- Hope-Centred Career Development
“If you could go back in time and tell your 18-year-old self where you are now, would they believe you?” This is one question posed to an employer by a youth participating in Reboot Plus, a program is designed to re-engage youth, who are not finished or not on track to graduate from high school, in their education and career development. Offered in partnership through Douglas College Training Group and PEERs Employment & Education Resources with the Burnaby Board of Trade, this program is a first-of-its-kind in Canada, where employment is not the specific outcome; rather it focuses on “hope-centred” career development. The program is funded as a labour market research initiative by the Future Skills Centre. The findings will inform government, labour and educational institutes on broader adoption of novel approaches to training and skills development.
- Meeting Students Where They Are
After being referred from local school districts, this program meets students where they are academically, experientially, and personally and is guided by what drives them individually. It looks to their strengths, personalities, and offers an inside look into post-secondary and career opportunities. Participants are provided training in career development, resume and job search portfolio development, and networking, presentation skills and practice.
Once they have engaged in these requirements, students schedule 4 – 7 informational interviews with professionals in their chosen areas of interest. Informational interviews provide youth a chance to get to know the sector, what the job market is like, job requirements, and guidance on developing their career. In turn, these interviews provide employers an understanding of this future pool of talent. The informational interviews have provided meaningful insights to participants of the program.
“It’s a great concept. What I like is, it’s providing an opportunity of a program that’s really focused on career planning for youth. This concept of informational interviews is something that I’ve used for 25 years in the industry, but its the first time I’ve seen this applied to youth.” – Tim, Marketing & Outreach Coordinator
- The Informational Interview
For youth entering the program, they soon realize their barriers are not unique. No one employer has had a straight or narrow path to success. Youth learn that people make mistakes; they bounce back and move forward. This has helped them realize that failure is a required part of the journey.
Many students discover, after attending an informational interview, the career path they thought they wanted is not one they wished to pursue. The process of elimination helps students learn more about their own values, interests, and aptitudes. In the safety of the program, the current students have been able to draw from the experiences of over 80 employers. If the students choose to explore a new occupational direction, there are many willing professionals to choose from.
Employers, on the other hand, have been surprised by the in-depth questions they are asked during the informational interviews. This introspection gives them a chance to reflect on their own life journey and share the highs and the lows they’ve experienced. They share memories of when they were young and fresh, and wanted to develop into their field: the challenges they faced, the educational requirements, and the self-marketing required to break into their career. Most employers sign up for additional interviews with other Reboot Plus students, finding the experience to be enriching and valuable. They have reported that they see the potential in this underrepresented population and have a better understanding of who they are and what they will bring to their careers and workplaces.
- Moving Forward
As the first Reboot Plus cycle wraps up in the coming weeks, the program facilitators reflect on the success so far:
“This program has given our students resilience, perseverance, strength and courage. While many have been strongly encouraged to sign up for the program by teachers, counselors, parents, etc., they attend voluntarily. They show up to class each day, eager and excited for their own future. The employers find themselves wanting to stay connected, curious to know how these youth make out. It’s really an exciting thing to see.”
If you’re a business professional who is able to give 30-60 minutes of your time to this program, we would love to connect with you. Please connect with the Burnaby Board of Trade for any questions or to volunteer to participate!
P: (604) 412-0100