CHARLOTTETOWN – August 22, 2019 – RDÉE Prince Edward Island is very pleased to have been able to support 21 young bilingual professionals as they started a career in their field of study through the Objectif carrière ÎPÉ (PEI Career Focus) internship program over the past 18 months.
« These young adults, all under 30 years of age, had completed their post-secondary education but had not yet succeeded in entering the job market, at least not in their field of study, » says Stéphane Blanchard, the RDÉE youth development officer who supervised the program. « Our internship program gave them the opportunity to work for an employer in their field of study for a trial period of up to 24 weeks to see if this type of work was really for them. We offered the employer a financial incentive valued at about half of the trainee’s salary. »
He noted that these internships also provided employers with the opportunity to see if their intern would integrate well into their workplace. The ultimate goal would be for employers to keep these young employees permanently after their internship.
« This is exactly what happened in many cases, » adds Blanchard. « Employers were so happy with the work and attitude of the young professionals who had been sent to them that they kept them. »
Fifteen of the youth completed their internships while some others left the program before the end of the program, in most cases because they had been offered another job.
The trainees worked in fields such as health, electricity, law, business, graphic design, performing arts, early childhood education, social work and finances. Their workplaces were located primarily in the Charlottetown, Summerside and West Prince regions.
Some of the English-speaking employers found that it was extremely beneficial for them to have someone like their bilingual intern on site who could serve their clients in French.
Like RDÉE Prince Edward Island’s PERCÉ program, Objectif carrière ÎPÉ also aims to encourage young adults to stay on, or return to, PEI to pursue their life and careers. Participants are offered a few days of training and exploration to help them get to know themselves better and discover the professional, personal and cultural benefits of living on the Island.
As in any project of this type, the coordination team faced some challenges in placing interns. Some other youth would have liked to work for government employers, who are not able to accept wage incentives from federal programs. In other cases, the desired workplaces were unionized and could not accept non-unionized employees.
« Some of the young people we worked with were able to access government jobs, so even if we had done a lot of work to place them, we couldn’t count them in our statistics because they didn’t technically fit into the framework of our program, » added Blanchard.
Objectif carrière ÎPÉ was funded by the Career Focus Program, which is part of the Government of Canada’s Youth Employment Strategy. This program no longer exists, so the internship project on the Island will not be renewed.
Carol Richard coordinated the project during its first year; Caleb Gallant took over the coordination in January 2019.
CUTLINE: Participants in the Objectif carrière ÎPÉ (PEI Career Focus) program included young professionals such as Alexander Aubé who worked in finances at Invesco and Madeline Arsenault, who did her graphic design internship at Dan’s Muffler, Signs & Decals.
For more details:
Youth Development Officer
RDÉE Prince Edward Island
902-370-7333, ext. 402