CHARLOTTETOWN, PEI – Feb. 2, 2012 – Last year, for the eighth consecutive year, the PERCÉ program was a huge success. In fact, this initiative – conceived on Prince Edward Island – surpassed not only expectations but also provincial boundaries.
In the summer of 2011, PERCÉ provided an opportunity for 29 postsecondary students from PEI and Newfoundland-and-Labrador to participate in internships that provided them with a good taste of their chosen profession as well as a chance to have a fulfilling experience in their field of studies. As well, the students discovered the richness and the career potential of their home province.
In 2010, the program had been delivered in all four Atlantic Canadian provinces. Regrettably, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia were unable to commit to the program last year.
“It must be mentioned that for reasons beyond our control, we were unable to offer as many internships as anticipated, in spite of the large number of students interested in the program,” notes Christian Gallant, development officer with RDÉE Prince Edward Island who is now overseeing the program. “To measure the success of the program, we felt the quality of internships offered was more important than the quantity. However, we also have to mention that we still saw an overall increase of 25 per cent in the number of participants and internships offered by the two participating provinces.”
Gallant believes the PERCÉ project can be considered a best practice simply because of the fact that it generated private sector contributions of $90,340.47, which represents 38 per cent of the project’s total value.
“The employers benefitted greatly from the program since the gained access to energetic, qualified and innovative employees. Globally, comments received from employers were most encouraging and positive. Several would even be ready to repeat the experience with another youth or even to hire their interns when they’ll have completed their studies,” notes the development officer.
“In spite of the challenges encountered this year, the PERCÉ program is without a shadow of a doubt a project that equally meets the needs of students starting their career, of entrepreneurs seeking to fill vacancies in their sector and of communities that welcome back their youth with open arms so that they can contribute to the local life.
Overall, the PERCÉ project was made possible for an eighth year in a row thanks to a contribution from the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA).
Last summer, 16 university and college students (seven Francophones and nine Anglophones) from all corners of PEI participated in the program. These youth studied in fields such as literature, business administration, nutrition, kinesiology, home economics, health sciences, library sciences, education and environment. A record total of 80 students had expressed an interest in PERCÉ internships.
“The youth who were selected, as well as their employers, are delighted with the experience that PERCÉ provided them,” notes Gallant.
For a fourth consecutive year, the PEI version of the program received financial support from the provincial Department of Health and Wellness as well as the Department of Innovation and Advanced Learning, through the Population Secretariat.
Amounts received from governments helped cover a portion of participants’ salaries. Island employers paid the balance of $50,852.60 in salaries.
“In conclusion, the PERCÉ program continues to improve, to expand and to serve PEI communities as an indispensable method of repatriation. The project was once again presented as a best practice at numerous conferences and gatherings from one end of the country to the other,” concluded Gallant.
In Newfoundland-and-Labrador, 33 people asked to participate in the PERCÉ program, which was again delivered by RDÉE Newfoundland-and-Labrador. Thirteen completed their summer internship with six Francophone employers and seven Anglophone employers.
Thanks to the hiring of bilingual interns, several unilingual employers were able to offer bilingual services for the duration of the internships. One of the participants found a permanent job with Service Canada before the end of his internship and four more continued their job after the internship and were paid 100 per cent by the employer.
The 2011 edition saw results that were considerably better than those from the previous year. Three of the internships took place in the Port-au-Port Peninsula while the other 10 were in St. John’s. The youth worked in sectors such as information technology, health, tourism, education, communication and the public sector.
Employers invested $39,487.87 towards intern salaries. In addition to ACOA, several federal and provincial departments also invested in the Newfoundland edition of the program.
CUTLINE: Maryse Gallant from Abram’s Village, PEI, completed her summer PERCÉ internship with the PEI Literacy Alliance as a literacy tutor. Here, she is seen with one of her students, Brady.
For more information:
Development Officer responsible for PERCÉ program
RDÉE Prince Edward Island Inc.