FREE Three-Part Webinar Series: Understanding Current Employment Programming and Services for BC Youth

The BC Centre for Employment Excellence is pleased to announce a three-part series of webinars to highlight the five studies we have commissioned on various topics concerning youth employment in BC under our research programme, Understanding Current Employment Programming and Services for BC Youth.

For this series, we have invited each of the research teams to give a presentation on the findings and lessons learned from their papers, which will be published on the Centre’s website over the coming weeks.

The webinars are scheduled as follows:

Webinar #1

Date/Time: Wednesday, August 27, 2014 12:00pm – 1:00pm PST

Study of Demand-Led Labour Market Strategies to Improve Employment Outcomes for British Columbia Youth

Presenter: Tom Zizys

In this presentation, Tom Zizys will discuss demand-led approaches to improving the labour market outcomes of youth in British Columbia. Demand-led or demand-focused strategies place their emphasis on aligning policies and programs with what employers do to meet their own staffing needs, but also making a business case to enhance their HR practices, resulting in positive labour market outcomes for workers as well. They require not only partnerships with employers, but also linkages and partnerships among numerous players in the system to support recruiting, training and supporting career advancement among employees.

Based on an assessment of the recent labour market outcomes for youth in British Columbia, a review of the literature concerning the basis for demand-side strategies, and profiles of encouraging practices that employers in Canada have applied that support better labour market outcomes for youth, Mr. Zizys has formulated a series of recommendations for supporting a demand-focus approach to labour market policies and programs in BC. The recommendations that stem from this research have the potential to transform perspectives and tactics among all stakeholders, including policy makers, employers and employer-focused organizations, as well as employment services practitioners.

Pathways to Success for Youth in BC’s Capital Region: The Power and Potential of Social Enterprise in High Demand Sectors

Presenter: Community Social Planning Council (CSPC)

In this presentation, representatives from the CSPC will present research on the role of social enterprise in creating solutions to youth unemployment and assess the potential of this approach to address youth unemployment in BC’s Capital Region. Employment social enterprises (ESE) are a “type of social enterprise whose primary purpose includes an expressed intention to train, develop the capacity of and employ people facing barriers to employment.” In part because of the newness of the approach, there has been little done to explore the potential impact of ESEs in helping young job seekers transition into the labour market.

Through case studies of youth-serving social enterprises at the local, national and international levels, key informant interviews with employers and sector associations, and a focus group comprised of employment development agencies in the Capital Region, the researchers explore the role that ESEs can play within the broader employment development system for young people, providing work experience, workplace skills, and wrap-around supports for youth with multiple barriers to employment.

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Webinar #2

Date/Time: Wednesday, September 10, 2014 12:00pm – 1:00pm PST

The Value of Paid or Unpaid Short-term Work Placements for Refugee and Immigrant Youth

Presenter: MOSAIC

In this presentation, representatives from MOSAIC will highlight their research on a particular approach to supporting the employment prospects of refugee and immigrant youth – a population facing significant challenges in the Canadian labour market. The study utilizes a primarily qualitative approach to examine this population’s awareness and experience of work placements as a form of employment service provision. It validates the barriers to achieving employment outcomes with refugee and immigrant youth and how employment programs could address those barriers through work placements.

The authors will conclude by offering a series of recommendations for relevant stakeholder groups to support work placement opportunities for immigrant and refugee youth. These recommendations build on the researchers’ findings of the potential role and value that work placements can play in employment service delivery for immigrant and refugee youth, while supporting the need for more research into the effectiveness of this approach in supporting the longer-term career development goals of this population.

Negotiating the Barriers to Employment: Vulnerable BC Youth’s Experiences and Recommendations

Presenter: McCreary Centre Society

In this presentation, researchers from the McCreary Centre Society will discuss their work on engaging diverse youth from marginalized populations across BC to identify barriers to employment and potential solutions to help inform future youth employment policy and services. This research project utilized participatory research methods to engage approximately 150 youth aged 15 to 29 from vulnerable groups to identify barriers in finding, accessing and maintaining employment. The presenters will conclude by sharing case studies of specific programs that youth identified as helpful for negotiating the barriers to employment.

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Webinar #3

Date/Time: Wednesday, September 24, 2014 12:00pm – 12:30pm PST

Understanding Current Employment Programming and Services for Lower Mainland Youth Living with Mental Illness

Presenter: YMCA of Greater Vancouver

In this webinar, representatives from the YMCA of Greater Vancouver will highlight findings from their research study that examined whether there is a common understanding of the barriers to employment facing youth living with mental illness (YLMIs) among the youth themselves, those who provide them with services and those who stand to employ them. Utilizing a combination of interviews and focus group sessions to elicit input from YLMI informants, career development practitioners (CDPs) and employers in the BC Lower Mainland, the researchers found considerable variability in CDPs’ and employers’ expressed level of knowledge and understanding around mental health issues. They also examined expectations around employment, and found some important disconnects between the concerns of YLMIs regarding their lack of demonstrable or concrete work experience and that of employers, who appeared less focused on young people’s individual record of experience and more preoccupied with their lack of familiarity with normal workplace practices and expectations.

The webinar will conclude with a series of recommendations for all three stakeholder groups as well as the outline of an integrated service delivery model for YLMIs which builds on the research findings, offering front-line service delivery to youth to address their various needs, including peer supports and mentorship opportunities, while at the same time providing services and supports to employers to raise their awareness and increase their competencies in supporting employees with particular needs.

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