wise investment,” adds Troy Southward, managing partner with BBD. “Retaining recent graduates here is as much about the students making the choice to stay as it is about employers making the choice to hire them. As long as they keep graduating, we’ll keep hiring them.”
The reviews from the student side were similarly glowing. Philosophy and political studies student Nour Mazloum applied for a communications student job with Kingston Economic Development Corporation in hopes of building on her existing experience.
“I have learned a lot as the position has combined the fast-paced world of politics with the flexibility and innovation you need in a not-for-profit environment,” she says.
Rottenberg says each hire thrills him – and the program is expected to create 40 apprenticeship positions in 2020, with the hope that many of these positions lead to longer-term employment.
“I am pleased with how the program has turned out, and want to thank Dean Barbara Crow, and Mayor Bryan Paterson,” Rottenberg says. “This has been an important signal to the community, an excellent means of engaging young people and creating town/gown collaborations, and a way to grow the local economy. I am hoping other universities in other cities adopt this program and that the model propagates itself.”
Learn more about the program at kingstonecdev.com/qcak
Kingston. It’s all here
Want to live, work, learn, or play in Kingston? A new website launched by the city in 2019 is a one-stop platform designed to help anyone who wants to learn more about life in the Limestone City
PossibleMadeHere.org is an AI powered, data-driven talent attraction portal that incorporates a suite of unique tools developed by the Queen’s University Centre for Advanced Computing. Applications like the Job Search Tool, Find Your Neighbourhood Quiz, Cost Calculator, and Interactive City Map can help prospective residents find a job, pick a neighbourhood, compare cost of living, and discover local amenities like schools, hospitals, and parks.
The site also features a dedicated Employer section that introduces local businesses to unique, Made-in- Kingston initiatives. These include the Dual Career Support Program, which helps partners of those relocating to Kingston for work find their own employment.
The section also includes information on the PIN Program for professional newcomers to Canada, the Community Secondment Program aimed at fostering high achieving mid-career talent, and the Workplace Inclusion Charter which offers free tools and supports to local employers who want to work on strengthening inclusion in their workplace.
The Possible Made Here talent attraction portal and associated initiatives were developed and implemented by the City of Kingston and its partners and funded through grants by the Government of Ontario and the Government of Canada