PERCÉ continues to respond to labour market’s real needs

WELLINGTON – Oct. 7, 2021 – As the Island’s labour market changes and evolves, the PERCÉ postsecondary internship program continues to adapt to market circumstances, employer needs and intern needs.

« For example, » says Julie Gallant, who coordinated the 18th edition of the program for RDÉE Prince Edward Island, « last year and this year, several positions opened up in the health field, specifically to deal with the pandemic. We decided to prioritize this sector to help the labour market. This summer, four of our 30 interns worked at combatting Covid-19, either at vaccine clinics or at gateway testing stations. »

The other 26 interns worked in fields such as health (occupational therapy, physiotherapy, psychology and dental sciences), engineering, early childhood, business administration, finance, pure sciences, social sciences, marketing, arts, law and social justice. Employers who hosted interns this summer included health care facilities, manors, provincial departments, community organizations, charities, private businesses, amusement parks, childcare centers and post-secondary institutions.


« Our interns were very appreciative of the much-needed experience they were able to gain as a result of the program over the summer months since it will facilitate their access to more permanent employment once they complete their studies, » says Gallant. « For a majority of participants, their 10 to 12 weeks of work with an Island employer convinced them that they were studying in the right field. There’s nothing like getting hands-on experience to understand the realities of a job. »

She adds that employers have also indicated that they are very happy to have access to young workers who are full of enthusiasm and want to do well. « The financial incentive that the program offers employers to cover a portion of their intern’s salary is certainly appreciated, but what they value most is the fact that we help them recruit workers. We’re seeing it very clearly: recruiting employees is getting harder and harder these days. »

These are some of the reasons why some employers are happy to take on PERCÉ interns almost every year or as often as the program has interns in their field of work, says the coordinator.

One of this year’s English-speaking employers was very pleased to report that, for the first time, they were able to deliver some services in French, thanks to the fact that their intern was bilingual. Another employer said his PERCÉ intern was the best summer employee he had ever hired in his 18 years in business. Yet another employer said he wanted to keep his two interns on a permanent basis; their return to university is the only reason he didn’t keep them. Still others reported that they were able to retain their intern for more hours or weeks than the program paid for – which says a lot about the performance of these young employees.

The PERCÉ program aims to repatriate young Islanders who are primarily studying out of province; participants are provided with various training (in-person and online) over the summer to increase their chances of success and to encourage them to eventually settle permanently on the Island. PERCÉ is funded by the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency and the provincial Department of Economic Growth, Tourism and Culture.


PHOTOS: Engineering student Milo Ryan, who worked with Mohr Technical Services Inc., and health and sciences student Emma-Mae Ellis, who worked for Health PEI, were among the 30 Island post-secondary students who completed PERCÉ internships last summer.


For more information, please contact
Julie Gallant
PERCÉ Program Coordinator
RDÉE Prince Edward Island
902-854-3439, ext. 227